Dukkah (Egyptian Spice Mix) Recipe

I first learned about dukkah three years ago, when I had the incredible good fortune of traveling to Australia for a writers’ festival. I spotted that Egyptian mix of nuts and spices again and again, in fine foods stores and on restaurant menus, and naturally, I was intrigued.

Dukkah — also spelled duqqa or dukka — is made with nuts (most commonly hazelnuts, sometimes pistachios or almonds) and seeds (cumin, sesame, coriander, fennel), as well as pepper berries, salt, and sometimes dried herbs and chili pepper. The ingredients are lightly toasted, then ground together into a not-too-fine powder.

Dukkah is typically used as an interactive appetizer involving bread, a shallow cup of olive oil, and another of dukkah: you tear off a piece of bread, dip it lightly in the oil, then in the dukkah, and eat. It is very good.

I brought a jar of dukkah back from Australia then, but quickly realized nothing was stopping me from making my own, which I enthusiastically did. My enthusiasm was somewhat tempered, however, by the fact that I was using a mortar and pestle. Traditional though they may be, these tools require a not insignificant amount of huile de coude (yes, the French use extra-virgin elbow oil, it has more flavor than elbow grease).

You tear off a piece of bread, dip it lightly in the oil, then in the dukkah, and eat. It is very good.

But my dukkaphilia was rekindled when I acquired an electric spice grinder last year — actually, it’s a repurposed coffee grinder — and discovered I could have freshly mixed dukkah in seconds, with very little caloric expenditure.

I’ve been making it a lot lately, and it’s my new favorite boy-this-just-goes-with-everything-doesn’t-it ingredient. In fact, I’m still looking for things I can’t do with it.

In addition to the classic bread-oil-dip use described above, I’ve been adding it to roasted vegetables and grated carrot salads, I’ve been seasoning hard-boiled eggs with it (dip and bite, dip and bite) and using it as a furikake to make onigiri (it works really well), and I’ve flavored the dough for bread rolls with it. Maxence likes to sprinkle it on a slice of buttered pain au levain at breakfast, and now that the first radishes are making their appearance (they are! isn’t it exciting?), I plan to substitute dukkah for the salt in croque-au-sel radishes.

There is no single formula for dukkah; it is one of those preparations for which there may be as many versions as there are cooks. I’m giving you the recipe below as an illustration of what works for me, but you can play around with the different ingredients to find the balance of flavors that appeals to you the most. (And when you do, I hope you’ll report back and share.)

Dukkah (Egyptian Spice Mix) Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Dukkah (Egyptian Spice Mix) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 30 grams (1 ounce, 1/4 cup) hazelnuts
  • 30 grams (1 ounce, 1/4 cup) shelled pistachios (unsalted)
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper berries
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Toast the hazelnuts and pistachios in a dry skillet, and set aside. Toast the seeds and berries (from sesame to black pepper) in the skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant, shaking the skillet frequently. Let cool completely.
  2. Combine all the ingredients, and grind to a coarse powder in an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle. You may have to proceed in two batches.
  3. Pour into a jar, close tightly, and keep somewhere cool and dry.
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  • http://www.citylifeeats.com Valerie @ City|Life|Eats

    This sounds addictive and delicious. I can’t wait to make some.

  • Priscilla

    thank you for reminding me about dukkah! i also discovered it during my travels in Australia, but don’t see it much here in Canada, thankfully it is so easy to make!!

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    The idea behind it sounds a lot like the Lebanese za’atar which is made of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds among other things.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I love zaatar too (I’ve written about it here) but the flavor of this is really very different.

  • http://stonefacevloggers.blogspot.com/ Great Stone Face

    Substitute sumac for the nuts and it’s very similar to za’atar. I will try this. Thanks!

  • http://three-cookies.blogspot.com/ Three-Cookies

    This looks very interesting – a spiced herbed nut blend. Maybe it will go quite well with pasta dishes and curries. As you say this goes well with pretty much anything

  • http://www.theparsleythief.com/ kate

    I’ve never heard of dukkah, but it sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

  • http://dinnerplanner.net/ Adam (DinnerPlanner)

    Going to have to try this on pizza next time.

  • Susan

    We discovered dukkah when researching ancient egyption recipes for my child’s history class, and it is delicious!

    One thing we like to do is dip banana chunks into it. The dukkah sticks nicely to the cut edge of banana pieces, and it is very tasty!

