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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – April 2015

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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Box

RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch custom spice blends (and recipes that utilize them).

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Inside

The spices are shipped via USPS in a kraft sleeve.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Kraft

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Contents

The Subscription: RawSpiceBar

The Cost: $6 per month with free shipping

The Products: 3-4 freshly ground spice blends from one geography or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 8-12 people

Ships to: US and Canada

Check out our other RawSpiceBar Reviews or visit the Food Subscription Box Directory for more food boxes!

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Card

Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment features spice blends from Tokyo, Japan.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Letter

This month’s shipment celebrates springtime in Japan. The featured recipes are: Shichimi Togarashi Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Spicy Gomasio & Avocado Soba Noodles, and Matcha & Chia Mochi.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Shichimi

Shichimi Togarashi- .4 oz

According to the information on the spice packet, this spice’s name literally translates to “seven flavor chile pepper.” It dates back to the 1600’s and is used to bring out the clean, simple flavors of Japanese cooking. It’s a mix of black peppercorns, ground red chiles, orange peel, nori, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, ginger, and garlic.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Gomasio

Spicy Gomasio- .4 oz

Gomasio is a popular Japanese condiment that consists of toasted black & white sesame seeds, sea salt, and chiles. It can be used to season edamame, greens, eggs, noodles, or even as a crust for fish.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Matcha

Matcha & Chia- .5 oz

Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder. For this spice blend, RawSpiceBar has combined it with ground, toasted chia seeds.

I was so excited to see that this month’s featured spice route is Japan! When I think of Japanese cuisine, I think of light, simple dishes, which is exactly what I’ve been craving now that spring is here.

Recipe #1- Shichimi Togarashi Grilled Pork Tenderloin

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - PorkRecipe

My husband loves pork tenderloin, so I couldn’t wait to try out this dish on him. The full recipe called for two tenderloins (enough to feed 8-10 people), but I decided to cut it down so it would be an appropriate amount of food for two.

First, I made the marinade by mixing mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, lime juice, and salt.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Marinade

I poured it into a ziplock bag with the pork and left it to marinate in the fridge for about 6 hours.

When it was time for dinner, I allowed the pork to come up to room temperature. The recipe suggested grilling the meat, but it was a little rainy the night I cooked, so I decided to broil the meat instead. I placed the tenderloin on a cooking sheet, and broiled the meat for 2 minutes on each side until it started to char.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Pork Char

The internal temperature hadn’t yet reached the target temperature (140 degrees), so I turned on the oven and allowed the pork to bake the rest of the way.

When the internal temperature reached 140 degrees, I removed the meat from the oven and allowed it to rest for 10 minutes. I then sliced it into medallions.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Sliced Pork

The pork was incredible. It was tender, juicy, and the Shichimi Togarashi added a lovely, earthy spice.

Recipe #2- Spicy Gomasio & Avocado Soba Noodles

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Soba Recipe

In a large bowl, I mixed together grated carrot, chopped cucumber, and thinly sliced radishes. I topped all of this with the Spicy Gomasio.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Veggies Gomasio

Since this was a recipe for chilled noodle salad, I cooked the noodles and then ran them under cold water until they were cool. I mixed them into the veggies and poured over a dressing of soy sauce, sesame oil, lime, rice wine vinegar, and a crushed clove of garlic. I tossed everything together and topped the dish with sliced avocado.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Avocado Soba

This noodle salad was delicious and definitely one of the tastiest RawSpiceBar recipes I’ve tried so far. The fresh, crisp veggies helped lighten this dish, and I loved how the tangy dressing cut through the richness of the pork. The spices really pushed this dish over the edge, though. The sesame seeds added a nice nuttiness, and the salty and spicy flavors of the Gomasio were fantastic.

Recipe #3- Matcha & Chia Mochi

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Mochi Recipe

I don’t have a lot of experience baking Japanese desserts, and the only Mochi I’ve had is the ice cream variety, so I didn’t really know what to expect from this dish. (RawSpiceBar doesn’t include photos on their recipe cards, so sometimes I’m not sure exactly what I’m making until it’s in front of me.)

The directions for this cake were very straightforward. I mixed together all of the dry ingredients in one bowl (rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and the Matcha & Chia packet) and the wet ingredients in another (eggs, vanilla, coconut milk, and melted butter).

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Mochi Ingredients

I then mixed the two together and poured into an oiled cake pan.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Mochi Batter

The cake baked at 350 for about 35 minutes.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Mochi Baked

When it was cool, I sliced it and served it alongside sliced mango. (RawSpiceBar suggested serving it topped with powdered sugar, but I thought the addition of fresh fruit would be a nice way to keep it from feeling too heavy.)

