Ground nuts, herbs and spices served with bread and some good quality oil.
I was born in a town in Scotland called Alexandria. It subsequently says Alexandria as my place of birth in my passport, which in turn has led to some interesting questioning by customs and security personnel at various airports I’ve visited in the Middle East.
“Are you Egyptian?”
“I will be whatever you want me to be, so long as you let me past your security desk and into your beautiful country that I have not yet had the chance to see yet thank you.”
I’ve always been drawn to Egypt, old and new. It’s such a fascinating country and while it faces many troubles today I can’t help think that it has faced worse in the past and should therefore be able to cope in the long-run (Inshallah). Whether or not you’re a fan of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi I wish him all the best luck in doing the right thing for the country.
Anyway, I digress. I am delighted to include Egypt in my blog with a contribution to the martini world.
Here is some Duqqah (دقة).
As a linguistic side note it is also spelt Dukka or Duqqa, although I have always preferred using the ta-marbutah ة and the correct transliteration of the letter ق – just to be absolutely clear!
However you spell it, the name comes from the Arabic verb ‘to pound’ and contains a coarsely ground selection of nuts (usually hazelnuts but also pistachios, almonds and cashews), sesame seeds and a selection of herbs and spices such as coriander seeds, chilli and/or cumin for example, although this can all be varied to taste.
To eat it dip some bread into some good quality olive oil then dip it into the duqqah mixture to coat it.
For my recipe I lacked hazelnuts, so I made it as follows:
- 8 pistachio nuts
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 4 peanuts
- Pinch of sunflower seeds
- Pinch of flaked almonds
- Pinch of cumin seeds
- Pinch of sea salt
- Smidgen of pepper
- Pinch of chilli powder
- Pinch of turmeric
I roughly ground it with a mortar and pestle (but not too much) then served it with pitta bread and a small dish of extra virgin olive oil.
This serves two people.
However you can alter the quantities and the ingredients to suit your taste. The varieties are as numerous as Cairo traffic violations. You can even buy it in some supermarkets.
And if you were wondering about martinis… the answer is “yes”.
Of course it will go with a martini. However, by eating it, somewhat messily, with ones hands and oily bread, this isn’t perhaps the most elegant martini accompaniment. Save it for when you’re having a drink with more intimate company, not a first martini date. Don’t be deterred though, it’s tasty and interesting with a bit of bite.