This is an easy, speedy and scrumptious dish; it consists of minced chicken (with a little fat), combined with spices, coated in a purely Egyptian concoction called dukkah, baked or fried in olive oil.
What is dukkah?
Dukkah is a mixture of ground nuts and spices. The Egyptians love their dukkah as much as we Lebanese love our zaatar. Are the two similar? NO. Dukkah is more nutty, has no thyme, or sumac.
I did not have to go to Egypt to get some. I got the bag of dukkah from the same farm that produces that amazing product, apple cider molasses; apparently they also make dukkah.
Allens Hill Farm in upstate New York make an outstanding product. (And no, I was not paid to say this).
The second you open the package, the fragrance of dukkah fills your nostrils; the Egyptians use it as a dip; however, it is also used to coat food, with very happy results.
- 1 pound of minced chicken (include some fat for moistness)
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 bag of dukkah or make your own (recipe at the bottom of the page)
- Seasonings for the chicken: salt, pepper, sumac, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric. (one teaspoon of each)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- oil for frying
- 2 cups of flour, 2 or 3 eggs, beaten in a small bowl
- vegetables such as tomatoes and avocados, sliced
- pita bread to serve with
- Mix the minced chicken with the chopped onion, juiced lemon, and all the spices. You want to season the chicken well so that it is not bland. Any spices will work here, or you can use the ones I have suggested.
- Pour two cups of flour in a dish; two or three cups of dukkah; and a bowl with two or three beaten eggs.
- Shape the chicken pieces (about one tablespoon each), dip in flour, then egg, then in dukkah.
- Either broil or fry in a skillet with some hot olive oil, for about 6 minutes, front and back; remove when the pieces feel firm and look toasted. Serve with sliced tomatoes and avocadoes in a pita bread, or as an appetizer, with a bowl of garlicky yogurt.
To make dukkah:
This recipe is open to a thousand interpretations, depending on what you have available and what your taste dictates.
Recipe is from my friend Phoebe Hanna, a native of Cairo, Egypt.
(I need to point out that the dukkah mix from Allens Hill Farm contains pistachios and hazelnuts and their spice mix is different)
- 1/4 cup coriander seeds
- 1/4 cup dried coriander
- 3/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted in a slow oven till golden (or in a skillet)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
- Roast the coriander seeds till toasted and fragrant, a few minutes in a medium oven. Crush in a coffee grinder. Roast the other nuts and crush as well; mix everything and store in a tight jar in the fridge or freezer (for longer storage).
- Use as a dip (mix in a small bowl with olive oil) or to coat meats or any other way you can dream up.
NOTE: Dukkah comes from the root verb duk which means “to knock” or “to pound” in Arabic. In other words, the mixture of nuts and spices are pounded.