During our first visit to Nelson, New Zealand in 2003, on our way to Alaska, our friend Eva Brown introduced us to Dukkah at a Nelson restaurant. I discovered that I could buy it in New Zealand grocery stores, and we liked the “Egyptian” almond Dukkah the best. When I decided to make my own Dukkah, we tried many combinations of nuts and spices and the following recipe is our favorite. We have also used Macadamia nuts and Cashew nuts, with different results.
- 2 cups shelled Almonds
- 2 tablespoons whole Coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole Fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons whole Cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole Black Peppercorns
- 1/4 cup toasted Sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Sweet (not hot) Spanish Paprika
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- Toast the nuts in a hot (250 C or 450F) oven for 4 or 5 minutes, being careful not to burn them, stirring after 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In the same hot oven, toast the seeds of Coriander, Fennel, Cumin and the black Peppercorns, for approximately 2 minutes, being careful that they do not burn. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Toast the Sesame seeds separately for 2 minutes.
- In a food processor, or with a rolling pin and a strong plastic bag, chop and crush the toasted nuts until the mixture is in chunks of many sizes. Do not over process, or you will have almond butter.
- In a motar and pestle, or in a spice grinder, grind the toasted seeds and peppercorns (not the Sesame seeds which you will leave whole).
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the crushed nuts, ground seeds and peppercorns, whole Sesame seeds, Smoked Spanish Paprika and salt. Store Dukkah in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
For an appetizer, place Dukkah in a small bowl and extra-virgin olive oil in a second bowl. Dip cubes of fresh crusty bread first into the oil, then into the Dukkah. Or you can dribble the oil onto the bread, then sprinkle Dukkah onto the oiled bread.
Another appetizer can be bite-sized cubes of soft white cheese on toothpicks, dipped into the Dukkah. Or spread the cheese onto a cracker and sprinkle with Dukkah.
As a main dish, our favorite way to pan fry fresh fish fillets is to coat the fish with oil and sprinkle liberally with Dukkah on the top side, after you have placed it in a hot pan. Cook the fish on one side; turn it over; sprinkle with more Dukkah, and cook quickly until just not quite done. Add a little more oil around the edges of the pan if the fish begins to stick to the pan. The fish will finish cooking on your heated plate. Scrape all of the nuts and spices from the pan onto the top of the fish on the plates.