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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – October 2015

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseOct 28, 2015 | 13 comments

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Box

RawSpiceBar Spice of the Month Club
4.1 overall rating
45 Ratings | 26 Reviews

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.)

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Contents

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.

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

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Card

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

This month’s Malaysian spices are: Curry Laksa Spices, Sambal Oelek Spices, and Kaffir Lime Blend.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Laksa

Curry Laksa Spices- .5 oz.

According to RawSpiceBar, “many families in Malaysia have their own secret recipes for curry powder, which are passed on for generations.” The recipes vary slightly. This one from RawSpiceBar is a blend of coriander, turmeric, lemongrass, and galangal.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Sambal

Sambal Oelek- .4 oz

Sambal Oelek is a spicy paste that is used as a condiment and as a base for curry and rice dishes. RawSpiceBar has included a packet of ground chiles that forms the base of this paste.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Kaffir

Kaffir Lime Blend- .5 oz.

This citrusy powder is made from the leaves of the kaffir lime plant. The blend also contains turmeric, chile peppers, and palm sugar. It can be used in salad dressing, on roasted nuts, or as a topping for ice cream.

Malaysian Meal!

This month’s recipes are: Malaysian Curry Laksa, Sambal Oelek Paste, and Vegetable Salad with Kaffir Lime Dressing. For this month’s recipes, RawSpiceBar partnered with Caroline Artiss, a chef with over 20 years of experience cooking Malaysian and Asian fusion dishes.

Sambal Oelek Paste

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - SambalRecipe

I began by making the Sambal Oelek Paste because I knew I would need to incorporate it into the other two recipes.

It was very easy to make. I combined rice vinegar, garlic, salt and the Sambal Oelek Spices in a food processor until they formed a paste.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - Sambaldone

Urap Malaysian Salad with Kaffir Lime Dressing

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - SaladRecipe

This salad is a mix of blanched savoy cabbage and green beans, raw cucumber, bean sprouts and fresh herbs. Personally, I love salads that incorporate both raw and cooked vegetables (Salade Nicoise, anyone?), so I was really excited to try this recipe.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - SaladVeggies

I prepared all of my vegetables and then made the dressing by pureeing RawSpiceBar’s Kaffir Lime Blend, finely chopped garlic, and ginger in a blender and then mixing it with lime juice, salt, and olive oil. The dressing seemed to contain a lot of salt (1 ½ teaspoons), so I reduced it slightly with the thought that I could always add more later.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - SaladDone

This salad was delicious, and I loved the combination of veggies. The fresh herbs added a fantastic freshness, and the dressing was crisp, citrusy, and so flavorful. I will say, however, that I’m glad I didn’t add the full amount of salt. I like my food pretty heavily seasoned, but I think the full amount of salt would have been way too much. I added about 1 teaspoon, and I still thought the dressing was on the salty side.

Malaysian Curry Laksa

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - LaksaRecipe

Much like the dressing for the Urap salad, I began preparing this dish by making a paste from the Laksa spice blend, garlic, ginger, and salt.

I sautéed shallots in olive oil, and then stirred in the paste and cooked it until the oil began to separate from the spices. I then added chicken thighs and cooked them until they were browned on all sides. I stirred in water, sugar, and salt and simmered for 20 minutes. At this point I added in coconut milk and simmered for another 40 minutes.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - LaksaSimmering

While the laksa simmered, I pan fried tofu, cabbage, and green beans in a separate pan. (Note: the recipe called for the addition of carrot and kale, also, but I decided to omit these.)

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - LaksaTofu

When the 40 minutes of simmering were up, I stirred in the tofu and vegetables. I simmered for another couple of minutes and then added the raw prawns.

To serve, I filled bowls with cooked rice noodles and ladled laksa over the top.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - LaksaPlated

This dish was phenomenal. I loved the layers of flavor and the incorporation of different vegetables and proteins. I mixed a bit of the sambal oelek paste into my laksa, and I thought it complemented the dish and added a nice, flavorful spice.

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review October 2015 - MalaysianMeal

My husband and I agreed that this was a restaurant-quality meal and the best curry we’ve ever made at home (and we make curry pretty frequently).

