Seasoning

Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah

If you hadn't already realised by now, we love a good spice blend. But when a spice blend also contains nuts/seeds and can be eaten as a snack? That's when our taste buds really get excited. Welcome to Dukkah .... probably one of the tastiest mixes you can have in your kitchen cupboards. And it's really nutritious too...so it's an all round winner!

Originating from Egypt, this spice/nut mix has become really popular around the world as a delicious topping, seasoning and just a general kitchen superstar. The word 'dukka' (or duqqa) means 'to pound', and you quite literally just pound your ingredients together to form a dry, crunchy mixture. 

Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah
Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah

Traditionally, dukkah was served as a snack with fresh bread and olive oil. Simple but delicious! But it's an incredibly versatile mix - sprinkle it on top of vegetables to form a crispy coating, use it on top of soups, salads, stews, pasta or whatever meal needs some extra flavour. The possibilities are pretty endless.  I've even eaten it with a spoon as a pre-dinner snack! 

In many classic Dukkah recipes, they use hazelnuts & sesame seeds as the base of the mix. We've used almonds in our version as we always have them in the cupboard, but it would be equally delicious with brasil nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts. We've also used pumpkin seeds as they're our favourite and are an amazing source of zinc and plant protein. 

Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah

Ingredients (Makes 1 medium jar)
1/2 cup of Almonds
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Seeds
2 & 1/2 tablespoons of cumin seeds
2 & 1/2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper corns
1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt

Method
We dry roast our seeds and nuts separately in a heavy bottom pan so they cook evenly.
1. First toast the almonds, then pumpkin seeds, stirring well until they are nicely browned. Set aside.
2. Then toast the coriander, cumin and black pepper until they are fragrant.
3. Let everything cool, then mix with the salt and grind up in either a pestle and mortar or with a spice/coffee grinder. Its nice to leave some of the seeds and nuts chunky so you get some good texture (see below).
4.Store in an air-tight jar. Keeps well for 2-3 months. 

Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah
Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah
Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah
Almond & Pumpkin Seed Dukkah

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How to Make a Za'atar Spice Mix

I always find ancient rituals and practises so fascinating. Those special kind of recipes that have been handed down through the centuries... little traditions started by our ancestors so long ago.
Za'atar is one of those special traditions that traces far back in Middle Eastern cuisine. I'm sure that every country and family have their own unique version of this spice mix -  that's one of the things we love about it. But mainly, it's the flavour that we're obsessed with. This beautiful blend of herbs, sesame seeds and sumac is incredible sprinkled on top of so many dishes. It adds an extra twist of flavour and colour to even the simplest of meals - perfect for when you don't have much time. Try it on hummus, salad, soup, roasted vegetables or with olive oil as a dressing... there are endless possibilities for this tasty tradition! 

How to make Za'atar spice mix

Confusingly, Za'atar is also the name of a wild herb found in the Middle East, with a flavour somewhat similar to thyme. This is just a recipe for the spice mix, and doesn't require you to buy the wild herb!

If you aren't familiar with sumac, then we really recommend buying some. This ruby-red spice comes from a type of berry that grows in the mediterranean and middle east. It has a tangy, lemony flavour that tastes amazing and really enhances the za'atar mix. 

Ingredients
6 teaspoons of sesame seeds
4 teaspoons of sumac
4 teaspoons of oregano*
4 teaspoons of thyme*
a pinch of sea salt
*It's possible to use dried or fresh herbs, however you may find the mix lasts slightly longer using dried. 

Method
1. In a small pan, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. 
2. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. We like our za'atar to have more texture, so we just mix it together with a spoon...If you want a finer powder, feel free to grind the ingredients together using a pestle & mortar/processor. 
3. Once combined, place your mix in a jar and it's now ready to use! Store in a cool place and enjoy on your meals.