RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – September 2015
RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch custom spice blends (and recipes that utilize them).
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 country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.
Ships to: US and Canada.
Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment features spice blends from Istanbul!
This month’s recipes are: Lahmacun Turkish Flatbread, Urfa Pepper Hummus, and Za’atar Crusted Cauliflower.
Baharat- .4 oz
According to RawSpiceBar, “baharat is a spice staple in Turkish cooking… used in everything from seafood to soup.” It’s a blend of coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and sweet paprika.
Urfa Pepper- .4 oz
Urfa peppers are smoky (almost sweet) and add a deep maroon hue to dishes. Here’s a closeup:
The flavor is described as “raisin meets coffee.”
Za’atar- .4 oz
Za’atar is a blend of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. It’s used in a number of Middle Eastern cuisines, and is a staple in my own kitchen, too!
All of this month’s recipes looked incredible to me, so I arranged to have some family over for dinner to help cook (and eat) this month’s Turkish dishes.
Urfa Pepper Hummus
I began by making Urfa Pepper Hummus and Za’atar Crusted Cauliflower, so we’d have something to nibble on while we made pizza.
To make the Hummus, I combined roasted beets, a can of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and RawSpiceBar’s Urfa Pepper in my food processor. When the hummus was smooth, I tasted it and added a little salt. I transferred the hummus into a bowl, drizzled it with a little extra olive oil, topped it with an olive, and served it with crostini.
The hummus was a big hit. It was flavorful and delicious, and the deep pink color made it stand out on the table.
Za’atar & Pita Crusted Cauliflower
To make the cauliflower dish, I cut large florets, dipped them into a combination of flour, milk, and eggs (the recipe didn’t call for the addition of milk, but I thought the egg mixture was a little too thick without it), and again in a mix of pita crumbs, za’atar, and seasoning. My local grocery didn’t have pita crumbs for sale, so my brother ripped some whole-wheat pita into small pieces, toasted it in the oven, and crushed it into crumbs.
I arranged the florets on a baking tray and baked them at 375 until the cauliflower softened.
This was the least popular dish of the evening. I like how the pita crust gave the cauliflower a nice crunch, but I don’t think this dish allowed the za’atar to shine. Still, it was fun to dip them into the hummus.
Lahmacun (Baharat Lamb Pizza)
While we snacked on crispy cauliflower and hummus, I made the flatbread dough and let it rest and rise for an hour before dividing it into balls and letting it rest for another 45 minutes.
During this time, I made the pizza topping by combining grated onions and tomato, raw ground lamb, tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, and RawSpiceBar’s Baharat Spices. The topping recipe seemed very small, so I doubled it to make sure there was enough for four small pizzas. The original recipe called for the entire packet of baharat, but I used the whole packet in a double batch, and I was happy with the level of spice.
When the dough was ready, I shaped each ball into a thin oval and allowed my guests to construct their own pies. As a result, we tried the recipe provided by RawSpiceBar, but we also ended up with a couple of flatbreads that had additional ingredients like green pepper, chives, and red pepper flakes.
Honestly, they were all great! The topping was delicious, and I thought the spice blend nicely complemented the flavor of the lamb. My guests and I agreed that the flatbread was a hit, and we all had fun making our own pies!
Verdict: I really enjoyed this month’s Istanbul Box from RawSpiceBar. It feels like a return to the RawSpiceBar formula that I originally fell in love with, and I had a great time making a Turkish-inspired meal with my family. The spices were excellent, and the recipes introduced me to some new and interesting dishes. Over the last few months, I’ve had quite a few issues with the recipes provided by RawSpiceBar (including typos, omitted ingredients, and unclear instructions), and I’m pleased to see an improvement in this box’s recipes. There were still a couple of small issues this month, but I was able to make the dishes without any problems. This is my favorite RawSpiceBar box in months, and I’m excited to see what they have in store for next month!
What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Istanbul Box?