Dukkah Recipe

A fantastic dukkah recipe with a bit of a backstory. Nearly five years ago my good friends Hadley and Philip bravely packed the contents of their Emeryville loft into a New Zealand-bound cargo container. They then hopped a one-way flight to the land of the hobbit, with baby Emory in tow.

Hadley finally returned to California soil this week for a whirlwind visit. We attempted to pack as much eating, shopping, and exploring as humanly possible into a three day period. She brought lots of New Zealand magazines to share, and we in-turn provided her an Aero-bed, and a hundred channels of around-the-clock American television.

Hadley and me in back of the Ferry Building

Some highlights from her all-too-short visit:

- Drinks and BBQing with all the cool kids from her old hood. The Alameda Flea Market. Delfina Pizzaria, Burritos in the Mission, Tamales (me) and Fish Tacos (Hadley) at Primavera, Blue Bottle Coffee, etc. Some things old, some things new. The Ferry Building Farmers' Market wasn't open when she left, we were all still doing laps in the parking lot down the road.

As we were talking about what we would make for our little BBQ night, she was saying to me that a spice blend called dukkah was all the rage in New Zealand. She also told me about a passionfruit sandwich cookie with a funny name I can't recall at the moment Lowlo's? Yoyos? Expect those to be featured here at some point in the future. We got side-tracked (that's what happens when you start drinking prosecco at 5 in the afternoon) and never got around to collecting the spices needed for the dukkah recipe.

Dukkah next to a nutty bread, ready for dipping

But I still wanted to make it. Even better, I would learn it only takes 10 minutes. So if you are looking for a quick-yet-fresh approach to the bread/olive oil standard - this is it. Dukkah is a crumbly nut and spice blend typically associated with Egypt. I used the version of dukkah included in Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach's Spicy Food Lover's Bible - 424 pages packed with a world of peppers, pimientos, powders, and spicy pastes. I've been wanting to make something from this cookbook for quite some time now, it brims with a world of spice blends, curries, flavor-rich rubs, sambals and spice-centric entrees. Other recipes to try: Ginger Beer, Wasabi Potato Pancakes, Green Chile Pinon Ice Cream, and Lemon Tabouleh with Baharat Seasoning. There's also a chapter on cooling counterparts to balance out the heat.

Their version is fragrant, earthy, and beautiful and lacks heat because it lacks any chiles - peppercorns provide a different kind of liveliness on the palette. I suspect there as many ways to make it as there are people who make it with different spice to nut ratios depending on the cook or chef, this version is a good place to start. It was a nice balance and the spices didn't overpower the nut, bread, or oil components. The dried mint adds a refreshingly cool whisper that plays off the warming, toasted spices.

This is a spice blend that I suspect would be wonderful on this soup, as a pre-grill rub for just about anything you might put on the BBQ, and as a sprinkling for roasted potatoes. Try it, this recipe make a large enough batch that you will be able to play around and experiment with it for a week (or two!)

Dukkah Recipe

Selected headnotes: Egyptian street vendors sell small paper cones with the unique dukkah blend, along with strips of pita bread. Customers then dip the bread into the vendor's bowl of olive oil and then their dukkah.

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon salt

Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add the hazelnuts, and dry-toast until slightly browned and fragrant, being careful that they don't burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Repeat the procedure with each of the seeds and the peppercorns. Allow each of them to cool completely.

Place the nuts and seeds, along with the mint and salt, into a mortar and pound until the mixture is crushed. Or pulse in a food processor to a coarse consistency; do not allow the mixture to become a paste.

Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 month.

Yield: 1 cup.

from the Spicy Food Lover's Bible by Dave DeWitt & Nancy Gerlach (Harry N. Abrams, 2005) - reprinted with permission

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Oooh! My husband and I discovered this tasty concoction in January on the South Island. We were wine tasting in the Waipara region and happened on an olive orchard that sold small packages of it alongside their oils. It's so delicious! I can't wait to try this version and see how it compares. Thanks for sharing :-)


The biscuit (or cookie) called a 'yoyo' - named after the toy of the same name


Why do I come here and see savoury items and then think, "This would be great as ice cream."?

