This is another one of the recipes from my party mezze workshop. We served this spicy, warming soup in little cups with teaspoons. You don’t really need a big bowl of soup as part of a buffet/mezze but a little cup is just the right amount to get you started. I put little bowls of the dukkah on the table for people to sprinkle on top of their soup and to dip their bread into.
Dukkah (or duqqa) is an Egyptian spice mix traditionally made with ground hazelnuts. I added some ground roasted chestnuts to the blend for a seasonally festive touch but if you can’t get chestnuts don’t worry. They sell roasted chestnuts at the side of the road here at this time of year, on little stalls. They roast them in big pots, you can see the smoke rising and smell them before you see them.
There are millions of different recipes for Dukkah, every family has their own but this is a pretty basic version using hazelnuts, cumin and coriander seeds, sesame seeds and black pepper.
The word “Dukkah” is derived from the Arabic word “to pound”. Not surprisingly, all the ingredients are pounded in a mortar & pestle (or processor) into something between a powder and a crumbly paste. It is served as an accompaniment to meals. You dip your bread in some good olive oil (thankfully we have just taken delivery of this season’s harvest of local olive oil which is like liquid gold) then dip it into the dukkah. The spice mix sticks to the oil, then you taste it and you will be instantly addicted.
Sprinkle it over soups, stews salads, hummus, yoghurt, anything really. It’s my new favourite thing. I’m thinking of using it in a dessert for a bit of savoury kick. You could add it into a crumble mix or maybe it would work with this fig & almond fumble. Then you would have a dukkah fig fumble. Try saying that after few sherries. It’s pronounced Doo-kah by the way.
Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Chestnut Dukkah
Serves 4 -6 (or more if you are serving it in little cups). Vegan, Gluten-Free
- 1 med-large cauliflower, chopped into small florets
- 1 leek, cut in half lengthways, rinsed & sliced (or 1 onion chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp harissa paste or chilli flakes (optional)
- 125 ml water
- 1 litre veg stock
- salt & black pepper
- 1 or 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- a handful of chopped fresh coriander (plus extra for garnish)
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Cook the leek/onion with a pinch of salt for 3 or 4 minutes until softened then add the garlic and all the spices stirring to coat and cook for another minute or so.
Add the cauliflower florets and the water and stir to coat in the spices. Pour in the veg stock, the cauliflower should be covered by the stock, if not add some water and season well with salt & black pepper. Bring to the boil then lower the heat, partially cover and simmer for about 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is really tender.
Carefully puree with a stick blender or in a processor, taking care not to splatter hot soup everywhere. When completely smooth add a squeeze of lemon and the fresh coriander and blend again. Pour the soup back into the pan to reheat, taste for seasoning, add more salt or lemon if required. You may need to add a bit more stock or water to thin it down to the required consistency.
Serve topped with some fresh coriander and the dukkah.
Chestnut/Hazelnut Dukkah Recipe
- 100 g roasted chestnuts and/or hazelnuts, chopped
- 6 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
If not already toasted, roast the chestnuts/hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully, until golden. Remove some of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them, while still warm, in a clean tea towel and set aside to cool.
If not already toasted, toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden and pour into medium bowl.
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan, shaking occasionally, until fragrant and they start to pop. Pour into a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Pour this into the bowl with the sesame seeds.
Put the cooled chestnuts/hazelnuts into a food processor and blend/pulse until finely ground. Stir this into the bowl with the spices and add the salt and black pepper. Mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.