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Nile Spice

From: Kathleen 
Sent: Monday, October 21, 2013 5:01 PM
Subject: A salt substitute called Nile Spice no longer made?

Uncle Phaedrus 

In the late 70s & early 80s(?) I used a spice blend called Nile Spice. The company makes Nile Spice instant 
cup-o-soup dishes now---very good ones---but they don't seem to make the spice blend anymore. I haven't found 
it anywhere in decades and have searched the web.

The stuff was so delicious you could eat it by itself. Great on everything. So good I still have an empty jar 
I saved to remind me to search for it.

I would *dearly* love to have a recipe to make my own. Do you by any chance remember it? Do you know if anyone 
knows what was in it?  Or how to find out?

It was the absolute best blended spice (and salt substitute) I've ever found.



Hi Kathleen,

The “Nile Spice” company was founded as a home business by Nadim Spahi in Seattle in 1984. That year, he took a table spice blend that his family had enjoyed in Egypt and made a deal with a health-food store to sell it. According to this article, it was a blend of “grounded sesame seeds, coriander and cumin”: Seattle Times
It caught on, and by 1986 he moved the business out of his home. When he added cup-of-soup type products to his line, it really took off, and he soon dropped the spice mix in favor of the soups. “Nile Spice” was bought in 1995 by Quaker Oats, and then sold again, to Hain/Celestial Seasoning in 1998.

Their product line now apparently consists only of soup and cous cous mixes: Nile Spice

Other than the statement above, that “Nile Spice” was an “Egyptian table spice blend” and that it was a blend of “grounded sesame seeds, coriander and cumin,” I could not find any recipes or details of how to make it at home. However, it is very similar to, and may be a variety of, “dukka” or "duqqa.” Dukka usually has nuts or chickpeas as a base, with pepper, coriander, cumin and sesame seeds. The ingredients are ground together until the texture is that of a coarse powder. “Dukka” ingredients vary a lot from country to country and from family to family, but the basic ingredients seem to be nuts or chickpeas, coriander, cumin, and sesame seeds. See the information and recipes here: Dukkah

There is another popular and similar Middle Eastern spice blend called “zahtar” or “za’atar”. This one seems to be based on thyme, in addition to other ingredients. See: Zaatar - Duqqa

In order to duplicate “Nile Spice”, you may have to experiment. I’d start with the ingredients we know: coriander, cumin and ground sesame seeds. Then add pepper and chickpeas or nuts, etc. until it tastes right. You might look in specialty shops for commercial versions of “dukka” or “duqqa” and try those.

I’ll post this in case a reader can help.


Years ago I worked with a woman from Egypt and she gave me her recipe for Dukkah.

She claimed that in Egypt it was used on everything. It can be serve with olive oil for dipping bread or 
mixed with pureed carrots for added flavor. Dukkah has many variations such as with or without nuts and 
can contain other ingredients such as marjoram, mint, zataar, nigella, millet flour, dried coconut, 
dried cheese and chickpeas to name a few. Below is a basic recipe for dukkah and one for coating fish or chicken.     

Timm in Oregon



2/3 cup hazelnuts or almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon sea salt


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add hazelnuts and toast stirring often until browned. 
Place the nuts in a dish towel and rub together to remove the skins; set aside.

Place the sesame seeds in the hot skillet and toast until golden, stirring often; set aside.

Place the coriander, cumin, fennel, and thyme in the hot skillet. Toast until fragrant and beginning to darken. 
Remove from heat.

Place the toasted hazelnuts in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until coarse. 
Remove to a medium size bowl. Add the toasted spices to the spice grinder or mortar and pestle and 
grind until coarse. Stir into the hazelnuts; mix in the toasted sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper.
Dukkah with Chickpea Flour


1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup lightly toasted unsalted peanuts
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 teaspoons lightly toasted dill seeds, optional
1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 teaspoons sumac


In a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, toast the chickpea flour while stirring constantly or shaking the pan, 
just until it begins to smell toasty and darken slightly. Transfer immediately to a bowl.

Finely chop the peanuts and add to the bowl with the chickpea flour. One at a time, heat the coriander seeds, 
caraway seeds, dill seeds and sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, shaking the pan or stirring constantly, 
just until each is fragrant and beginning to smell toasty. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.

Working in batches, combine the coriander seeds, caraway seeds and dill seeds in a spice mill and grind to a powder. 
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sesame seeds, salt, cayenne and sumac. Yield: About 1 cup. Use to coat fish or 
chicken fillets for frying.

