Egyptian Duqqah to accompany a martini

This is a simple snack item consisting of ground nuts, herbs and spices served with bread and some good quality oil.

I’ve always been drawn to Egypt, old and new. It’s such a fascinating country with both grand and tumultuous history and I am delighted to include it in my blog with a contribution to the martini world.

I wanted to write about duqqah, which is a sort of flavour mixture, dry dip or even salad topper. It’s fairly simple in concept, but like martinis also comes in a wide variety of versions.

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 where relevant, as well as the letter ‘q’ for the correct transliteration of the letter ق – just to be absolutely clear!

However you spell it, the name duqqah comes from the Arabic verb ‘to pound’. The snack 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, simply lay it out on a plate, dip bread into some good quality olive oil then dab it into the duqqah mixture to coat it, and enjoy! You can also sprinkle it over salad or vegetables.

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 multiple. 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.

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