Dukkah Uncovered

Understanding Spices

What is dukkah?

Dukkah is a mix of spices, herbs, nuts and seeds which originated in Egypt but is found all over the Middle East and North Africa. Dukkah is a delicious combination of Middle Eastern spices and flavours: Hazelnuts or chickpeas as a base, along with pepper, coriander, cumin and sesame seeds.

This product has an incredible all-round flavour profile, with subtly spiced, nutty, roasted flavours with a hint of saltiness and citrus. The flavour can vary depending on what nuts and spices are used, but it always has a crumbly and crunchy texture.

Depending on the region and the spice blend usually consists of:

Other common herbs and spices that are added include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Fennel seeds
  • Dried marjoram
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried lemon peel
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Nigella seeds
  • Caraway
  • Turmeric
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

A brief history of dukkah

The word ‘dukkah’ means ‘to crush’ or ‘to pound’ in Arabic, which appropriately describes the coarse texture of the spice blend, traditionally made using a mortar and pestle.

Ancient Egypt was once at the crossroads of a major spice route which gave people access to exotic spices like coriander and cumin. The ancient Egyptians believed that each spice had symbolic meanings, like cumin as a symbol of faithfulness and coriander a symbol for love and passion.

Eventually, the spices were combined to make dukkah. It was so popular that the spice blend didn’t discriminate – everyone from the poor to the pharaohs used it to season their bread. Today, it is still as popular, often served in paper cones and with each vendor claiming their unique recipe.

Dukkah has a long tradition in the Middle East and has been enjoyed by many of it’s cultures. After a tiring day travelling with camels, Arabs would gather around a small fire roasting spices, nuts and seeds, and finally crushing them into a coarse powder. They would then take hunks of bread, dipping them first into olive oil, and then into this spicy nut and sesame mix to satisfy their hunger.

Today it can be enjoyed from Egyptian street vendors. A small paper cone is filled with Dukkah and given to the customer along with strips of pita bread, which are dipped into the vendors bowl of olive oil and then into the Dukkah in the traditional way. Each vendor has a unique recipe and is fiercely proud of his combination of traditional and regional flavours.

How do you use dukkah?

Dukkah was originally used as a dip or a topping on top of pitas and bread and this is still the most popular way of using it. Sprinkle some dukkah on top of a flatbread with a splash of olive oil and bake until crispy. You can even add a little to hummus or your favourite dip.

But it’s not just used for spicing up flatbreads. It can be used in all sorts of ways – it is a condiment after all. Use it over roasted vegetables, toss into salads or add it to your morning avocado toast.

The next time you’re using breadcrumbs in a recipe, add a helping of dukkah to spice things up. In fact, you can easily swap out breadcrumbs for this for a more flavourful coating.

Speaking of coatings, dukkah works really well as a rub or marinade. It gives a delicious spice crust to fish and the perfect marinade for meat when mixed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

But it’s not just savoury dishes that make the most of this spice blend – it pairs perfectly with sweet dishes too. Add it to shortbreads, grilled fruits, crumbles and ice cream for a delicious twist.

Organic Dukkah

Of course Dukkah need not only be enjoyed in the traditional way. It is a very versatile seasoning and works equally as well sprinkled on salads or vegetables, mixed with honey as a sweet sandwich spread, as a crust for roasted chicken, lamb, or fish, or even mixed into bread dough before baking.

Recipe suggestions

Keen to try it out? You can find dukkah on our website here. Here are some great recipes which use the spice blend:

Dukkah spice mix

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