Like many quotes from the scriptures, we usually hear something that has been rephrased and truncated over time to fit any number of situations. In this instance, the quote is usually cut down to the statement that “Man cannot live by bread alone.” If you have any recollection of “Brother Dave Gardner”, you might be tempted to complete it by adding “he must have peanut butter”. Fortunately, given today’s dietary trends and practices, and drawing heavily on the Mediterranean and Levantine influences on our diets, a whole new spectrum of ingredients has come into play.
Dukkah is Levantine in origin. It’s a finely chopped blend of toasted nuts and spices with a number of uses. You can dip some olive-oil-dipped bread in it, sprinkle it on yogurt, sprinkle it on hummus, sprinkle it on roasted vegetables – on and on. Once you assemble the ingredients, not much can be simpler, or more rewarding.
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/8 cup cumin seeds
1/8 cup coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ground paprika
3/4 tsp salt flakes
3/4 tsp turmeric
Assemble the nuts and seeds on a large baking sheet (you can do them all at once). Give the pan a shake or two to spread them out into a thin layer, then place them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Hang around and enjoy the aroma, but to pay attention, some may toast quicker than others.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the ingredients cool. Put the nuts, seeds, and the remaining ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you get the desired consistency – something like coarse sand is best. (If you’re having trouble getting some uniformity, keep the almonds and hazelnuts separate when toasting and put them in the food processor and pulse them a few times before adding the rest of the ingredients. That will give the larger components more time under the blade and helps uniformity.
If you think your kitchen smells great with bread in the oven, just wait until you’re toasting the ingredients for dukkah. If you have a local source for bulk nuts and spices, I highly recommend a trip to stock up on the ingredients, though you’re well advised to buy the smallest quantity you can.
There’s not much easier than toasting nuts and seeds for use in a great recipe. Unfortunately, not much else can get away from you quicker; like cutting hair, a little at a time works best. When making dukkah, assemble all the seeds and nuts on a baking sheet, then give it a shake to spread them into a thin layer. Put them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for probably no more than 10 minutes, taking a peek after 5 minutes. You’ll sense when they’re done, and opening the oven to check is not going to mess you up; you’ll learn what’s best in your oven.