  • http://lilacsinmay.blogspot.com Ronda

    That sounds wonderful.

  • http://www.boulderneigh.blogspot.com Michelle McMillen

    This looks tasty (and heart-healthy for my husband); thanks for the recipe!

  • http://www.winosandfoodies.com Barbara

    It can also be used as a coating. I often coat lamb cutlets with it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the reminder! I’ve used it to coat chicken bites for an appetizer, but lamb sounds lovely. The trick, I think, is to get the cooking temp just right so the meat will cook but the spices won’t burn.

  • http://itpleasesus.com Emily

    As an Aussie, I eat a bit of dukkah – most often as you described, as an appetiser with bread and olive oil.

    Another delicious idea for dukkah is labne balls – make labne from yoghurt, then roll in a mix of dukkah and fresh parsley. The balls are also great in za-atar and parsley – though as you mentioned above, dukkah and za-atar taste quite different.

    Recipe for balls is on my site.

  • http://food-hound.blogspot.com The Food Hound

    This would make an AWESOME gift for any foodie. I hope my friends read this post, haha! I love anything with ground nuts!! Thanks! Oh, and I love the elbow oil… oil is a much more refined word than “grease” :)

  • http://www.dirtygourmet.com/ Emily

    I have a recipe for “dukkah rolled eggs” that I’ve been wanting to try, but didn’t really know what it was. I think this could be a very good thing to bring on a camping trip to add lots of flavor to anything, as you say. Thank you!

  • http://naturally-delicious.blogspot.com/ renee

    Could walnuts be an appropriate substitute for pistachios? I’d love to make this right away, but I have no pistachios. I could spread butter on the radishes currently residing in my fridge and then dip. I can cut up some defrosted naan bread and dip in the oil, then the dukkah. I have all these ingredients. I’m only missing the pistachios.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You can certainly use walnuts, or any other nut, really. I’ve also made it with hazelnuts only (60 grams), so that’s an option too.

  • http://foodforfuelingup.blogspot.com Danielle

    I picked up Dukkah at the One of a Kind Craft Show in Toronto this year after falling in love with the aroma. I had never heard of it before. I haven’t used it too much but I have had it with bread and it is delicious. Thanks for the great ideas for it’s use and for the recipe when I run out!

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    Ooh, that sounds like a delicious mix, Clotilde! I just whipped up a batch of berbere spice last weekend, which is a brand new one for me. It opens up a whole world of Ethiopian cooking — I urge you to try it!

  • http://www.remedialeating.com molly

    ooh! i’ve been meaning to make dukkah for years, and have just landed some spanking-fresh, lovely hazlenuts.

    dukkaphilia may be striking here shortly…

    love the hard boiled egg dip idea!

  • http://www.pourlegout.com Pour le Goût

    How interesting and easy and yummy-looking!

  • http://www.niallniallorangepeel.blogspot.com/ Niall

    It also makes quite a nice crust on a pork cutlet. Smear the cutlet in a little oil, coat with dukka. I usually then brown one side in an overproof pan, then turn over and pop in the oven for 10 minutes.

  • Alison

    Like you, I discovered dukkah in Australia, and it’s become a staple since I came to live here. How good ideas travel: I gave some of my home-made dukkah to a friend. She shared it with her sister, visiting from France – and it’s now on the menu of the sister’s restaurant in a small town between Valence and Avignon!

    I generally use a Ruth Watson recipe for dukkah, but next time I’ll try yours.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Love the story! Would you tell us how Ruth Watson’s recipe compares, in terms of ingredients?

      • Alison

        Thanks, Clotilde. The Ruth Watson recipe is from her book Fat Girl Slim, and it’s for hard-boiled eggs with dukkah, which fits well with some of the comments above. The dukkah is just hazelnuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds, with salt and pepper to season. Yours sounds a more complex combination of flavours, and I’m looking forward to trying it.

        Incidentally, I love your recipe book, and several of the recipes have become favourites. The ceviche with avocado and strawberries is just gorgeous. Miam-miam!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Thanks Alison, for the recipe notes, and your kind words!

  • Houda

    Hmmmmmmm. So the Egyptians traditionally eat their dukkah the same way the Syrian and Lebanese eat their zaatar!

