This is an Egyptian blend of nuts, seeds and spices, traditionally eaten with pita bread dipped first in good fruity olive oil. Pepper adds its fragrant pungency and also rounds out the other flavours. The mixture should be loose and dry rather than a paste, so be careful not to over-process the nuts. They can become oily if ground too finely.


  • shelled pistachio nuts 4 tbsp
  • hazelnuts 3 tbsp
  • sesame seeds 8 tbsp
  • coriander seeds 5 tbsp
  • cumin seeds 3 tbsp
  • black peppercorns 1–2 tsp, freshly ground
  • fine sea salt 1 tsp, or more to taste


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Place the pistachios and hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes or until brown and the skins are flaking off. Roll in a clean tea towel to remove all the skins. Roughly chop, then grind coarsely in a food processor.

Dry-fry the seeds separately in a heavy-based pan – just enough to darken them slightly but without burning. Once cool, grind to a coarse powder in a food processor.

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.