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Today's Case

Nile Spice Revisited

On 9/8/2021 6:08 PM, Marj wrote:

I’ve been searching for years for Nile Spice. I discovered it when living 
in Portland, Oregon in the late 80’s and early 90’s at a health food store. 
It made the BEST stir fry. 

In my search I finally found your article 11-11-2013 
that told the story about what happened. 
It’s disappointing, as it was SO GOOD!

My question is have you’ve found anything that’s close to it? If you have 
I would be all over purchasing it. 

Hi Marj,

The problem with "Nile Spice" is in finding out exactly what it is. Dozens of links on the web lead to a line of products - mostly soup mixes - that are made by a company named "Nile Spice". 

However,  you and Kathleen are not talking about soup mix. You are talking about a spice blend called "Nile Spice", and it is unclear to me exactly what that spice blend is and what its actual name is. The original articles about Nadim Spahl's "Nile Spice" only give three ingredients: ground sesame seeds, cumin, and coriander.

There is a company in Australia that sells a spice blend with the name "Nile Spice". They have a website here: Free Range Butcher. The product that they sell is made by something called "Herbistry", which also has a website at: Herbistry. The ingredients listed for this product are:

  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Sumac
  • Cumin
  • Cyan Pepper
  • Lemon Zest
  • Coriander
The problems with this product are twofold: I have no idea if it is the same product you had before, and the websites do not indicate whether they ship outside of Australia. You can contact them and find out. Their contact information is on their website and below.

Another link for "Nile Spice" leads to this website: A Bread A Day However, the spice mixture used there is called "dukka". The term "Nile Spice" is not mentioned. There is a recipe given, called "dukka", and the ingredients given for "dukka" are:

  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, toasted
  • 5 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons nigella seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (hot or sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
That's quite different from the ingredients given for "Nile Spice" on the "Free Range Butcher"/ Herbistry" site.

Searching for "Nile Spice" also produces a link on another page of that same site, Dabo Kolo This page gives a recipe for "Dabo Kolo", which includes a recipe for an Ethiopian spice mixture called "Berberé". It also does not mention "Nile Spice" anywhere on the page, so again, there is nor indication of why the search engine link goes to that page. The ingredients given for "Berberé" are:

Ethiopian Spice - Berberé

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup dried chiles
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole fenugreek
  • 6 pods cardamom (1/2 teaspoon ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1.  In a spice (or coffee) grinder, combine the dried chiles, red pepper flakes, fenugreek, cardamom, coriander, cumin, and peppercorns.  Grind until finely ground.  Transfer to a bowl.

2.  Add remaining spices to mixture in bowl, and whisk to combine.  Keep in an airtight container.

That's also quite different from the ingredients given for "Nile Spice" on the "Free Range Butcher"/Herbistry" site. So, there is no reason to believe that "Nile Spice" is the same thing as either this "dukka" or this "Berberé".

There is a company called "Nile Herbs", but there is no indication that it sells a product called "Nile Spice". See: Nile Herbs

The company called "Nile Spice Company", originally owned by Nadim Spahi, dropped the spices in favor of the soup mixes, was bought by Quaker, and then was sold to "Hain Foods". It does not appear to currently make a spice mixture called "Nile Spice", nor does Hain Foods have a product by that name.

I'm afraid that your choices appear to be very few. You could attempt to locate Nadim Spahi and ask him directly how to make "Nile Spice." You could experiment with ground sesame seeds, cumin, and coriander to see if you can duplicate the product. Finally, you could contact  Free Range Butcher and ask them about purchasing their "Nile Spice" product. It might be the same or similar. "The Herbistry" also has a website at: Herbistry
Herbistry sells their "Nile Spice" and other spice mixtures from this page:Spice Blends

Contact information for Free Range Butcher: Email:
Phone: 1300 379 243
Contact information for Herbistry:

I hope that something in all of this is helpful to you.


On 9/9/2021 8:09 AM, Marj wrote

It IS helpful.  I was glad when I found your original article that I'm not 
alone in missing it and searching for it. It sure was wonderful. I'm going 
to follow your leads and do some more research.  So thank you very much.

Hi Marj,

If you do a Google search for "Egyptian spice blend", you will get a lot of hits for a spice blend called "dukkah".  If you then search for "dukkah" recipes, then you will find a lot of recipes for a spice blend containing ground sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin plus other ingredients. I feel sure that the "Nile spice" we're looking for is some form of "dukkah". The problem is that every "dukkah" recipe that I find is different - each one contains ground sesame seeds, coriander, and cumin, but each one contains other ingredients as well, and those other ingredients are different in each recipe. Also, one of the main ingredients in all of these recipes is some kind of nuts - hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc, even peanuts in one of them. Without knowing which kind of nuts and which other extra ingredients were in that "Nile spice", I cannot narrow it down any further. The recipe may be different for different Egyptian families.

I think that perhaps the only way to find out the exact ingredients of "Nile spice" is to locate Nadim Spahi or someone who worked with him and ask them directly.

Barring that, you can try different dukkah recipes and see which tastes similar to the "Nile Spice" that you remember.

There is another Dukkah recipe, with fewer ingredients, here: Dukkah


Thank you for this.  It's exactly what I found too.  After I saw in your article 
what happened to "Nile Spice" I started down the investigation road.  First, just 
to be sure, I googled which country the Nile River runs through.  Egypt.  So I 
googled Egyptian seasonings and ended up going down the road of Dukkah seasoning.  
Every recipe I looked at was significantly different from each other.  I looked 
and looked trying to find one that has the ingredients as close as possible to 
the ones you listed. Several that I found have those core ingredients plus a bunch 
more. I'm guessing that "less is more" as the saying goes, and the original 
"Nile Spice" was likely less in ingredients.  I did end up ordering off of Amazon 
a Dukkah Spice made by Burma Spice.  It just arrived yesterday and I'm anxious to 
try it out to see just how close it is.  At least it has all of the core ingredients.

I'm going to see if I can track down Nadim Spahi. That's my next investigative challenge.  

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