This weekend marks the un-official start of summer. With the blink of an eye, the month of May is nearly over, I'm not sure how that happened. It's time for hot summer days spent lounging around the pool (ok, that's not how I spend my days, but I'm sure many people do), firing-up the grill for festive BBQs (one of my favorite parts of the warmer months), and keeping cool in the kitchen while preparing deliciously nourishing seasonal foods.
Many of us are challenged by the heat. What do I mean by "challenged"? For me, the summertime heat, paired with the oftentimes excessive humidity in Baltimore, aggravates my system. Not only does my entire physical body feel hot, but my personality can become more fiery, I may feel short-tempered and agitated easily; when truly out of balance, my skin reacts with heat rash. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, I'm a true example of Pitta dosha. Ayurveda is the historic medical system of India and provides guidelines for a way of living that I'm exploring more and more each day. For now, whether or not you know anything about Ayurveda or doshas is not important...
I'm always looking for ingredients which cool my body in the summertime, to keep my body and its systems working optimally and in-tune with the seasons. That's where today's recipe comes in - it's a recipe for a seed & spice blend that is known to calm the imbalance of Pitta dosha, plus it tastes absolutely delicious! And trust me, I'm not one to eat anything that doesn't taste good. Remember, you don't need to have any knowledge of Ayurveda to enjoy this recipe.
Do you know Dukkah?
If you're wondering what I'm talking about, let me take a little step back and explain. Dukkah is an herb-spice-seed mixture which has its roots in Egypt. Just like my beloved Za'atar, there's no one recipe for Dukkah; each family has its own blends and variations which are used in a multitude of ways in the kitchen. The word "dukkah" is Arabic for "to crush" or "to pound", which describes how Dukkah is traditionally made - by crushing the ingredients together in a mortar & pestle. For convenience, I often use a mini food processor to make my batches of Dukkah, but I offer both methods in my recipe's directions below.
My Dukkah recipe has 5 simple ingredients, whereas I've seen other Dukkah recipes with many more. I wanted to keep things easy and let the flavors of the ingredients shine, as well as be therapeutic for me and my body. Raw pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a wonderful source of protein and zinc in my diet. Sesame seeds are full of calcium, which helps to keep my bones and teeth strong. Fennel seeds and coriander seeds are both very aromatic; they are pacifying for Pitta dosha, meaning that they help to keep my body cool and in balance. The sea salt ties the mixture all together deliciously and provides my body with a good dose of minerals.
So how do I use Dukkah? I keep a jar of this heavenly blend on my counter, right next to the Himalayan pink salt grinder and peppermill. I sprinkle it on my hummus, on my salads, on top of plain yogurt for a savory bite; I've stirred a spoonful into unsweetened oatmeal, mashed it with some ripe avocado for a twist on guacamole, and mixed it into my favorite squash soup. Sometimes, I just eat a spoonful on its own, it's that good. I've yet to eat it in its traditional Egyptian manner as a dip for flatbread (aka pita bread), but I'm sure that would be delicious. Basically, Dukkah can be used everywhere, all the time, it's so adaptable and adds just the right amount of flavor and texture to any meal.
Please give my Dukkah recipe a try and let me know what you think. How do you use Dukkah in your kitchen?
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Pumpkin Seed-Fennel Dukkah
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 C black sesame seeds
2 T fennel seeds
2 T coriander seeds
1/2 t sea salt (or more, if desired)
Place a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown on the edges and make a “popping” sound. Remove from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the sesame seeds. Carefully toast them - they will toast very quickly and burn easily. Pour them into the bowl with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
Add the fennel seeds and coriander seeds to the skillet and toast until golden brown. Remove from the pan and into the bowl with the other toasted ingredients. Allow the seeds to cool completely.
Once the mixture is cooled, pour it into a small food processor, along with the sea salt. Pulse several times to break-up the seeds into smaller pieces. Continue to grind until the desired texture is reached. Taste for seasoning, adding more sea salt, if desired.
Pour mixture into a glass jar for storage. Use generously and often!
recipe yields 1 C of Dukkah
Dukkah will stay fresh, in a sealed jar, for 2 weeks
double or triple the quantities to make more Dukkah - divide it into small jars to share with your family & friends!
use a mortar & pestle, in place of a food processor, for a more rustic approach to making Dukkah