Sukkah Dukkah and The Wandering Mind

I awoke with a craving for something bready and salty and nutty. But it was 3.30 am. What’s going on? The mind! Heat and cold, happiness and distress, hunger and satiation – these are all dualities of life. I remembered the famous phrase from Bhagavad-gita (you know the one – where Krishna recommends that we try to be equipoised in the face of happiness and distress).

Sukha means happiness in Sankrit. And Dukha means distress. Two sides of the same coin. I looked up the verse to remind myself of the exact wording, and voila! This olde blogge came to mind. Why is that, I wonder?

Stephanie Munsch from Boise, Idaho wrote me,
‘Dear Kurma,
Maybe you can help me. I was overseas recently and tasted a very interesting entree at a restaurant. It was a crumbly, nutty, sesame dippy stuff, served with bread and oil. Can you perhaps identify it for me?’


My reply:
Hello Stephanie!
Yes that sounds like the Egyptian spice, seed and nut blend called Dukkah. I have a recipe for it in my latest cookbook. Here it is. You might like to duplicate it at home. Very tasty and nutritious.

Happy cooking!

Egyptian Crumbly Spice & Nut Dip (Dukkah)

Dukkah is a loose, coarsely-ground mixture of sesame seeds, hazelnuts and aromatic cumin and coriander. It is delicious eaten on oil-dunked bread for breakfast, or as a snack. It has of late started appearing quite regularly on Western restaurant menus as an appetizer.

Variants of dukkah are found all over the Middle East, and this version is from Egypt. It is a very personal and individual mixture that varies from one family to another; hence no two versions are exactly the same.

The important thing to remember about dukkah is that it should be dry and crumbly. It is easy to over-grind the ingredients, especially the nuts, which makes the mixture too oily. To prevent this, cool the ingredients after roasting, then proceed slowly. Makes about 2½ cups.

½ cup hazelnuts,

¾ cup sesame seeds,

½ cup coriander seeds,

½ cup cumin seeds,

1 teaspoon salt,

½ teaspoon pepper,

olive oil and crusty bread for serving.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.

Roast the hazelnuts on an oven tray for about 15 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove them from the oven, and when a little cool, rub away as much of the brown skin from the nuts as you can.

Toast the sesame seeds in a heavy frying pan over moderate heat, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown and aromatic. Empty the toasted seeds into a bowl. Toast the coriander seeds in a similar manner for about 2-3 minutes. Repeat for the cumin, toasting for about 2 minutes.

Pound the seeds and nuts using a mortar and pestle, or whiz them in a spice or coffee grinder. The mixture should be dry and crumbly, not oily. Combine the crushed nuts and seeds with the salt and pepper.

Serve as a dip with olive oil and crusty bread.

Note: The mixture will keep in a sealed container for many weeks.

Wake Up!

good morning:

Hinrik from Reykjavik, Iceland wrote: “Hello Kurma, I remember you wrote one article where you said that the good time to get up in the morning according to yoga principles was an hour or so before sunrise.

Can you help me? Where is that article. I must say that sunrise times in Iceland are quite late at the moment – 9.15 am !! So I can sleep in without any problems.

My reply: Hello Hinrik, and thanks for your letter. Here is the link to my essay. I guess when you have your ‘midnight sun’ this could be a bit of an interesting challenge. Happy reading.

Mallacoota Rainbow

Last Saturday in Mallacoota, during a slightly rainy sunrise, as we arrived at the venue for my cookery weekend, a beautiful 7-tiered full rainbow, arched from horizon to horizon, appeared before our eyes. I had my camera, so here it is, preserved for blog antiquity. By the time I put my camera away, it was gone.

mallacoota rainbow:

“On Lord Krishna’s left foot, near the toes, there is a rainbow four fingers in length.”

Sri Krsna-sandarbha,

by Srila Jiva Goswami,

Anuccheda 82, Part Eight,

Sarva-samvadini Comment 82 (Part 3),

Text 6

The Juice of Life

Here’s some fresh greens from my garden, and some words of wisdom from the ulimate gardeners handbook.

spinach still life:

gam avisya ca bhutani

dharayamy aham ojasa

pusnami causadhih sarvah

somo bhutva rasatmakah

“I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.”

(Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Person, verse 13)

Mallacoota Meanderings

Tucked away on a beautiful inlet in far-east Gippsland is Mallacoota, a popular year-round coastal destination that enjoys Victoria’s warmest winter temperatures and cool ocean breezes in summer. Our double-header Mallacoota cookery workshops were held back-to-back last weekend.

a little less conversation and a bit more action:

I flew in on a tiny propeller plane, giving me some impressive views.

a little less conversation and a bit more action:

Poories for lunch: a special treat.

a little less conversation and a bit more action:

Matar Panir galore! I was never one to undercook.

a little less conversation and a bit more action:

Here’s our group from Saturday’s workshop. Special thanks to Tracy, (standing top row, far right, stripy blue apron, and husband Dean seated with red t-shirt, for making the weekend a reality.

The Story of the Porcupines

a little less conversation and a bit more action:

It was the coldest winter ever; many animals died because of the cold.
The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way
they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded
their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.

After a while they decided to distance themselves from each other and they
began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to
live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with
their companion. The most important part of it was the heat that came
from the others. This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.

A Kurma Xmas

Only nine shopping weeks to Christmas!
Why not gift your loved ones a Kurma cookbook or two!

book_qveg: book-cwk:

book-vwf: book_veg:

Or an 11-disc 20-hour Kurma TV cookery show DVD compendium.

Kurma's DVD:

I can autograph them for you, and post them to you anywhere in Australia.

Contact me now:

Brown Paper Packages Tied up With String…

You’re almost singing it aren’t you? No? Well you must be less than 40 years old. I do get asked about my favourite things, food-wise, quite often. A nicely cooked khichari for breakfast would have to be one of them.

A M wrote:

“I came upon your nice web site while doing a Google search. One thing I cook up quite often when I’m tired, or just in the mood for simple, good food is khichari.

I agree with what you say on your web site about it being one of the most economical, simple, and nutritious meals to prepare. But I am used to making khichari with rice and dal only. I have seen khichari made with lots of veggies. Could you send me a recipe?”

khichari ingredients:

My answer:

Well you know you can just add any vegies you like to khichari and it really shines. My favourites are peas, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, tomato, sweet potato spinach and my favourite, broccoli. Here’s a recipe of mine:

Hearty One-pot Melange of Mung Beans, Rice & Vegetables (Khichari)

Khichari (pronounced “kitch-eri”) is such an important dish for vegetarians that I have included a different recipe for it in each of my cookbooks. The flavoursome, juicy stew of mung beans, rice and vegetables is both nutritious and sustaining. It can be served anytime a one-pot meal is required You can practically live on khichari, and in fact, some people do. I eat it accompanied by a little yogurt, some whole-wheat toast, lemon or lime wedges and topped with a drizzle of melted ghee. Bliss! Serves 4-6.

½ cup split mung beans, washed and drained

6 cups water

1 bay leaf

1.5cm (½-inch) chunk ginger, chopped fine

1 small green chili, seeded and chopped

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1 cup Thai rice, or other long grain rice of your choice

1 packed cup each broccoli, potato cubes and quartered Brussels sprouts, or vegetables of your choice

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

1½ teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons ghee or oil

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

small handful curry leaves

½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder

½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

wedges of lemon, some chilled yogurt, and extra ghee for serving

Bring to a boil in a saucepan the mung beans, water, bay leaf, ginger, chili, turmeric and coriander, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the beans start to break up.

Add the rice, vegetables, tomatoes and salt, increase the heat, and stirring, bring to a boil, then return to a simmer, covered. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is soft.

Season: heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds, fry until a few shades darker, and add the curry leaves – careful, they crackle. Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder, swirl the pan and empty the fried seasonings into the khichari. Stir the seasonings through, then return to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the rice is fully swollen and soft. If you desire a moist khichari, add a little boiling water now.


Serve: fold in the fresh coriander, and serve the khichari piping hot with a drizzle of warm ghee, a big bowl of karhi and/ or the accompaniments suggested above.