Our Spice of the Month: Dukkah January 13, 2017
In 2017, we’re really pushing the boundaries of flavour. So, every month, we’ll be introducing you to a new spice to help you add a pinch of creativity to your cooking. We begin our flavour adventure in Egypt with dukkah. Dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) is a traditional spice blend from Egypt made from a mixture of lovely crunchy nuts and seeds, as well as tasty spices and herbs.
The Roots of Egyptian Cuisine
What we love about Egyptian food is that it’s a melting pot of different influences, particularly from their neighbours in the Middle East. Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Ottomans first influenced Egyptian cuisine thousands of years ago. What’s clear, is that Egyptians love good food. Even their paintings and carvings in ancient tombs and temples feature devilishly tasty looking feasts and a variety of foods dating back 5000 years. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll have no problem travelling in Egypt, as a lot of dishes are made with beans, lentils and vegetables.
Eat like an Egyptian
• Aish – a major part of most meals. This pocket bread, similar to pita bread, is made by mixing wheat flour, water and salt, then baking.
• Kushari – considered to be the Egyptian national dish. This vegetarian meal contains rice, spaghetti, macaroni, black lentils, chickpeas and garlic topped with spicy tomato sauce and fried onions. YUM!
• Ful medames – one of the most common staple foods in Egypt. It consists of mashed broad beans cooked in oil with chopped parsley, garlic, lemon juice and salt.
Did you know?
Dukkah is derived from Arabic meaning to crush or pound as the spice mixture is crushed into a chunky texture.
The Fresh Hacks: Add Some Dukkah
Meet Jane from The Dukkah Company
Our Dukkah Suppliers
When Jane Sanderson, founder of the Dukkah company, travelled across North Africa, she didn’t realise the impact it would have on her. In amongst the mesmerising smells and bustle of the street markets she came across dukkah served as a dip with flat breads and oil. Ever since, she’s been making dukkah blends. We caught up with her to find out how it’s all going.
After countless times of being asked for the recipe or to make more for them to take home, I began tubbing it and decided to actually label a few pots. I nervously popped into one of my local farm shops to introduce myself and my “Dipping Sand” dukkah and asked if they would be willing to try it on the shelves. I was absolutely delighted but even more shocked by their response of purchasing the full box (…and totally amazed when they phoned a couple of weeks later to say they had sold out). Since 2012, it’s grown into 6 different blends. I began based from home and making it all in our family kitchen but I’ve recently moved production into a dedicated unit in nearby village Goldsithney.
Interestingly, the Australian, New Zealand & South African delis are well stocked with dukkah brands, with its use in these regions well known – it really is a kitchen staple. I have many website enquiries from Aussies living here who are desperate to get their “dukkah fix” (like I said… it’s very more-ish!!). The UK is gradually picking up the pace and the dukkah revolution is on its way….
What are your favourite little ways to add dukkah to old classics to spice them up?
It does get used to season almost everything in our kitchen too. As a rub for a slow roasted lamb shoulder (amazing!), topping a baked camembert, roasted veg, or on top of thicksoup…. the list goes on! Anywhere you want to add a bit of spice and texture, dukkah is great. It’s really handy to use asa gluten free crunchy topping or sprinkled onto salads…!
What’s a fun fact about dukkah?
It was originally used as a spice that could be carried for days across deserts & roasted over the fire to provide nutrition and flavour.