Dukkah has been floating around the internet for quite a while, and I’ve been making batches of it for years and years. So yes, this blog post is very 2014. David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen was one of my first cookbooks, and among the abundantly rich cassoulets and indulgent French desserts, this little recipe stood out.
Textually interesting and incredibly nutty, dukkah is a great addition to any savory dish. Like with all spice seasonings, there are endless variations of Dukkah recipes out there; this is really a base recipe meant to be adjusted to no end. Hazelnuts can be swapped for almonds, pumpkin seeds for pistachio. This version adds to and intensifies Lebovit’z dukkah recipe, where heaping teaspoons turn one teaspoon to one and a half, creating an herbaceous dukkah that’s incredible on almost anything.
When people say dukkah can (and should) be sprinkled heavily on anything and everything, they’re not wrong. Recently, I’ve been liberally sprinkling Dukkah over avocado toast and vegan cream cheese (Kite Hill is my favorite). Over eggs or roasted carrots or mushrooms is amazing as well. Paired with olive oil and dipped with slices of sourdough, irresistible.
Also, I’m pretty sure I’m the only who does this, but I’ve been eating peanut butter spoonfuls coated in dukkah–it’s amazing; creamy, nutty, crunchy. The perfect afternoon snack.
Black sesame dukkah was a happy accident. Halfway through prepping regular dukkah, I realized I was out of regular sesame seeds. With hulls intact, black sesame has a deeper intensity, more flavorful and aromatic.
Toasting the seeds individually allows for more control. Sesame seeds slowly become fragrant and golden, cumin and fennel become fragrant much faster. Toast the seeds until their fragrance fills the air, to the brink of being burnt. Doing so adds that level of intensity missing in store-bought dukkah.
Black Sesame Dukkah
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen
YIELDS 1 1/2 cups
1 cup (50 g) hazelnuts or almonds
1/3 cup (50 g) sesame seeds, mostly black sesame seeds*
(35 g) pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 generous teaspoon cumin seeds
1 generous fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Once the oven is preheated, toast the hazelnuts for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool and pour into a medium-sized bowl. (Optional: remove skins on hazelnuts. Skins can become bitter once roasted, but I have no noticed a difference with or without the skin. So feel free to be lazy and skip removing the skins!)
Heat a skillet on medium heat. Individually toast the seeds, starting with the sesame seeds. Toast the sesame seeds in an even layer until you hear a slight crackle. Pour sesame seeds into the medium sized bowl. Follow with the pumpkin seeds, coriander, cumin, fennel, and black peppercorn. Coriander takes a while longer, while cumin and fennel take a few seconds, depending on how hot your pan is. Most will take less than a minute. Add the salt.
Grind the nuts, seeds, and spices in a mortar and pestle, with a spice grinder, or in a mini food processor, until the mixture is well ground, but not too fine. You want to keep the lovely chunks for texture.
Dukkah will keep for about a month in an airtight jar at room temperature.
*Roughly 70:30 black sesame seeds to white sesame seeds. In a pinch, any sesame seeds will do, but black sesame creates a stronger, richer nuttier flavor.