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September 2002 BOSTON

Egyptian Spiced Carrot Puree
Ana Sortun, Oleana-Cambridge, MA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 8 Servings

This Egyptian spice blend is known as dukkah. This dish, which is traditionally eaten by first dipping bread in olive oil and then in the dukkah before spooning the spiced carrot puree on top, is a typical example of North African dishes known as kemya-that region's version of tapas or mezze.

Sortun adds her own twist by including toasted coconut to the mix.


  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 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
  • Pita bread or thinly sliced baguette, for serving

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.

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

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 the olive oil, vinegar, harissa, 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 carrots can be prepared through Step 3 two days ahead. Refrigerate the carrots and store the spice mix at room temperature.

Harissa is a fiery hot Tunisian spice paste. It is available in jars and tubes at Middle Eastern markets and many specialty food shops.

Wine Suggestion:
2000 Vernaccia, Baronini,Tuscany