Zahtar (Dukkah)

In preparation for a black-eyed pea dish that I'll be featuring soon, I made this Middle Eastern spice blend. I am running out of room for all the homemade spice blends that I make, but I can never resist in any case. Widely used in the Middle East and North Africa, zahtar is a wonderfully tangy, zesty and salty blend of herbs, spices, seeds and nuts that's surprisingly hearty on its own. Often served for breakfast with bread after dipped in olive oil, this delicious blend can be enjoyed for a snack, lunch, dinner or whenever you please. Consider adding it to salads, with your vegetable dishes or included in your favorite dipping sauce. The possibilities are endless.

I did some research and came up with my own recipe for zahtar (also known as za'atar or dukkah) based on ideas I found from A Life Time of Cooking and Kevin of Closet Cooking. Zahtar will keep in the fridge in a well sealed glass jar for several months. Your pulse should be rather coarse. Enjoy the aroma while making this blend, and try the exotic flavor just on its own.

Sumac is the dried fruit of a temperature shrub ground to a powder and used extensively in Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine. You can easily find it in any Middle Eastern or Asian grocer.


Zahtar (Dukkah)Zahtar (Dukkah)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on February 3, 2012

A tangy, zesty and salty blend of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices from the Middle East.

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Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon rock salt or sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • pinch of dried marjoram
  • 1/3 cup dried fenugreek leaves
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
Instructions:
  • In a frying pan, dry roast the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, walnut pieces, sunflower seeds, pistachios, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns until fragrant. Grind together in a coffee grinder or food processor (I used my trusty magic bullet).

  • Transfer to a small bowl and add the salt, sumac, marjoram, fenugreek leaves, thyme, oregano and chili powder. and stir until well combined.

Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups
Other spice blends you may enjoy from Lisa's spicy kitchen:
Curry Powder
Chat Masala
Garam Masala

On the top of the reading stack: Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries & More

Audio accompaniment: Horace Andy

3 comments:

Francesca said...

Your spice mix looks delicious. Far nicer than any Zahtar I have ever bought. I can't wait to give it a try.

janet @ the taste space said...

What an interesting recipe, Lisa. I always thought dukkah and za'atar were distinct, although similar. Dukkah, more of a seasoned nut dip and za'atar more of a savoury spice mix including sumac. I like how both elements seem to collide here.

Clevergirl said...

I'm with Janet on Dukkah and Za'atar being two different things. I actually am currently living in Palestine-Israel so I've got some first hand experience on the issue. Za'atar is a type of wild thyme which looks a lot like oregano physically but tastes thyme-like. In Za'atar dry dips, it dominates. Indeed, pretty much all that is in Za'atar is Za'atar, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and a bit of salt maybe. Dukkah comes from Gaza, or so they claim, and has no or very little Za'atar in it at all. The recipe you've posted is more like Dukkah. Either way, Yum.