A bland, beige persona belies traditional hummus’ complex conveyance of zesty garlic and lemon with earthy chickpeas and tahini.
And the Middle Eastern staple often is dressed up with still more flavors, such as olive oil and pine nuts, or sprinklings of sumac and za’atar, mentioned in this blog’s previous post. Hummus accompaniments, however, don’t get much tastier than dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) yet another Middle Eastern specialty.
While not as widely recognizable to most Americans as hummus, this blend of toasted nuts, sesame seeds and spices is finding favor in this country. Often served on olive oil-dipped flatbread, dukkah is particularly popular in Egypt, where nearly every family has developed its own version to suit its personal taste.
The inclusion of hazelnuts — traditionally ground in a mortar and pestle — makes a good case for dukkah’s reinvention as an Oregon commodity, owing to the state’s worldwide dominance of that industry. Columnist Jan Roberts-Dominguez ventured as much in a 2012 piece for A la Carte.
Almonds complement the hazelnuts in Jan’s basic recipe. The just-released cookbook “In a Nutshell” (W.W. Norton) by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian combines Brazil nuts and hazelnuts with sesame and sunflower seeds and coconut flakes. Cashews or peanuts, specifically a preseasoned product sold at Trader Joe’s, are suggested in the following recipe courtesy of McClatchy News Service. TJ’s also sells small jars of dukkah.
Beyond hummus, dukkah is delicious sprinkled on everything from eggs, pasta and feta cheese to roasted or fresh vegetables, or swirled into yogurt or salad dressings. It’s high in protein and fiber with minimal saturated fat, cholesterol or sugar. Plus, like hummus, it’s a snap to make in a food processor.
1 cup Trader Joe’s brand Thai Lime and Chili Almonds, Cashews or Peanuts (may substitute a combination of plain nuts for a milder dukkah)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt
Pita bread, olive oil and crudites, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. (Toasting intensifies flavor of nuts and seeds, but watch carefully so they don’t burn.)
Spread the sesame seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Spread the coriander seeds and cumin seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 8 minutes.
Allow all ingredients to cool completely.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 15 times to chop mixture. Mixture can be coarse or fine as you prefer, but do not overprocess, or mixture will turn to paste. You do not want a paste.
Store mixture in a covered container in refrigerator.
To serve, dip edges of pita bread into olive oil, then into dukkah.
To add crudites, use any vegetables, including cauliflower, carrots, peppers, zucchini, radishes and blanched green beans. Arrange crudites around several small bowls of dukkah and olive oil for dipping.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.