Posted by on in Canadian Subscription Box Reviews, Food Subscription Boxes, RawSpiceBar Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews | Tags: | 20 comments

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review + Coupon – February 2016

This post may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Box

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

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Inside

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

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Contents

The Subscription Box: RawSpiceBar

The Cost: $6 per month

COUPON: Use coupon code SPICEFLAVOR to save 50% off your first box!

The Products: 3 freshly ground spice blends from one country or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 6-10 people.

Ships to: US (with free shipping) and Canada (for an additional fee).

Check out all our RawSpiceBar reviews and visit the Food Subscription Box Directory for more food boxes!

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Card

Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment spotlights Sichuan cuisine from southwestern China!

This month’s featured spices are: Chinese 5-Spice, Shiitake Mushroom Powder, and Sichuan Peppercorns.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Chinese

Chinese Five Spice- .4 oz.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-ChineseClose

This spice blend is a mix of star anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, and Sichuan peppercorns.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Sichuan

Sichuan Peppercorns- .3 oz.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-SichuanClose

Sichuan peppercorns have a citrusy flavor and a numbing, tingly heat that builds with each bite.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-Mushroom

Shiitake Powder- .4 oz.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-MushroomClose

Shiitake powder is made from shiitake mushrooms and adds “an umami punch and intense flavor to a wide range of dishes.”

Sichuan Supper

This month, RawSpiceBar included the following recipes: Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork), Garlic Shiitake & Broccoli Noodles, and Sichuan Style Green Beans.

Char Siu

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-PorkRecipe

When I was shopping for the ingredients for this meal, I was disappointed to find that my local grocery store was completely out of pork tenderloin. So, I decided to substitute chicken, instead.

I followed the directions for the marinade just as they were printed, and basted my chicken throughout the cooking process. The only real change I made was adjusting the cooking time (from 25 minutes to about 75 minutes). 

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-ChickenCooked

I was extremely pleased with how it turned out! By basting the chicken every 15 minutes or so, the outside built up a beautiful sticky glaze.

Garlic Shiitake & Broccoli Noodles

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-NoodleRecipe

To accompany the main dish, this box included two side dishes. To make the noodles, I began by sautéing mushrooms in peanut oil and blanching broccoli in hot water. While the mushrooms seared, I chopped garlic, ginger, and scallions

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-NoodlePrep

After the mushrooms developed a nice sear, I added in the chopped veggies, some Chinese five spice, shiitake powder, and some red pepper flakes. I cooked this mixture together for about a minute and then set it aside.

When the broccoli was drained and ready, I added it into the wok with some additional peanut oil, the mushroom mixture, some broth, and a little soy sauce.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-NoodleWok

I brought it all to a simmer and cooked it until the broccoli was tender, meanwhile cooking buckwheat soba noodles in salted water. After the noodles were done, I strained them and added them to the pot, as well.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-NoodlePlated

The noodles smelled incredible, and were surprisingly easy to make!

Sichuan Style Green Beans

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-BeanRecipe

Lastly, I made the green bean dish. I began by cleaning and prepping my beans and chopping garlic, ginger, and scallions.

I heated some oil in a sauté pan and toasted half of the included peppercorns until they were fragrant. I then added the ginger, garlic, and scallions along with some hot chile sauce and cooked them for about another minute.

To cook the beans, I tossed them with oil and salt and then placed them under the broiler.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-BeanPrep

I placed the beans on the top shelf (closest to the flame) and cooked them until they started to char, about 5 minutes. I then removed them from the oven, stirred in the garlic mixture, the remaining peppercorns, and a pinch of sugar.

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-BeanPlated

I’ve never cooked green beans under the broiler before, and I loved how they turned out. I also thought this dish looked great!

RawSpiceBar-February-2016-SupperPlated

Altogether, the meal was outstanding. The glaze on the chicken was sticky and sweet, which nicely complemented the peppery green beans and slightly spicy noodles. Everything had great flavor, and, in particular, I liked the boldness of the beans with the more subtle earthy flavors of the noodles. All of the recipes worked really well together, and both my husband and I thought this was a great meal. I don’t have a lot of experience with Chinese cuisine, but I found the instructions clear and easy to follow.

Verdict: I really loved this month’s RawSpiceBar meal. As always, the spices were great, and the meal pushed me out of my comfort zone. The glaze recipe is definitely a keeper, and I’m already planning to make it again. (Perhaps with pork meatballs next time?) For $6 per month, I think RawSpiceBar is a great affordable subscription for those who love to cook. In the past, I’ve struggled with typos and other errors in their recipes, but, happily, I haven’t noticed any problems these last couple of months. I’m glad to see that RawSpiceBar is turning things around, and I can’t wait to see what spices will be featured next month!

What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Sichuan Spice Box? Did you make the Char Siu with pork tenderloin? If so, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

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.

20 Comments

  1. I would love to sign up for a subscription to rawspicebar, but their web site is not working.

    • yup… still not working… wonder if they’re going OOB

  2. I placed an order in early February but too late for the February shipment so had to wait for The March shipment. Received an email March 8th that my shipment was sent but after a couple of weeks, emailed them because I hadn’t gotten it yet. Being new to the subscription, I didn’t know how long it would take to get it. Reply 3 days later indicated they were still sending out shipments and I should expect mine within several days. Still no shipment and no response from my second email. Does anyone have a phone number for customer service? Can’t find one anywhere on the web

    • I just sent them a FB message. I usually have luck getting them to respond there. I just sent a message too. This is my second month and the second time I haven’t received that month’s box in the actual month of that box! Still haven’t gotten my March box & it’s April. So frustrated with this company!!