    I’m Syrian, and dukkah is also known in Syria (more commonly referred to here as “dakkah”). However, I grew up knowing it as a snack we used to buy in tiny plastic bags from the grocery and eat it with small spoons as is! Sometimes we would make it at home as well. It’s very interesting to know the variety of things dukkah can be used for. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for telling us about that childhood taste memory, it conjures a very cute image in my mind. :)

  • http://thefoodarchive.wordpress.com Hanna

    I’ve heard a lot about dukkah lately but have yet to try it. Sounds lovely and so versatile.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com paul

    This sounds great, I’ll be giving it a try.

  • http://www.VisforOlive.blogspot.com Olive

    I’ve never even heard of this before…can’t wait to try it, especially love your idea of adding it to a hard boiled egg.

    Olive

  • http://www.choosingraw.com Gena

    Wonderful post, and such a smart idea! Sometimes learning to make our own spice blends is such a tiny, yet transformative moment. Mixing my own chai spice has become a hugely time saving and wonderful tradition.

    I’ll definitely be trying this!

  • http://thedelightblog.wordpress.com/ Cassandra PW

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I had a roomate in school who use to feed us this. We could have a whole meal of nothing but fresh bread, olive oil and dukkah.

    I had completely forgotten about it until now. the ingredients are on my next shopping list!

  • marjorie

    I totally agree with you, it’s so nice to see the first radishes ! I often subsitute the salt by gomasio, and will try it soon with dukkah. Thank you for sharing this good idea :-D

  • http://www.thisdesignercooks.blogspot.com Stephanie Tramontozzi

    ow did I miss this when I was in Egypt? I can’t wait to try it!

  • http://www.colourfulpalate.com/ Charissa

    This is interesting…I have never heard of it before! Thanks for sharing…I feel much smarter! :)

  • Rejeania

    It sounds easy to make and delicious! The hardest part is shelling all the pistachios. 1/4 cup doesn’t sound like a lot but one by one it’s a lot of work. Do you think the salt is really necessary since the pistachios are already salted?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The recipe actually calls for unsalted pistachios. But if you only had salted pistachios on hand, you should adjust the salt to account for that.

  • Wendy Hutton

    I adore dukkah, which I’ve been making for years. It’s great in your Carrot & Beetroot Salad, Clotilde and an excellent coating for sautéed fish or poultry; no need for egg and flour, just press the protein into the dukkah, stand in the fridge for 15-20 minutes then cook gently in olive oil or butter.

  • http://bewitchingkitchen.com SallyBR

    Now you got me craving for something I’ve never had before… how is THAT possible? :-)

  • http://wholefoodforthewholefamily.blogspot.com/ Whole Food for the Whole Family

    Can’t say how much I love your website! Love! Love! Love!

  • Macrae

    Grilled bread+ricotta+dukkah= delicious breakfast!

  • http://www.siansplan.com Sian Breslin

    This is a new one for me. Looks like a delicious mix of ingredients will definitely be trying this.

  • http://www.storyofakitchen.com Lisa

    I’ve been making this forever. It’s great on so many things, and so satisfying as a snack. Thanks for sharing it!

  • http://www.thenewlywedchefs.com The Newlywed Chefs

    Cool! This sounds great. We’ll have to try it soon!

  • Joan

    boy-this-just-goes-with-everything-doesn’t-it ingredient

    Clotilde, couldn’t agree more! Bread, the bestest oil I can find, and dukkah…sheer joy.

    ‘n pistachios ..oh pistachios!!!

  • http://foodieandthechef.com/ foodie and the chef

    Oh I’ve enjoyed dukkah since I was very little… maybe it’s more popular than we realised here in Australia? I love your photos, great post.

  • http://kayspace.co.uk Kay

    Hi, I just made it and it is really good. Thanks for the recipe – I had it at a restaurant about a year ago. I think it’s slightly too salty and will put less salt the next time. :)

  • http://puddingpielane.blogspot.com/ Pudding Pie Lane

    This sounds very interesting, I’m going to serve this at my next dinner party instead of the classic salmon!

  • Julia

    Dear Clotilde,

    My friend who lives in Qatar (but originally from Iraq) brings this mix to us whenever he comes for a visit. However he also showed me the version he used to eat for breakfast as a kid, where dukkah was mixed with thick yoghurt (more sort of sour cream) and then used as a spread on a piece of traditional bread. Maybe it was done to enrich it with calcium for the kids, I’m note sure though.

