Thirty-six years ago when we started using the word vinyasa in our Yoga Journal ads it was terribly risky business. No one thought an unusual Sanskrit word would necessarily be welcoming to people, and certainly no one could imagine it would become the household word it is today. My god, the word yoga itself was still weird to many people in the 1980's when Yoga was well past its third incarnation in the West by then. Who could imagine how shockingly limited our exposure was culturally? Today, I give you not only the word, but a fabulous recipe, for the nut and spice blend, dukkah.
This pungent blend originates from Arabic culture and the word means "to pound" as it was likely made with a mortar and pestle. As far away from our norm as it comes from, dukkah is already being uniquely crafted in the West with riffs on the original recipe that leans heavily on hazelnuts, sesame, and cumin with substitutions like pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, or even pumpkin seeds. This crunchy mixture makes a wonderful addition for topping soups, throwing into a tossed salad, using on top of hummus or baba ganoush, or simply nibbling by the handful. Really, the options are endless.
As plant-based diets are becoming more imprinted in our awareness, our openness to new cultural food adventures are broadening. Our taste buds do have a way of luring us out of our limitations. In fact, we may even take to dukkah more quickly than we took to Yoga.
Please enjoy the following recipe and feel free, just as in your yoga practice, to explore and be creative.
3/4 cup unsalted hazelnuts (pistachios or almonds)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 Tbs whole coriander seeds
2 Tbs whole cumin seeds
1tsp. whole black peppercorns
1tsp. kosher or Himalayan salt
Toast the nuts (or a mixture of nuts) in a dry skillet over medium heat until warm. Approximately two minutes. Add the seeds and continue to toast until fragrant. Probably another two minutes or so. Make sure to move the nuts and seeds around in the skillet frequently with a wooden spoon or by shaking the pan so that nothing gets overheated or overly toasted. Remove from heat. Allow the nuts and seeds to cool. Place the mixture in a food processor (or vitamix ) adding the salt and pepper. Pulse until the nuts are course and equal to a rough hand chop. Your dukkah can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week or used immediately. Feel free to get creative with you nut and spice blends. Enjoy!