Dukkah/Duqqa/Du’ah (dook-ah) is an Egyptian spice mixture containing a variety of spices and ground nuts. In Egypt, it’s usually used along with bread and oil. A piece of bread is first dipped in oil, then in a bowl of dukkah. It’s also used to crust meat and fish. Spice markets sell small paper cones of dukkah, and it varies from vendor to vendor. Typical mixes contain cumin, caraway seed, and coriander, as well as nuts like hazelnuts, pistachios, or almonds and also sesame seeds. I have listed spices and nuts that can be used to so you can experiment and make a mixture of your own. I have also included the dukkah I made for this recipe.
For this recipe, I coated wild striper fillets with Dukkah and seared it in a pan with a little vegetable oil. Then I served it with a recipe I adapted from Chef Marc Forgione, called “Sauce Proposal.” He said he named this sauce such, when a customer in his restaurant said the sauce was so good, she asked to marry him. Another name for the sauce is a “Caper Raisin Emulsion.” This sauce starts out by making a “brown butter” or also called a “beurre noisette.” It’s made by slowly heating a stick of butter and allowing the milk solids in the butter to begin to brown, leaving a wonderful hazelnut flavor to it. After it’s made, the browned butter is cooled. The second part of the sauce is made by bringing lime juice and low-sodium soy sauce to a boil, and adding a few tablespoons cold butter, while whisking to make an emulsion. Then the brown butter is added and pureed along with capers and raisins using a blender, or stick blender.
After I made Chef Forgione’s sauce, I felt it was a bit too tangy for me, so I added a few fresh dates to counter balance the tanginess. This sauce is very intense on its own, but paired with the dukkah spice crusted striper, it works perfectly. This sauce is quite an unusual one, and I’ve concluded you’ll either love it or hate it. There is no in between with this sauce. And Danny and I LOVED IT!!
Various ingredients you can choose to create your own Dukkah:
Whole Black Peppercorns
Whole Cloves (just a couple)
Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 cup Whole Almonds
- 4 Tbs. Sesame Seeds
- 2 Tbs. Whole Coriander
- 2 Tbs. Whole Cumin Seed
- 1 Tbs. Whole Fennel Seed
- 2 Whole Cloves
- 1 Tbs. Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1-1/2 Tbs. Kosher salt
- 1 Tbs. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 Tbs. Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Chili Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- 1 tbs. Marjoram
- 1-1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, separated into 1 stick and a 1/2 stick
- 1/2 cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- 1/3 cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbs. Non-Pareil Capers
- 2 Tbs. Golden Raisins
- 4 Fresh Dates, pitted
- 1-1/2 pounds Striper Fillets
- 1 Egg White
- 3-4 Tbs. of Dukkah Spice
- Vegetable Oil, for frying
- Toast the whole spices in a small sauté pan over medium high heat for about 3 minutes, swirling often (this releases the oils in the spices), then set aside to cool.
- While the spices are cooling, add the nuts to a food processor, or spice grinder, and process until a powdery result (careful not to over process, since the oils will start to make the nuts pasty).
- Add the toasted spices to a mortar and pestle, or the spice grinder and grind just until a course grind.
- Add all the remaining spices, herbs and ground nuts, seeds to a bowl.
- Use to coat the fish, and reserve any extra for dipping breads, or coating other meat.
- Remove the pits from the fresh dates and dice into small pieces, and set aside.
- Place one whole stick of un-salted butter in a frying pan and begin to heat over medium heat.
- Swirl the pan from time to time to allow the milk solids to “toast” and begin to turn brown, about 10 minutes.
- Watch carefully so the butter doesn’t burn, you just want a nice toast color on it (the butter will begin to smell like toasted hazelnuts!).
- Once the butter is browned, pour it into a measuring cup and set aside to cool (the milk solids will settle into the bottom).
- In a small sauce pot, add the lime juice and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining 1/2 stick of butter, and keep whisking to create and “emulsion.”
- Once the sauce is ready, pour it into a blender, or use a stick blender to begin emulsifying the sauce, and add the cooled brown butter in a steady stream.
- Add the diced dates and continue to puree the sauce.
- Once the sauce is thickened (add a little water if it becomes too thick), turn off the blender and add the capers and raisins.
- Keep the sauce warm by placing it in an insulated mug or in a small sauce pot over very low heat (heating it too high will cause the sauce to separate and will be unusable).
- Serve with the fish.
- Whip the egg white in a bowl and set aside.
- Pour some dukkah spice mixture on a dinner plate and spread it out.
- Pat the striper fillets with a paper towel to dry.
- Brush the fish with egg white then lay the fillets on top of the dukkah to coat the fish (it’s not necessary to completely coat the fish), press down gently on the fish so the dukkah sticks to it.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high with enough oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan.
- Place the fillets in the oil, and sear on both sides until browned, about 90 seconds per side.
- Remove and serve with the sauce.
- *Extra Dukkah Spice can be used for coating other meats, or as a dipping spice for bread and oil.
- I made roasted bell pepper couscous to serve with the fish and sauce, but you can make any side dish.