Tuesday dinner: Dukkah-crusted chicken

IMG_1600Dukkah was a new word to me when I found Aida Mollenkamp‘s recipe on Chow. My exposure to Middle Eastern cuisine has been the menus at King David’s and the long-shuttered Hana on Erie Boulevard East. The recipe looked great and the flavors intrigued me, but dukkah was nowhere to be found in Syracuse. Most internet-based spice shops charge an arm and a leg for a small amount and I loathe paying for shipping (I’m an Amazon Prime snob). I could have made my own, but didn’t want to make the investment on something that might have been a loser.

(Side note: There is one full-line Middle Eastern grocery in town that probably has it, but I was treated so poorly the last time I was in there that I won’t return or bother to mention the store’s name.)

IMG_1595Two weeks ago, our family trip to the National Museum of Play in Rochester included a side trip to the Trader Joe’s in Pittsford. There, among the other spices I was loading into my cart, was a small, round 3.3-ounce jar of dukkah for $2.99.

We had a winner.

IMG_1594So, what’s dukkah? Good question. It’s a nut and seed blend with origins in Egypt that is used as a flavoring for bread and oil. You traditionally dunk a piece of crusty bread into olive oil, then into the dukkah, and eat it. I can see the appeal. I opted for its more modern use as a crust for meat. Trader Joe’s mixes almonds, sesame seeds, fennel seed, salt, coriander and anise seed. Other blends will incorporate ingredients like peanuts, cumin and pistachios (for instance, Chow’s version uses five ingredients, including blanched almonds and pistachios).

For dinner tonight, I served Mollenkamp’s Dukkah chicken sans skewers and dipping sauce, with warm pita, tzatziki and kalamata olives.

WHAT WORKED: The dukkah, naturally. It was a new flavor for us here and one that I think we’ll use in the future.

WHAT DIDN’T: The dijon mustard. Next time around, I want to try and find a better way to bind the dukkah to the meat. While I like mustard, it overpowered.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: I don’t remember, specifically, but she approved.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes. And I think I’m going to try and make my own once I run out of my TJ’s supply.

Dukkah-crusted chicken
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp/Chow

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken tenderloins or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
  • 1 cup Dukkah
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

IMG_1593Combine mustard and olive oil in a shallow bowl and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss chicken in mustard mixture until well coated. Combine dukkah and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a wide, shallow dish and mix thoroughly. Roll each tender in the dukkah mix until well coated.

Bake chicken on a lined baking sheet until the meat is firm and the dukkah crust is golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.

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