RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – April 2015
RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch custom spice blends (and recipes that utilize them).
The spices are shipped via USPS in a kraft sleeve.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
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
Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment features spice blends from Tokyo, Japan.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The pork was incredible. It was tender, juicy, and the Shichimi Togarashi added a lovely, earthy spice.
Recipe #2- Spicy Gomasio & Avocado Soba Noodles
In a large bowl, I mixed together grated carrot, chopped cucumber, and thinly sliced radishes. I topped all of this with the Spicy 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.
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
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).
I then mixed the two together and poured into an oiled cake pan.
The cake baked at 350 for about 35 minutes.
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.)
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?