Konditori's Pastry

-----Original Message----- 
From: Miriam 
Sent: Saturday, October 19, 2013 10:20 PM
Subject: Konditori's Meringue, Whipped Cream, fresh Strawberries and 
Pineapple pastry

Growing up, as a treat, my mom would take me to the Konditori in Pasadena, 
California on South Lake Ave. for breakfast, when I would have their 
wonderful thin Swedish pancakes with lingon berries, or for lunch when I 
would have one of their beautiful open-faced sandwiches followed by the most 
delicious dessert afterwards consisting of a crisp light meringue base 
filled with whipped cream into which had been folded fresh strawberries and 
tiny pineapple chunks.  I can lo longer remember the name of the dessert, 
and I imagine it would be easy enough to reconstruct, but I would love to 
know the name of it!  Please help.  :o)



Hi Miriam,

I had little success finding much about Konditori in Pasadena or about their desserts. I found that there are Swedish Coffee Shops with that name in many places, including NYC and Brooklyn and in Europe. I was able to find menus from the ones in New York, but they did not list a dessert fitting your description. See: Konditori NYC
They list "kanel bulle" and "mazarin," but neither of those is like your description. With so many places called "Konditori", I thought it might be a chain, but that's not at all a certainty because in Swedish, "konditori" simply means "coffee shop" or "bakery" or "café." In the few reviews and message board discussions of "Konditori" in Pasadena, I found no mention of the pastry that you describe. Most of the discussion was about the pancakes. I searched for any Swedish pastry fitting your description, but I came up empty.

All I can do is post this on my site in the hope that one of my readers knows this pastry and will send the name.


Swiss Chalet Dipping Sauce

From: Linda 
Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2013 2:37 PM
Subject: Swiss Chalet, Buffalo, NY Chicken Dipping Sauce

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,

I recently came upon your website.  I'd be so happy if you could find this recipe:

Long ago, in the 1960's, when I was a college student at Buffalo State, my classmates and I used to frequent a little chicken house 
called the Swiss Chalet in downtown Buffalo.  Not only was their chicken tasty, tender and juicy, but they served it with a dipping 
sauce that was out of this world. ! !   It was a little sweet, a little salty and full of flavor.  I still remember its fabulous 
deliciousness and crave it  to this day!

It was NOT a BBQ sauce and did not have a catsup or tomato base.  Not as thick as catsup or thin as broth, altho it seemed to have a 
chicken broth base. It was light brown, rather like a highly-flavored, slightly sweet, thin gravy.  Whatever its makeup, I have never 
tasted another like it.

That original restaurant is long-gone. Another named Swiss Chalet is in the Buffalo area, but I don't think they have a connection.  
My daughter, traveling through Buffalo a few years ago, and remembering my glowing remembrances of that lovely sauce, stopped in 
and bought me a jar.  It was NOT the same sauce......this was a spicy, kind of sour red sauce.  .....NOT the Swiss Chalet chicken 
dipping sauce of long ago.

I'm still alive....hopefully someone from the original little Swiss Chalet is still around also, and perhaps has privy to 
its secret.   What a shame if that delectable sauce is gone forever!

Many thanks for your wonderful endeavors.

Yours truly,

Hello Linda,

“Swiss Chalet Restaurants” have been in business since 1954. They are a Canadian chain, based in Toronto. They had a few restaurants in the US, but they have closed all of them. The last two were in Amherst and Depew, in the Buffalo area. At one time they had up to 4 stores in the Buffalo area, including 1551 Niagara Falls Blvd in Amherst, 5205 Transit Road in Clarence, and 4757 Transit Road in Depew. There appears to have been one on Main Street, in the former Laube’s Old Spain space, according to a message board post.
Their website is here: Swiss Chalet
There is a Facebook page about the sauce here: Chalet Sauce
There is an article about them here: Buffalo News

Linda, I did not find any indication that the last Swiss Chalets in Buffalo were any different from the ones that were there in the 1960s. There does not appear to be any Swiss Chalet Restaurant in Buffalo now. I also did not find any indication that their dipping sauce had been changed since the 1960s. If it had, I would have expected to find complaints that it didn’t taste the same, and I found none. I’m not saying that it didn’t change, but I found no indication that they had changed it. All of the mentions and recipes that I found just said “Swiss Chalet Dipping Sauce”. None made any distinction between “old” and “new”, or “original” and “new”.

You can buy the sauce, or packets of mix to make the sauce, online at these sites:

Buffalo Foods


There is a recipe on my site that I posted in 2002: 02/13/02

There is a recipe that was published in the Toronto Star years ago here:

There is yet another recipe here: Badger and Blade

All of these recipes have chicken bouillon as an ingredient. However, they also have some form of tomato - two have tomato juice and one has ketchup. The tomato product in these recipes appears to be the source of the red color.


Cushman's Bakery Chocolate Layer Cake

-----Original Message----- 
From: nancy
Sent: Sunday, October 20, 2013 10:49 PM
Subject: Cushman bakery

Is there recipe for Cushman's Chocolate Layer Cake?

When I was a 'kid' in the late 1930's I couldn't wait for that treat after 


Hi Nancy,

Sorry, no success with this recipe. In the years that I have been doing this, the only Cushman's Bakery recipe that I have ever found is their Scotch Cookies.


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