While spending a couple of days recently in The Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s wine regions, I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth Dukka was served everywhere.  Each restaurant seemed to offer a starter of sourdough and dukka (or dukkah)…and always at a price too. It’s not something you come across in Paris ever really and so I was intrigued as ever on the look out for an alternate apero.

Of Egyptian origin, Dukka is usually a spice and nut blend with hazelnuts, chickpeas and thyme as a base but combinations vary wildly and some dukkas boast macadamia nuts as their dominant flavour while with others it’s sesame that takes the lead.  It’s like the crumbly love child of zaatar and gomasio with a twist of roasted nuts. Fabulously fragrant, it’s very easy and another way to spice up an evening glass of wine. With a little scrutiny and some internet research, the contents of a dukka bowl are not hard to figure out. Invent a blend that suits you.

The ingredients, for the most part, are likely to be sitting around many a kitchen. Dukka could also be used to season meats or as a sprinkling for salads, soups, roasted vegetables….

Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping with some warm flatbreads.

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Ingredients (this is a list of options that can be played around with; leave out what you don’t like or add things like dessicated coconut)

2 tablespoons whole hazelnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup Macadamia or Brazil nuts
2 tablespoons sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Making

Roast the hazelnuts until the skins can be rubbed off. Then toast the other seeds and nuts. Toast  them on a dry hot pan for very little time; just until they start to dance around a little. Using a pestle and mortar roughly grind them until the nuts and seeds are broken up but not too finely otherwise the nuts will become too oily. This is a dry crumbly nut mix.

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