I know you are wondering, what is dukkah, why do I want to make it, and why would I want to gift it? Let me explain. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut blend. This mix is a punchy combination of nuts and whole spices, toasted until the oils release and become fragrant, and then bashed together to yield a bold, flavorful bite. The mix smells like I have be transported from my kitchen to another world away.
The key to what makes dukkah sing is toasting each of the seeds, nuts and spices. Because each of the components are different sizes and shapes, they toast at different speeds, so each one must be toasted individually. But no worries, this goes fast.
Just toast each item as you measure it and dump together in a bowl.
Once you've done that, mash a bit with a mortar and pestle or a non-breakable bowl with a rock (I do this all the time, and then I put that rock in the dish washer) or in the food processor. Pulse or smash until you have a consistency you like. And don't feel bad if you want to change up the ingredients as well. Dukkah is not a set recipe, but a mix, go for what sounds good to you. Other popular add-ins or swaps include almonds and chilies.
Then bag it up or put in a jar and gift away. Be sure to include ideas of how to use it. My favorite is bread dipped in a brightly flavored olive oil and then into the dukkah, so it adheres to the bread. It is also great on top of hard boiled eggs, some avocado on toast, soft cheese, sauteed or roasted vegetables or meat... You get the idea.
Spicy Food Lover's Bible by Dave DeWitt & Nancy Gerlach
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add the hazelnuts, and dry-toast until slightly browned and fragrant, being careful that they don't burn. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Repeat the procedure with each of the seeds and the peppercorns. Allow each of them to cool completely.
Place the nuts and seeds, along with the mint and salt, into a mortar and pound until the mixture is crushed. Or pulse in a food processor to a coarse consistency; do not allow the mixture to become a paste.
Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 month.
Yield: 1 cup.