One of the most frustrating things about having a nut allergy is severe fear of missing out (FOMO).
There are so many foods that look bloody delicious but I’ll never be able to try. I just know if I could eat them I’d be such a nut enthusiast! So I fantasize about macarons, frangipane tarts, nut butters and other delicious (I’m assuming!) nutty goodies and then plot to create my own nut-free versions.
My latest nut-crush is Dukkah (or Duqqa or du’ah). It’s an Egyptian sesame, nut and spice mix traditionally eaten as a dip with flatbreads. To placate my FOMO I decided to whip up a nut-free version. I checked out a few recipes online, mainly to work out a rough nut:sesame:spice ratio. Then I winged it, subbing in pumpkin and sunflower seeds in place of the hazelnuts or pistachios normally used.
Boy, oh boy, it’s good. I have a pot in my desk at work and whip it out at lunch-time to tart up my soup, salad or even sandwich. There are also two pots in the fridge at home. One for eating, and one as a back up in case something happens to the first. Like being devoured by me on my own.
Nut-free Dukkah, I have found, will improve most foods. My current favourites are:
- Add a big pinch to eggs on toast. Scrambled, poached, boiled, fried … it improves them all
- Mix thick yogurt, lemon juice and a heaped tablespoon of Dukkah for a super savoury dip
- Spice up a tomato and lentil soup with a sprinkle of Dukkah
For the moment let me say, please make this stuff. It takes no time at all and you won’t regret it. The recipe makes a substantial amount, enough for one for you, one to keep at work and one for a friend. If you want to make less, just keep the ratio the same. You can substitute the spices and the seeds depending on your taste. I’d also recommend keeping the texture coarse. If you blitz everything too much it can become a little powdery.
Nut-free Dukkah Recipe
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup cumin seeds
Chilli powder, to taste (start with 1tsp and build up)
Salt, to taste
- First, toast your seeds. I tend to keep ready toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds on hand at all times (because I’m super cool). I’d recommend toasting in batches, as the different seeds take different times. I toast in a dry frying pan on a medium heat, because I have a tendency to forget if I do them in an oven. Toast until fragrant and just starting to pop.
- Let all your seeds cool down. This is important! Skip this step and you’ll get a mushy mess.
- In a spice or coffee grinder (you could also use a food processor, a pestle and mortar or just the end of a rolling pin in a sturdy bowl) grind the pumpkin and sunflower seeds very briefly. You want some chunky bits and some finer. Decant into a bowl.
- Blitz the sesame. Again, very quickly – you don’t want it to turn into paste. Add to the bowl.
- Blitz the cumin and coriander. Depending on the age of your seeds you might want to make this blitz finer. Bits of coriander seed shell caught in the teeth is not pleasant. Add to bowl.
- Stir in a big pinch of salt and a teaspoon chilli powder. Taste and add more of each of you like.
- Decant into jars. I use an old washed out sprinkle container! You can keep in the fridge or in a cupboard.