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Essentially street market fare that’s been available in hundreds of different varieties in Egypt for years, Dukkah, or Duqqa, has gained a cult following in the US more recently. Traditionally mixed with oil and used as a dip for bread for vegetables, it is now also leveraged as a crust for meat, a seasoning for pasta, veggies, and a variety of other creative uses.

The name is derived from the Arabic verb “to pound,” as nuts and spices are pounded together to create the mixture. Though Wikipedia states the most basic version is merely mint, salt and pepper, it seems to recreate a taste that actually recalls dukkah, one needs at least the following ingredients: nuts (hazelnuts are most common, along with almonds), sesame seeds, cumin and coriander (plus S&P). Other herbs and spices may be added as the purveyor sees fit.

In KL Keller Spicy Dukkah, cumin jumps out as the dominant flavor (as cumin tends to do), warm and inviting, earthy and pungent. More secondary is nuttiness, and a soapy quality from the coriander (yeah, I’m one of those anti-cilantro people). On the back, as this is the spicy dukkah, there’s a lingering bite of chili pepper.

With the cumin and coriander flavors, there’s almost a Latin-meets Asian thing going on here, though it is distinctly African. I do like it in the more traditional sense – as a dip for bread, but I also dig it mixed into scrambled eggs or as a rub on grilled chicken thighs.

Here are 10 more ways to use it, from the KL Keller website:

  1. Sauté blanched chard in olive oil, garlic, and preserved lemon. Sprinkle with Dukkah to taste
  2. Add to hummus to spice up and add crunch
  3. Use as a dip along with olive oil for bread or fresh vegetables
  4. Sprinkle over a roasted vegetable or pumpkin soup
  5. Use as a crust base for roast rack of lamb
  6. Add to a deviled egg filling
  7. Add to a breading mix for fish or chicken pieces
  8. Mix Dukkah with olive oil and toss with freshly popped popcorn
  9. Bake Feta cheese with olive oil and preserved lemon, sprinkle with Dukkah
  10. Add to steamed vegetables for extra crunch and flavor

Have you tried Dukkah? How have you used it?