    Thanks for reminding me about this lovely treat!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It does sound wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  • http://cuisine-a-la-perse.blogspot.com/ mehdi

    seems Egypt was on your mind in the past few days ;)
    I made Ful Mudammas :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Yeah, wonder why that is? :)

  • Frank

    i just made a batch of this, and i’m going to try it tonight as a coating on a baked salmon. in case i don’t happen to eat it all very quickly (ha!), how long will it last being stored in a cabinet? i’m wondering if the nuts will go rancid if stored for too long. would the refrigerator be better for long-term storage?

  • Laurel B. C.

    It isn’t just a dip. I also fell in love with dukkah in Australia and came back to the USA and made my own. For 6 months I sprinkled it on everything I ate!
    I have 4 pages of recipes and ideas on how to use it that I came up with from Googling. I mostly make it with almonds, cumin, coriander and salt. I vary the proportions to fit my tastes. There are many variations with pepper, paprika, thyme, turmeric and different nuts.
    A small cheap coffee grinder is a perfect spice grinder. It’s fun to toast the cumin and coriander seeds and then grind them to release that wonderful aroma.

  • http://hollychase.com/the-flavors-of-old-stamboul/ Holly

    You’re right to ask this question about keeping dukkah fresh; ground spices and nuts can go rancid quite quickly if not stored away from heat and light.

    It’s best to make your dukkah in small batches. Store any unused mixture in a tightly closed glass jar in the fridge or– better yet– the freezer.

    Some cheaper mixtures sold in the suqs (bazaars) of the Middle East include toasted peanuts or toasted chickpeas–different tastes, but also delicious. (You can also try hulled, toasted sunflower seeds.)

    I have a bit of a Turkish bias, preferring hazelnuts. (Turkey grows most of the world crop.) Oddly enough, though, dukkah is not a typically Turkish nibble.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for adding your thoughts to the discussion, Holly!

  • Elisa

    I’ve been making Ana Sortun’s version for a while…I absolutely love it. She uses almonds for the nuts, adds toasted unsweetened coconut, and doesn’t call for fennel seeds or thyme. In her book, she pairs it with a delicious spiced carrot puree which is easy to make and a great, versatile spread. I love her version, but I look forward to trying yours as well. (By the way, her book, (Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean) is amazing, and if you’re ever in Cambridge, Massachusetts, try her wonderful restaurant (Oleana).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the recommendations, Elisa, I’ve made a note of them.

      • joel

        i’ll second the recommendation for Oleana. It’s wonderful.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Thanks Joel!

  • cinjes

    I can’t wait to try this. I just stumbled on to your blog and am so excited! I love anything French! You are adorable and I want to read everything on your site!

  • http://shyamram.blogspot.com shammi

    “(yes, the French use extra-virgin elbow oil, it has more flavor than elbow grease)” – LOL! Oddly enough, I mentioned elbow grease in a recent post, too, and even commented on how disgusting it sounds :) I MUCH prefer “extra virgin elbow oil” :D :D Sounds better and no doubt IS better for you. Thanks for a much needed laugh!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Anytime! :D

  • http://purplefoodie.com Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

    Hey Clotilde, thanks for this post – I’d had dukkah on my mind for a while now, but never came down to making it. In India, we use the spice grinder a lot. Everything is ground using that.

    I also used your book Edible Adventures in Paris a lot when I was there last month. Such a fantastic book. I hope to visit all the places when I move to Paris in September. And of course, I hope to run into you to get my copy signed. :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks Shaheen! ^_^

  • Catherine S.

    Here’s a second vote for Ana Sortoun’s Spice cookbook, which is where I first read about dukkah. I no longer follow her carrot and dukkah recipes but make them by my own approximation. The carrot dip is basically steamed carrots which are then processed with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, coriander and cumin (or sometimes I just throw in some ras al hanout). This, a dish of dukkah, and a bowl of olive oil along with olives, pita, and a few other mezze (feta whirled with roasted red peppers, cucumber salad, white bean dip with herbs), is in regular rotation as a dinner party spread!

    The Spice cookbook also recommends it on seared sea scallops or duck; in a salad of fennel and orange; or on sliced tomatoes.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for writing more about that book, it sounds great. And that carrot dip does too, I’ll have to try something similar sometime.

