These days I am obsessively reading Al-Jazeera and thinking more than ever about all these tragic yet exhilarating events unfolding in the Middle East.
According to my Egyptian friend Phoebe, dukkah was originally a poor man’s snack, widespread in the Coptic community. People did not have much (still the case) and would eat bread on which they would sprinkle some dukkah for flavor.
It is a mixture of roasted nuts and spices, permeated by the flavor of coriander and cumin. Each family can make their own dukkah (from the verb duk, to knock); I came up with my own concoction today; you can make a bunch, as I did, and store it in the freezer for months.
INGREDIENTS: 24 breadsticks
- 3/4 cup of sesame seeds, toasted in a 300F oven till golden-brown
- 2 Tablespoons each of chopped pistachios and chopped pecans, preferably toasted
- 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds, toasted (I used a small frying pan, and toasted them on the stove till fragrant)
- 4 Allspice berries
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or chili powder)
- 1 Tablespoon of fennel seeds
- The best olive oil, as needed
- 1 can of refrigerated French bread dough
- Remove the bread dough from the package, and cut in 8 segments; set it aside.
- After toasting the coriander seeds, place them with the allspice berries, fennel seeds, chili flakes, and nuts in a coffee grinder and grind them up till chopped and powdery. (You may want to grind the nuts more coarsely than the spices).
- Place the sesame seeds, ground nuts and spices and salt in a small bowl; mix thoroughly with a fork and set aside.
- Take each segment of bread dough and flatten it with a rolling pin till it is about 8 inches long. Brush it with olive oil and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of dukkah on it. Using a pizza cutter, cut 3 pieces lengthwise; roll each piece on itself and place on a cookie sheet (either grease the cookie sheet or place a parchment paper on it).
- Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 15 minutes or until the breadsticks are golden-brown. Serve with a small dish of the best olive oil.
NOTE: You can make your own mix, which is fun; or if you want to buy a ready-made one, check out Allens Hill Farm, their dukkah is outstanding.