      • Let us know what happens. I realized I haven’t gotten a March shipment either.

  3. I subscribed in early February and never received a box last month. I contacted customer service and they assured me that my March box would arrive. It has not. Has anyone else had this much trouble receive this subscription?
    They did refund me for the Feb. box but I really wanted my spices 🙁

    • Unfortunately same situation yet my money hasn’t been refunded. How did you contact them? I only have email and they haven’t responded to my second email. Do you have a phone number?

  4. I never received my box and when I emailed them it was sold out. They did offer me a refund. I wanted the chicken 🙁

  5. For any vegetarians stumped on how to use this month’s spices, I found a fantastic looking recipe for Vegan Char Siu Bao (made with tofu). Click on my name to follow the link. I can’t vouch for the recipe itself, but the pictures look fantastic & you could easily add some of the spices into the filling!

  6. This was my first month for the sub and at first, the region selection underwhelmed me, only because my grandfather is from here and I’m quite familiar with the spices. So this month’s spices lacked novelty for me.

    For those who are wondering what you can sub instead of mushrooms/broc/meat. I’ve had a lot of success sub broc with green peppers, sub meat for seitan or firm tofu (had wonderful restaurant made cha shui with seitan). Sub mushroom for diced tofu or minced pork. Just adjust cooking times.

    When you think about it, broc isn’t indigenous to China, so you can easily take another hearty green (not leafy) veg and forge ahead. And white mushrooms aren’t indigenous either.
    I appreciate the creators picking ingredients that are readily available in local western grocery stores through.

  7. I’m so frustrated with RSB! This was my first month and I JUST got the box this past Friday after MULTIPLE conversations with ‘Uly’ that I felt went nowhere.
    I’m also vegetarian and bummed to find I can’t use half my spices ?
    Hoping March fairs better for me or I’ll be cancelling.

  8. Thanks for the detailed review! I quit this sub last year after too many mistakes in recipes, but I’m keeping an eye on it and may re-subscribe if it keeps going like this. I would also like to see more vegetarian recipes to use with the spices as we don’t eat much meat.

  9. I am so tempted to buy this box so center I love Chinese food. However, being Chinese, I think the “home made” recipes my family has passed on wil suffice.

    I would like to add some recommendations for the char siu. I haven’t tried making it with chicken, but here in the DC area, where I know Lindsey is in (like me), a good place to get the pork is at the Asian supermarkets like Great Wall. It can be a little intimidating but look for the “pork butt” – that’s typically what makes the best char siu. You’ll also notice that they sell char siu, premade and it’s much redder than a homemade version would be. Don’t worry, because they add red food dye. If you cut it into smaller pieces, the end product will be very tender and have more of that sticky glaze!

  10. I just love this subscription! We made this meal with a pork tenderloin – just wonderful. I’m sure it’s great with chicken too.
    This really is my favorite subscription, I wish I hadn’t missed out on the Japan spice mixes.

  11. Funny story… my very first panic attack was induced by Sichuan peppercorn. I was eating hot pot with friends. The broth was full of these and I was gobbling it up. I had noticed the build up of tingling in my mouth, but then all of a sudden it hit me like a bomb. My whole body felt numb. And hot. I freaked out, drank some water which didn’t help, then bolted outside to stand in the cold Chicago winter. My body was so hot and numb, I couldn’t even feel the cold. It took me about 30 min to relax. I take it easy on the Sichuan peppercorn these days.

  12. This month was kind of a fail for us.

    They never put up a vegetarian alternative for the main dish that I could see.

    The noodles were a bust because I cannot eat mushrooms (I mean they activate my gag reflex like nothing else — hate, hate, hate them) and my fiance doesn’t like broccoli. We may make the green beans at some point. (I don’t think the recipe said to do this, or else the picture didn’t match the recipe, but snip the ends off the green beans before you roast them. Otherwise it feels like you are eating sticks.)

    We used the mushroom powder (texture isn’t there when it’s powdered…) to make a stir fry with tofu and vegetables and we ate that over brown rice Pad Thai noodles. But, neither of us really cared for that one. Normally my fiance loves Asian food, too.

    • I would have had the same reaction. Hate broccoli, can’t digest mushrooms and don’t eat meat. The green beans look good, but it’s disappointing there was no vegetarian option for the glaze.

  13. That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone trying char shiu on a chicken before. Glad it turn out great! Char shiu is so tied with pork in Chinese cuisine, that I can’t imagine on any other meat. I would suggest, if you have any spices left, try it on pork next time. You find that the flavor is different.

    • I used chicken breasts instead of the pork tenderloin and they were delicious, as well! The only thing is that they didn’t get really sticky – maybe I just didn’t broil for long enough. If I were to do it again I would do a whole, bone-in chicken instead of breasts.

  14. Great review. I’m very hungry now!

    I think this might be a nice box to try out so I can make some new recipes. I love the idea of Hello Fresh, etc. but they are expensive. This would kind of force me to try out new things.

    I wonder if I order now if I will get this batch of spices?

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments may not appear immediately. More info here.