Duqqa: An Egyptian Gourmet Delight

duqqa300You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy Dakka or Duqqa, an Egyptian side dish consisting of crushed nuts, herbs and spices. There are many variations to this lovely side dish, but this particular recipe comes from The Union Square Cafe, courtesy of our good friend, Ginger B., who had the could sense to ask for it during a recent visit to USD.   It makes a lovely house-warming dish and is best served at room temperature with slices of bread or warmed pita bread.  Some of our friends will often use it to raise the taste profile of a grilled skinless chicken breast or farm-raised tilapia or catfish.  Even vegetarians are surprised that vegetables taste better when dipped in Duqqa.

Duqqa from Union Square Cafe


  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups toasted pistachios
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp chopped oregano
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary


  1. Roast the pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds separately. Lightly grind the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a food processor.
  2. Crush the pistachios with the side of a knife or a rolling pin and mix with the seeds.
  3. Dissolve the salt in the lemon juice and toss with the nut mix.
  4. Then toss the nut mixture with the fennel, coriander, and black pepper. Set aside.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan until just hot to the touch. Add the oregano and rosemary and stir til you hear it crackle.
  6. Immediately pour the oil over the nuts and mix evenly.
  7. Let the Duqqa cool to room temperature, then the wrap tightly and refrigerate.
  8. When serving allow the mixture to come to room temperature.

Used occasionally, this mixture should last three months or so.

Prime Rib Alert

I am pleased to announce that Thérèse and Trish “the Dish” have picked up the Christmas Day Prime Rib from our favorite local butcher and market, LaRocca’s Country Market.

Prime Rib

I have written extensively on best practices when it comes to preparing and cooking prime rib, so for those just getting started, please refer to previous Gourmay articles on the subject:

Now, I have been lobbying for quite some time to reverse the usual baking process by cooking the prime rib at 200° F until the internal temperature reaches 120°F and then crust the outside under high heat for about 8 minutes.  Thérèse sternly advises me that this is not going to happen this year – and perhaps never!

In any event, I will be priming the roast with a sea salt rub this evening and  then place the roast uncovered on a rack in the refrigerator for 48 hours.  This allows the excess fluids to be released to allow the surface of the roast to crisp better.   Before roasting on Christmas Day, we cover the roast with a mixture of flour, salt and pepper and that miracle of all spices, Fenugreek.   (Editor’s Note:  Prime Rib without a hint of Fenugreek is like Christmas without a Christmas tree).

For vegetarians and animal activists, we will also be serving roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

How to Peel Garlic

Taleggio Langston has shared his technique to peel garlic.  Actually, Martha got a head-start on the process, but  Gourmay readers are grateful to Langston for sharing his outstanding culinary abilities with our  Gringo readers.

P.S.  It’s amazing the skills you can pick up in prison for trading securities based on  Inside Information.  Women go to prison, but guys like Cohen buy a plea bargain for $1.8 billion.   Ummm….