Egyptian Spiced Carrot Puree

The Egyptian Spiced spice blend known as dukka includes toasted ground cumin, coriander and sesame seeds; Ana Sortun gives it a twist by adding toasted coconut. The carrot dish here is traditionally eaten by first dipping bread in oil and then in the dukka before spooning the puree on top. It's typical of North Africa;s qimia—a version of tapas or meze.

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  • Servings: 8

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  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds or hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons harissa (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Torn pita bread or thinly sliced baguette, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium skillet, toast the almonds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to cool, then finely chop. Add the coriander and cumin seeds to the skillet and toast, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool completely, then coarsely grind. In a medium bowl, mix the ground almonds with the spices.

  2. Add the sesame seeds to the skillet and toast over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer the sesame seeds to the spice grinder. Toast the coconut in the skillet over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to the grinder and let cool completely. Grind the sesame seeds and coconut to a coarse powder. Add to the almond-spice mixture and season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

  3. In a large saucepan, cover the carrots with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the carrots and return them to the saucepan. Cook for 30 seconds over medium heat to dry thoroughly. Remove from the heat and coarsely mash the carrots with a fork. Stir in the 6 tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar, <EM>harissa</EM>, ground cumin and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the carrot puree to a bowl and serve with torn pita, olive oil and the spice mix.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate the carrots and store the spice mixture at room temperature.


Harissa is a fiery Tunisian spice paste. It is available in jars and tubes at many specialty food shops. Adding all four teaspoons of harissa to this dip might make it too spicy for you, so mix it in gradually and taste as you go.

Serve With

Pita chips or slices of cucumber.

Contributed By Photo © Maura McEvoy Published August 2002

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