RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review + Coupon – February 2016
RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch 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 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).
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.
Chinese Five Spice- .4 oz.
This spice blend is a mix of star anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, and Sichuan peppercorns.
Sichuan Peppercorns- .3 oz.
Sichuan peppercorns have a citrusy flavor and a numbing, tingly heat that builds with each bite.
Shiitake Powder- .4 oz.
Shiitake powder is made from shiitake mushrooms and adds “an umami punch and intense flavor to a wide range of dishes.”
This month, RawSpiceBar included the following recipes: Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork), Garlic Shiitake & Broccoli Noodles, and Sichuan Style Green Beans.
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).
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
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
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.
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.
The noodles smelled incredible, and were surprisingly easy to make!
Sichuan Style Green Beans
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.
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.
I’ve never cooked green beans under the broiler before, and I loved how they turned out. I also thought this dish looked great!
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!