Smoked Hazelnut Spice Dip with Jicama (Dukka)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Dukka is a irresistable Egyptian blend of roasted nuts and toasted spices; it’s crunchy, toasty and complex. Traditionally it’s enjoyed with bread or pita; chunks are dipped in olive oil then dipped or sprinkled with dukka. But really, dukka is so good and habit forming it’s tempting to sprinkle it onto salads, tangines, curries, grains…perhaps even onto simple vanilla ice cream for an entirely different kind of sundae.
Either way, this recipe makes a lot because I know you’ll find a bunch of excuses to use it; just keep it stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator to keep the oils in the nuts fresh. While bread is great, I love it served with sticks of jicama as a refreshing, crunchy snack. Or serve elegant Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Dukka for an exciting alternative to hummus for a fancy appetizer.
Tip: Keep sticks of jicama packed in a tightly covered container covered with water for fast and easy dukka dipping enjoyment anytime.
1 cup whole hazelnuts
1/2 cup shelled, green pistachios or blanched, slivered almonds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon smoked salt
pinch red pepper flakes or one small whole dried red chile pepper
1 large jicama
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spread hazelnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10-14 minutes until the skins have cracked and the nuts appear to be light golden brown. Remove from oven and pour hazelnuts into a roughly textured kitchen towel. Twist the towel around the nuts and massage the towel for a few minutes to loosen the skins off the hazelnuts; before opening up the towel shake gently a few times. Most of the skins should be removed from the hazelnuts; pick out the hazelnuts and place into a food processor and discard the skins. Roast the pistachios or almonds for 5-8 minutes until toasted and add to the hazelnuts.
2. In a small skillet over medium heat toast the cumin, fennel, caraway, coriander, and peppercorns until fragrant, about 2 minutes. If you’re using a whole dried chile pepper toast it along with the seeds. Pour the toasted spices into a spice grinder and pulse a few times; don’t make them into a fine powder, a slightly gritty powder is best. Add the ground spices to the nuts along with the red pepper flakes if using, smoked salt and pulse until the nuts are ground into a chunky powder. The dukka is done! For an average appetizer serving for 4 pour about 1/2 cup into a serving bowl.
3. To serve with bread, pair it up with a dish of good quality olive oil. For jicama don’t bother with the oil; peel the jicama with a Y shaped peeler and slice the jicama into sticks about 1/2 inch thick. Toss with the lemon juice and serve with a little dish of dukka.
Try adding 1-2 teaspoons of the following seeds; roast with the other spices.
-Whole flax seeds
-Black cumin (nigella)
-Black sesame seeds