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review - April 2015 - Mochi Mango

The cake was amazing. The coconut milk added a lovely richness, and I thought the green tea and vanilla flavors were great. Texturally, it was moist and spongy. I will definitely be making this cake again soon.

Verdict: This might be my favorite shipment from RawSpiceBar yet! I thought the recipes were perfect for spring, and I loved the entire meal I made with this month’s Japanese spices. My only problem with this subscription is that they don’t yet sell their spices online- if they did, I would definitely buy more every month! Usually, I find the difficulty level of the RawSpiceBar recipes to be fairly high (which is something to consider if you’re interested in subscribing), but this month the recipes were a little easier. The last couple of shipments included recipes for slowly cooked stews and braises, and I’m happy to see that RawSpiceBar is lightening things up now that spring is here. If you’re looking for a way to add variety and inspiration to your home cooking, I would definitely recommend RawSpiceBar. I think it’s a great subscription for adventurous cooks looking to try something new!

What did you think of this month’s RawSpiceBar?

Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker by day and a subscription box junkie by night. She first subscribed to Birchbox in 2013 and her addiction grew when she signed up for Graze, PopSugar, and Knoshy. Her favorite part about being a subscription box addict is discovering new products- especially gourmet goodies, beauty products, and kitchen tools!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

36 Comments

  1. I finally got around to using April’s spices tonight. I battered some tofu in panko (recipe I found on a blog) to use the Shichimi Togarashi since I’m a vegetarian. Everything turned out really well.

  2. Email them and ask about getting these spices. I subbed in mid April and emailed about receiving the March spices. They emailed back promptly and were able to send them in addition to the April spices.

    • I still have yet to receive my April Spices. Is anyone else’s shipment late? I was going to send it to someone on here and I feel bad that I still don’t have it.

      • Stacey – That’s okay:) I’m waiting patiently:)

        • Oh good! I haven’t forgotten you! 🙂

  3. This looks awesome! I really wish they did 3 month gift subscriptions. That would be perfect for teacher gifts this time of year, or for all my girlfriends!

  4. First month for me, and I also cooked everything the day after I received this. I really am disappointed. I’m glad I only signed up for 3 months.

    Disclaimer: I consider myself an above average home cook who really likes to experiment, so I was really hoping for some recipes that would push me into new territory. These didn’t.

    The pork: I have a staple dish in my arsenal that is pork tenderloin marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little sake. So the included recipe really didn’t take me out of my wheelhouse. Soy sauce + salt really is not necessary, and I felt really covered up the pepper flavor in the included spice.
    The soba noodles: I enjoyed this dish, but it really was a simple vinaigrette. Again with the soy sauce. I love it, but it really is a very noticeable ingredient. Luckily, the blend for this is just basically sea salt and sesame seeds, so it didn’t really hide, but I would have made this with a lighter hand so the blend had an opportunity to shine.
    The dessert: I am not a dessert person, and my husband does not like matcha, so this is one of those times I was not happy that the recipe scales to 8. I did half it, and made sure that I weighed the spice to make sure I was getting 1/2, since RawSpiceBar doesn’t provide measurements. I don’t think I got enough chia in mine, because it didn’t setup right. This one is on me, but I wish RawSpiceBar made things a little easier for people who don’t want to feed an army.

  5. I love this sub. Sadly my subscription ran out this month. When I get enough money I am going to resubscribe. My only wish is that they had some sort of way to customize, for example, I have a very sensitive mouth and cannot tolerate lots if heat or salt. While they dont send out too many salty blends, most of their blends have chilies or hot pepper in them. This makes me concerned about using them and results in my passing at least half of what I received to my son-in-law. I reached out to customer service and recommended that they have some sort of matching program and was sent a reply stating that basically that it’s a good idea and they will try to figure out how to do it.

  6. Is there a way to order full-size versions of the spices they send that you like? I’m not seeing a link on their website to do so.

    • Hi, Stephanie! RawSpiceBar spices are currently only available through their monthly subscription. I reached out to them a couple of months ago, and they said that they’re currently working on setting up an online shop where you can order more. Fingers crossed they’re able to offer full-sized versions soon- there are definitely a few blends I’d love to stock up on! 🙂

  7. For those of you who want to use the spices but may not be excited about the recipes on the cards, I HIGHLY suggest following RawSpiceBar on Facebook. They post alternative recipes on a daily basis. Their website also features full photographs of their sent recipes as well, along with the recipe itself. I can not wait to use these spices and am so happy I have a 6 month subscription!