Hmmm ice cream on the brain. Now if I could only think of where to put an ic machine in my leetle kitchen...

shuna fish lydon

I think I might be able to try this spice blend. However, my partner is a heart patient, Congestive Heart Failure, and is now on a low/no added salt diet. If I leave out the salt in this blend would it make a big difference? I am a little nervous about making my own blends. I have thought about having a small herb garden for some fresh herbs.
Any advise would be appreciated. :-)

Rose Marie Heard

If "No Salt" is an option (potassium chloride, instead of the usual sodium chloride), I imagine it would be a good substitute, particularly since there are so many other flavors to help kick it up.


I'm an expat San Franciscan living in Australia where I discovered the prevalence of dukkah (also spelled dukka and properly pronounced "doo-ah with a bit of a glottal stop on the second syllable). I make mine with roasted organic chickpeas instead of nuts - the raw chickpeas are soaked overnight and oven or pan roasted. I use all the other spices listed in your recipe except dried thyme for the mint, no fennel, and a pinch of allepo pepper. My favourite way to eat this is to dip good ciabatta bread into first rate EVO and then into the dukkah. Also wonderful as a coating for fish or chicken fillets.


Oh my goodness, the whole damn thing looks heavenly. I want to try this one out ASAP and bottle it up as gifts for people!


in egypt we do not use hazelnut but peanut and the mint leaves is optional i will try this version of dokkah using chickpeas is ok try to roast them without soaking them it is better and if you like spicy add a dash of red chile peppercorn instead of black pepper also another spice mixture that lebanese use a lot is the za'tara blend of spices with thym
also with fresh baked pretzel is really good
in egypt they cal it semit


this all sounds so yummy and exotic-by the way your friend looks like Karen from Will & Grace-Ha. Isn't it great to re-explore SF with a good friend.


Oh man, I can already tell that this is going to be a new staple in my culinary arsenal. What a great crust for fish or a rack of lamb!

I can be a little overly enthusiastic when I find a new spice blend though - when I discovered za'tar I think I tried it on everything... (including ice cream. most spices go well with fresh peach ice cream, why is that?)


This is such an exotic departure from the usual suspects of olive oil, balsamic and the like. I can't wait to showcase this at my next gathering! Thanks for the recipe!


Hello! I love this website...


This sounds absolutely wonderful. I'm just thinking (since I don't have hazlenuts on hand)how about using pine nuts, almonds or pecans?


As I didn't have the hazelnuts and dried mint in the cupboard I used sunflower seeds and thyme. It is great, I agree with Geneve, it's a change of the ol' olive oil and balsamic.


I've been making Dukkah for years ever since discovering it in Australia, where it's been a fashionable nibble for many years (recipes can be found in books by Aussie food writers Jill Dupleix and Donna Hay). I sometimes use almonds instead of hazelnuts and leave out the fennel and the mint. A jar of Dukkah makes a wonderful hostess (or host) gift. Friends always ask when I'm going to bring them more.


Heidi, you and your friend must have had a great time. I'm heppy to hear from people living in NZ as i may live over there next year!

This spice&nuts sounds delicious. I think it's going to be a favourite for the summer bbqs.



That blend seems really delicious!!! Spices and nuts... And the small bread looks very good too. I think that's quite "fresh" isn'it? Perfect for an "apéro" (appetizers) ;-) But what to drink with it?


First of all - this picture with a piece of bread looks almost as a piece of art - ready to frame. And this blend is great for large groups — it doubles or even triples easily!


Mmmm... Copied into the archive =)

It sounds delightful. Perhaps it would go well with sesame oil as opposed to olive oil? I shall investigate! To the kitchen!


wow...I have got to try this...and soon!


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