heirloom & wild-grown dried fruits & nuts from Afghanistan

Vilda Gonzalez is a chef, recipe developer, and creative based in Charleston, SC. She is the co-founder of Dine Sol-Eir, a quarterly communal dinner series designed as a celebration of each passing season. Each dinner acts as an exploration of the impact of hospitality beyond the walls of a more traditional restaurant. Her work takes many forms, from cooking private dinners, to feeding big groups on retreat, developing recipes for brands, teaching cooking classes, and advocating for more sustainable local food systems, but the through line is constant: she believes that food should be delicious, flavorful, and indulgent, while also being deeply nourishing, sourced with integrity, and inherently healthful. Her mission is to rewire our collective relationship to what eating well truly means, through the lens of seasonality, sensuality, and intuitive home cooking. 

Photo: Lizzy Rollins
Photo: Lizzy Rollins

Vilda’s Pistachio and Apricot Kernel Dukkah Two Ways

Dukkah means ‘to crush’ or ‘to pound’ in Arabic, which is essentially what you’ll be doing to the nuts and seeds in this recipe. This particular dukkah, combining pistachios, aromatic apricot kernels, and the perfume of cardamom and rose, rides a fine line between savory and sweet – making it endlessly versatile. Enjoy tossed with delicate greens to add texture to a salad, sprinkle over labne, spice up some roasted carrots, submerge in olive oil and sop it up with warm flatbread. The beauty of this recipe, beyond its versatility, is its flexibility to become something altogether new with the simple addition of honey. This spice laden, honey sweetened condiment is amazing alongside yogurt and fresh citrus or with fresh cheese and crackers. 

For the pistachio and apricot kernel dukkah:

  • 1x 5oz bag Ziba toasted & salted apricot kernels, finely chopped 
  • 1x 5oz bag Ziba toasted & salted pistachios, finely chopped 
  • ¼ cup coriander seed, toasted
  • 2 tbsp fennel seed, toasted
  • 3 tbsp aleppo
  • 2 heaping tsp dried rose petals 
  • ¾ tsp ground cardamom 
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt 

For the almonds:

  • 1 cup pistachio and apricot kernel dukkah 
  • ¾ raw honey of your choosing 

For the pistachio and apricot kernel dukkah:

Crush the coriander seed, fennel seed, and rose petals in a mortar and pestle. You’re looking to break them down significantly, without turning them into a powder. Combine the crushed spices with the chopped nuts, aleppo, ground cardamom, and sea salt. Taste the mixture – it should be heady with spice, but delicate enough to not overwhelm your palate. There should be enough salt to wake up the flavors, and enough heat to make it all linger on your tongue. 

Store in an airtight container, and sprinkle over anything that needs an aromatic pop of texture and spice. If you’re only using little bits at a time, store the dukkah in the fridge to prolong the shelf life and vibrancy of flavor. 

For the dukkah honey:

Simply combine 1 cup of finished dukkah with ¾ cup of raw honey. Mix well to combine. You want to coat every nook and cranny of the nuts and spices; binding them into a thick, sticky condiment. Store in an airtight container.

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By working directly with family farms and village cooperatives to source true heirloom fruit and nut varieties, Ziba presents only the highest-quality agricultural products, many of which are grown wild.