    • Do the alternate recipes tend to be difficult as well? I am always intrigued by this subscription, but I do not cook much so it’s a struggle to convince myself. These recipes use a lot of ingredients that I don’t have on hand and I don’t necessarily want to buy it for just one meal.

      • It does vary. But one of the recipes to for popcorn topped with the shichimi spice mix from the Japanese box. But there are vegetarian options as well for the main meat dishes. I think in general though in order to enjoy this subscription to the fullest you have to enjoy cooking or know someone who is willing to make the recipes for you 🙂

    • I’m following them on twitter now too!

  8. This looks amazing! Love this box, want to subscribe. I really appreciate your food and wine box reviews, thank you!

  9. Stacey, I would love to buy or swap for your April spices -please!:)

    I just subbed but I don’t think I will be getting the Japan spices – darn!

    Oops put the wrong name in my other post.

    • Hi Laura,
      Haven’t received them yet but I can send it to you as soon as I get it. I don’t know how swapping stuff works so how about I send it to you just to be nice and not wasteful. I’m glad you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

      • Just received your email:)

  10. Gloria I would love to buy or swap for your April spices -please!:)

    I just subbed but I don’t think I will be getting the Japan spices – darn!

    • Just saw the thread…. I’m glad Stacey is sending you the spices. Hope your plates turn out as spectacular as Lindsay’s.

      • It looks delicious!

  11. THANK YOU for cooking the recipes and showing pictures with the reviews. I’m totally inspired. SUBBIN’ UP

  12. If I subscribe now – wil I get this set of spices?

    • No, you’ll get next month as your first month.

      I think they only grind the spices once and send them all out at the same time (for freshness purposes).

  13. I really like the idea behind this sub and may I say the customer service is fantastic! I love that they vary the main caurse protein (Feb was chicken; Mar was Lamb; April’s was pork). Still, the themes haven’t motivated me to use my blends. I would love is the included a drink recomendation. Like wines, beers or maybe an extra recipe for a cocktail.

    • I agree with you Gloria. I WANT to use these spices and think this is an awesome concept for those that have more than one in the household, which I don’t. I think the value is there for sure too…but I don’t eat meat really so I have these stored in a drawer. I’m hopeful that I will use these soon or I may start gifting.

      • If you don’t want the April set – could I swap for them please?
        lbc331at comcast . net

      • Or paypal – let me know.
        lbc331 at comcast.net

      • You can always sub in a different protein than the suggested one. I’m boring and have substituted chicken thighs the past two months. I also used the green tea chia mix in a gluten free cake. It’s pretty easy to make subs for the included recipes. I’d love to see beer or wine recommendations though

        • I’ll try that next month for sure! 🙂

  14. I love this review! I’m making the soba salad right now (subbing in chopped spinach & kale as my veggies since I’m too lazy to leave the house for the proper veggies).

    For the matcha cake- I also did not have all the ingredients in the house so I instead made a green tea chia pudding. I wasn’t measuring- just dumped a bunch of unsweetened almond milk in with the spices and some maple syrup. Waited, and it didn’t thicken enough so I ended up adding in around 3tbsp of chia seeds I had. End result was delicious (although- I love all things green tea flavored!)

    Haven’t used the shichimi togarashi yet- I plan to do something with tofu, as I do not eat meat.

  15. Thanks for the review! I’m excited to try this now. I got this subscription to force me to try new tastes, but I like that you cook the stuff first.

  16. Great review! I love that you included pictures and details on the preparation of the dishes and finished result. My boyfriend and I love to cook and try new recipes and after reading your reviews I’ve decided to give this a try. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next month.

  17. I haven’t used mine yet. They had a link to a tofu recipe on their website, which I would substitute for pork. I’ll probably try next these next weekend, though. I need to break out of my mold.

    Agree about wishing to be able to buy more. If I find something I love and would cook again, I don’t really want to try to replicate the spice mix. (On the other hand, they probably need to freshly grind a lot at once to make it cost-effective, so that wouldn’t work as well if you are storing things in a warehouse, waiting for eventual orders.)

  18. I haven’t gotten my shipment yet, but I can’t wait until I do! I love the looks of all the spice blends and recipes. Thank you for showing us the finished products!

  19. Lindsey you are an amazing cook. All your meals are perfection.
    I myself am not really happy with this months raw spice bar.
    the pork was ok, but just tasted like soy sauce.
    The cake had a really nice spongy texture (its basically just a low gluten cake), but it was bland and tasteless.
    I just dont think they give you enough spice.
    im only cooking for 2 and most of the time i cant taste the spice, better yet cooking a recipe for 8-10 people!
    They need to start giving out more than .4-.5 of an oz.

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