Dukkah, or 'duqqa', is a type of Egyptian side dish made from blended spices, herbs and nuts. This palate-piquing accompaniment can be made using a range of different ingredients - including hazelnuts, sesame, cumin,mint, caraway and coriander. Whichever recipe you prefer, investing in a good mortar and pestle alongside a small collection of common key spices will keep you in cheap homemade dukkah for years! You can of course buy it pre-made in delis but it can sell for prices bordering on the criminally insane.

I first discovered this delicious treat at a fantastic tapas (called, conveniently enough, 'Tapas') restaurant on Rundle Mall in Adelaide in the late 1990s. Tapas has since moved on, as have I, but I quickly figured out my own facsimile shortly after trying it out for the first time, accompanied by crusty bread, and bowls of sweet balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  

I made this mixture in under 5 minutes; simply add spices in the proportions of about 1 part coriander seeds and peppercorns, 2 parts cumin, caraway and sesame seeds, and salt crystals to taste - crush it in a mortar, and it's done! It's a great dish to serve with a glass of hearty red and a good way of snacking up a bunch of friends on the cheap.

Free tip to you all, invest in some spices - bulk buying from a whole foods shop, or Asian supermarkets, is the most economical. Pretty much any pre-made savory sachet mix is made up of 90% the same spices in different combinations (salt, cumin, paprika, onion, pepper, chilli).

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