Thursday, 24 September 2009

Dukkah Dippers

Crispy, crunchy, aromatic and deeply savory, these middle eastern spiced pitta bread dippers turn any regular dip into a stunning centerpiece.

Dukkah is a traditional blend of nuts and spices usually served along with olive oil as a dry roasted dip for breadsticks. The recipes vary from country to country and from street vendor to street vendor and every home has its own blend with its own personality dependant on the preferences of its family.... it might feature pistachios, almonds or more commonly, hazlenuts, it will be spiced with black or white pepper and salt, sesame seeds (black or white), cumin, coriander, even occasionally fennel seeds.

The pitta bread can be cut into all sorts of shapes, long narrow strips, delicate triangles or chunky wedges, as long as they are big enough and wide enough to scoop dollops of dip. I love these served with paprika dusted hummus, but they are great with tzatziki or tomato salsa and leftover dukkah makes a beautiful crust for salmon.

Dukkah Dippers
4 pitta breads
2 tbsp olive oil

for the dukkah:
3 tbsp hazelnuts 
3 tbsp pistachio nuts 
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds 
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180C.  
Dry roast the spices and nuts in a frying pan for a few minutes until they start to turn a light brown colour and release their aroma. Do not leave them alone for even a second as they burn very easily. Allow to cool a little then roughly chop the nuts and spices, I like to crush them in a pestle and mortar to get a mixture of fine crumbs and chunky nutty bits . 
Cut the pitta breads into small triangles. Lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and drizzle with olive oil.  
Bake in the oven for 10- 12 minutes till fragrant and golden. Again watch them carefully, you want a light golden colour and a crisp texture not blackened bread and bitter spices.

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