So anyway, as I was saying, the time had come to try my hand at blending my own version of the deliciously moreish Egyptian spice blend that we know as dukkah. The owner of the Copenhagen cafe in which I tasted a very fine example was understandably cagey about revealing the contents of her mix. I asked if she would let me in on her secret but her claim was that her English wasn’t good enough to explain it in detail. A likely story. Anyway, I had to leave it as that as it could very well have been what she staked her reputation on. What you mean I have to figure it out for myself??
The overriding memory I have of the spice mix is that is was subtly imbued with sweet spices while the sometimes overwhelming cumin took a bit of a backseat. To this end I’ve included allspice and cinnamon to produce a hint of sweetness. The inclusion of dried lemon zest is a must, in my opinion. It’s ridiculously easy to prepare, you just need to think ahead by a day or two. This is the before and after following a drying period of 48 hours.
Dukkah is traditionally made with hazelnuts but I’m a big fan of combining a few different nut varieties. I used a mix of hazelnuts, pistachios and cashews though you could experiment with any combination that takes your fancy.
Once you have a jar of dukkah in your pantry you’ll find it hard to be without it. It’s fantastically versatile…try encrusting some fresh fish fillets with dukkah then panfrying in a mix of olive oil and butter; sprinkle dukkah in your salads or use dukkah as part of a tasting platter when you’re entertaining. One of my favourite ways to eat dukkah is by tearing fresh, crusty bread into chunks, dipping it generously in good quality olive oil then dunking it into a bowl of dukkah. Seriously good.
The wrap itself is a combination of olive oil, dukkah, fresh mint, tomatoes and goat cheese. It’s lunchtime simplicity at its best: simple to whip up in minutes, super delicious, fresh, flavoursome and healthy. The recipe below makes approximately 2 cups which is ample to keep you stocked up for weeks. I kept one jar for myself and gave another away, earning myself some brownie points in the process.
DUKKAH SPICE MIX (makes approx 2 cups)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
50g each hazelnuts, pistachios and cashews
1/3 cup coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Dried zest of 2 lemons (see here for method)
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the nuts into three separate roasting dishes (or roast individually if you prefer).
2. Roast the nuts until lightly golden. This will take between 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Set a timer! This is very important as nuts are ridiculously easy to burn. In my case the pistachios and cashews were done to perfection in 7 minutes, the hazelnuts took a further couple of minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove any loose skin from the hazelnuts by rubbing them between your fingers.
3. Toast the sesame seeds until lightly golden in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat. Again, watch them very closely as they can go from good to burnt in seconds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two. They are done when they start to release their aromas.
5. Combine the nuts, seeds, spices, lemon zest, peppercorns and salt in a bowl then transfer into a food processor. Pulse until the mix is ground to your liking. I prefer dukkah to have a few chunky bits rather than grinding it to a powder.
WRAP INGREDIENTS (serves two for lunch)
2 wraps (I used Gerry’s Rice & Chia Seed Wraps)
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
3 tbsp dukkah spice mix
100g fresh goat cheese
Large handful cherry tomatoes – quartered
Handful fresh mint leaves – sliced
1. Combine the oil and dukkah in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Warm the wraps in a hot pan for 10-15 seconds each side.
3. Divide the oil/dukkah between the two wraps, spreading it along the centre of each wrap.
5. Fold one side of the wrap over the contents then fold the base of the wrap up so the contents don’t fall out the bottom. Continue to roll the wrap over until you have a long tube shape filled with all that oozy, oily, spicy goodness. Eat immediately.