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Middle Eastern friends introduced me to Palestinian-style dukkah, which is based on wheat berries rather than on the nuts used in Egyptian-style dukkah. While some of the recipes I've tried at home get close, none achieves the long, savory finish of the first dukkah I tasted. In fact, the label for that product clearly does not identify all of the ingredients, as I can taste a tangy flavor that is not represented by any of the listed ingredients.

Wondering if a particular sea salt might be the champion and, after reading other salt-spice-umami posts on this forum, I see that there are "sea salt" products on the market which add porcini, black garlic, kelp or "vegetable extract."

I'm hoping a reader familiar with Palestinian cuisine can get me over the flavor finish line.

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  • what were the ingredients listed for the original product?
    – Esther
    Commented Apr 8 at 20:58
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    Tangy is usually used in the sense of sour/acidic - is this what you are tasting? If so, it might be sumac or lemon salt. Can you please add the ingredients list for the product and a list for the recipe you tried.
    – bob1
    Commented Apr 9 at 0:43
  • Original product ingredients: wheat, sesame, salt, anise, cumin. I agree that the tangy flavor comes from sumac berry and/or citric acid, neither of which is listed as an ingredient. Also, the color is much more red than my home-made attempts, which I have approached by adding Aleppo pepper flakes. Because anise is listed before cumin, anise flavor should be pronounced, but the cumin flavor is much more evident.
    – Brian K1LI
    Commented Apr 9 at 0:57
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    Are you certain it's umami that you're missing? Supermarket spices are frequently low-quality and have a bland, washed-out taste, similar to supermarket fruit and vegetables. If the original is made with well-grown spices and yours isn't, the original will certainly have a stronger and richer flavor.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 9 at 6:47
  • Thanks for the suggestion... I learned, long ago, that supermarket spices are higher priced and lower quality than every other source. I buy spices from local ethnic markets and, in a pinch (get it, spices, in a "pinch?") online.
    – Brian K1LI
    Commented Apr 9 at 21:49

1 Answer 1

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After more research and testing, I believe the answer is: ground, toasted caraway seed. In addition to enhancing the salty character of the spice mixture, it gives all of the flavors a longer finish on the palate. This result surprises me because the caraway flavor is so different from the un-toasted caraway used in seeded rye bread or some northeastern Indian dishes.

My DIY version is, now, acceptably close to the original I enjoyed so much.

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    I wonder if there's a translation error there - caraway is quite similar in appearance to cumin and is even called "Persian cumin" sometimes. With both anise and caraway I would expect a strongish flavour of anise in there, which makes me think it might be some sort of error on the translators' part
    – bob1
    Commented Apr 10 at 2:00
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    I have encountered this problem with other spice blends, e.g., za'atar referring to thyme as oregano. In this case, I suspect caraway may have been translated as anise, as there's nearly no anise flavor but the cumin flavor and aroma are pronounced.
    – Brian K1LI
    Commented Apr 10 at 12:27

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