  • http://www.aude-france-property.com Sam Mooney

    So good, I think I might be addicted! Great on steamed cauliflower. I also coated monkfish (lotte) with it and then grilled the fish. Delicious.

  • Frank

    just popped back in to say that you are absolutely correct about it being good on *everything*… so far, i’ve tried it on bread, naan with some hummus, sprinkled on top of an omelette, and on baked salmon. every single thing was delicious. i may not have to worry about the nuts going rancid. : )

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m delighted, Frank, thanks!

  • Dot Allen

    We also discovered dukkah in Australia, and brought some home with us. We’ve used it for a topping on macaroni and cheese, and I think it could be substituted for a bread crumb topping on almost any dish.

  • Annie

    I rolled some chicken breasts in it, then baked them with 2 large cut-up onions (with more dukkah added) and drizzed with olive oil. Served the chicken and onions on flat bread with a dollop of Greek youghurt. Wow!

    I also found that a mortar and pestle worked best because the coffee grinder ground it too fine. I liked the crumbly texture that the elbow grease allowed me.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for reporting back, Annie!

  • http://www.necessarypleasures.blogspot.com Tanya

    This sounds great! I’m going to have to suggest it to my 12 year old daughter, who’s currently cooking her way through the countries for our family food blog.

    She made Moules Marinieres and Frites tonight and is already scheming for next week’s meal from Croatia. I’ll have to put Dukkah on her list of possibilities when we hit “E” in a couple weeks!

  • http://tastetravel.org Roz

    Clotilde, it is not only the way it is spelled that varies, the correct pronunciation I’m told is doo-ah. Amazing that it is middle eastern and many people discover it via Australia.

  • http://yoonsy.wordpress.com/ yoonsy

    yumm, I love zaatar and definitely will try dukkah.. and get Ana Sortun’s SPICE cookbook! Thank you everybody for sharing!

  • TB

    I’ve been making dukka every week for a couple of years. In fact, my “big” 2010 Christmas gift was a good mortar and pestle: the gift that keeps on giving. I do prefer the variety in texture that hand grinding gives. Plus, it’s a workout. Like other folks, I use it on everything. One of my favorite is sprinkled on homemade yogurt, with fruit and honey. Makes a great breakfast.

  • http://murfomurf.wordpress.com Murfomurf

    I first made dukkah after a class with Cath Kerry at Rosa Matto’s cookery school in Adelaide in about 1988. She said hers was roughly based on Claudia Roden’s recipe but told us to improvise. Mine now is usually based on a mixture of almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts, sesame, coriander seed, cumin seed and a little aniseed or fennel seed, plus rock salt and cracked black pepper. I pulse it in a Breville food processor with the cutting blade and sift through a colander so I don’t get a powdery mixture that glugs up the olive oil bowl! We used to pick our own wild olives and crush them with Rosa’s group as well, but people got very mercenary about letting us use their olive trees and crushing started to cost more so we gave up. We even joined the International Olive Oil Association and had tastings with some experts! Lots of fun.

  • Aviva

    Hi Clotilde, I made your dukkah recipe for this past week’s Rosh HaShana holiday. A lot of Jewish families eat traditional foods that represent their hopes and prayers for the coming year (like apples and honey for a sweet year, etc.). My family, like some others, also adds personal “food prayers” – and I made dukkah, signifying my hope for travel and experiencing new things. It was so delicious and got rave reviews from our guests. THANK YOU!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for that comment, Aviva, it’s wonderful to hear that recipe found a place in your family’s spiritual celebrations.

  • Feroza

    Hi Clothilde,
    I tried this recipe this weekend. Used almonds instead of hazelnuts. Delicious. Thank you for a great recipe. Also visiting Paris in April. Can’t wait! Best wishes. Feroza

  • http://divaonadiet.com Alexis {Diva on a Diet}

    I just had Dukka for the first time last night at a dinner party that featured international foods. It had such great flavors that I had to look up a recipe for it!

  • http://www.hautemealz.com Perry P. Perkins

    Lovely…something new to try!

    Mmmm…I’m thinking of a pan seared Dukkah Halibut steak…

    Thank you!

    -Perry

  • Mariam

    I’ve heard of dukkah but funny being an Egyptian Australian i’ve never actually treid it! I’ll ask my mum if she’s ever made it and maybe go by her recipe or use yours! Looks delicious!

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