Dukkah is Egypt’s answer to Lebanese za’atar and is as addictive. It is a rich, complex and aromatic condiment made from toasted nuts, usually toasted hazelnuts, cumin and coriander and like Za’atar it is a very flexible way to add an exotic flavor to pretty much any dip, side dish or entree.
I grew up in Cairo with Dukkah as one of my favorite after school snacks. Usually sold by street vendors with Semeet, a sesame encrusted ring of freshly baked crusty bread, Dukkah came in a small cone shaped container made from newspaper that you sprinkled on each bite of bread.
My street vendor was strategically placed by my school bus stop and I invariably paused to buy my snack with what little pocket money I had saved from the previous day. I will never forgot his wizened face and wide toothless grin as he saw me coming, sitting cross legged on the pavement Semeet and Dukkah held up high ready for collection.
Good Dukkah blends are available in Middle East Food stores and on Amazon. It is so easy to make so it is worthwhile blending the mix to your taste.
The most traditional use of dukkah is as a dip for pita or crusty bread (dip the slices into olive oil first to get the dukkah to stick). Dead simple and satisfying, it’s a snack that’s also super impressive—try it at your next gathering for proof.
You can also sprinkle Dukkah onto roasted vegetables (especially great with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and carrots), stir into plain Greek yogurt, humus or feta cheese for an exotic party dip.
Here is a delicious dish that uses Dukkah as a rub. Moist roasted rib chops crusted with an aromatic flavor and finished off with a pomegranate syrup glaze. —Derek Farwagi
rib lamb rack well trimmed and cut in two.
Dukkah ( available on Amazon and most Middle Eastern food stores).
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 450°F.
Cut the four rib rack in half, season with salt and pepper and cover the rib bones with strips of foil so they don’t burn.
Pour a tablespoon of pomegranate syrup in a small bowl and with a basting brush “paint” the meaty side of the racks with syrup.
Transfer the racks to a roasting pan just large enough to hold them and roast at 450 F for 10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 350 F, baste with more pomegranate syrup and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 140 F (for medium rare).
Remove from oven and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.
Coat with Dukkah and nut mixture and cut each rib rack in two.
Plate on a swirl of Greek yoghurt and pomegranate syrup with an added pinch of Dukkah for garnish.