Dukkah and Zahtar (Za’atar, Zaatar)

Imagine a piece of bread dipped in lovely golden olive oil, then into a bowl of ground nuts, spices, lentils and seeds.

Imagine a piece of bread dipped in lovely golden olive oil. Then, dripping still, is dipped in a bowl of ground nuts, spices, lentils and seeds. The wonderful aromas. The extraordinary flavours. Popped right into your mouth. Over a cup of coffee. For breakfast.

This mix is Middle Eastern in origin, where it is served at breakfast with bread. One takes a piece of bread, dips it first into a bowl of very good olive oil and then into the mix and then eaten.

Dukkah is a real textural treat, blended from nuts such as pistachio, hazelnut or almond with spices such as cumin, toasted sesame and coriander seeds.

In Australia it is quite popular to serve with drinks before a meal. But it is perfect at any time. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. As a salad topping. Sprinkled over roast or steamed vegetables. Sprinkled over soups. Covering bread dipped in olive oil. Divine. For vegetarians it adds a little protein via the sesame seeds and chick peas.

By contrast, Za’atar is a herbaceous mix of thyme and oregano, sometimes marjoram, that is grounded by toasted sesame seeds and lifted by sumac. It’s brilliant sprinkled over homemade hummus, mixed with olive oil for a paste that you can slather over Lebanese bread and used in baked vegetables and salads.

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