Verdict: I loved this month’s RawSpiceBar! The Malaysian spices were interesting and delicious, and I thought they were incorporated into the provided recipes in clever and interesting ways. The dishes were delicious and came together to create a truly fantastic meal. I’ve had quite a few issues with the RawSpiceBar recipes in recent months, but I thought this month’s recipes were much improved. I do think they called for a bit too much salt, but that’s a small complaint compared with some of the errors I’ve seen in previous months. Overall, I can’t complain, though. This month’s dishes were excellent, and they came together to form one of the best meals I’ve had in months!

What do you think about RawSpiceBar’s Malaysian Box?

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Choose from a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription of global spice blends to be delivered directly to your favorite cook's door. Each month, we pair our fresh, handcrafted spice blends with a mouthwatering recipe to inspire even the most experienced home cook and bring out their best in the kitchen.
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle. 

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RawSpiceBar’s product quality was not what I had expected (I had heard great reviews) and the individual spice packets contained less than what was promised on the label (I individually weighed each packet – even if you include the weight of the mini brown envelope, the product delivered was less than what was promised).

I canceled after 1 month – I think, it was a waste of $6 for less than 3 spoons of spice!

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Love Curry! I’ve been making curry a few times a month for a while now so I was pleased to have another curry to try. The recipe that they included had water (which I never add to mu curries) . I didn’t add the water – it would have diluted the seasoning too much and my family was glad I left the water out too. I also didn’t use 2 whole cans of coconut milk. So I liked the spice mixes but not their entire recipe.
I love this subscription! The spice mixes have been wonderful!

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Another excellent review and presentation … thank you!

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I did not know that they are featuring Malaysia this month and I am happy they did, as I am from there. The salad sort of remind me of “Rojak” which is mis-match anything goes kind of salad, but the sauce is more peanut and chili kind of flavor.
Glad you like the laksa too. We made one last night , using pre-mix spice (wet spice and powdered coconut).
You can also buy pre-mix sambal oelek from Asian aisle of grocery store. I always have a large jar of that in the fridge, as it goes with almost anything.

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Meg D

Colour me confused. I have read reviews of this sub since they started, drooling all the while, and decided that it would be the perfect gift for my mother-in-law’s birthday. But those reviews all indicated free shipping to the US *and* Canada and it is a sub with offices on both sides of the border to the best of my knowledge. However, when I went to make my purchase for a 6-month gift sub, I noticed an “international shipping charge” of $16! I cancelled my order and sent them a request for info but haven’t heard back from them yet. Anyone know what’s up? Is this a new change? Or an error on the site?

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Meg D

If anyone is interested, RSB did get back to me and they started charging shipping to Canada a few months ago – none of the reviews I’ve read (even on Canadian sites) indicate this so I wonder how well this was communicated? Anyway, the email indicated a shipping fee of $4 but when I actually checked on the site, the charges were $7 in shipping for 1 month, $16 in shipping for 6 months (so $2.67 per month) and $24 in shipping for a full year ($2 per month). There is also a processing fee that ranges from $0.40 for 1 month up to $4 for a year (although it looks like US subscribers pay that fee as well). I’m not sure if we will go ahead and sub. . . it’s not that much more money but I’m disappointed that the price *says* one thing and then the checkout, another. That rubs me the wrong way 🙁

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Lindsay, I am still here waiting for you to show up at my house and cook this! Beautiful job!

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You were right to go with lower salt. We added the amount of salt listed in the recipes and eek, that was a lot.

This was a good month for vegetarians. You could just leave out the chicken and shrimp from the noodle dish (we used a pound of tofu instead) and it still worked.

We also changed up the vegetables in the noodle dish. Too many green beans for my taste (since they were listed in both that and the salad). We used zucchini and a bell pepper and some of the leftover cabbage (we have a LOT of cabbage left over — still). We used brown rice noodles (Annie Chun’s “pad Thai” style from Whole Foods) and they were good.

We also used only 2 cans of coconut milk (3 cups instead of 4) but maybe the difference there is that we did not have to cook ours for as long because there was no meat and we had pre-fried the tofu.

I did not peel my cucumbers. The peel is where most of the nutrition is, and I liked the added color as well. There was also too much liquid in the salad but that mostly drained off and we served with a slotted spoon.

This also made pretty good leftovers. We cooked separate noodles the next day and the salad had taken on a cole slaw type of quality, but it wasn’t bad.

This was the best month for us that they’ve had for awhile. Even though my fiance had to spend 3 hours in the kitchen, he says he’s happy I renewed my subscription.

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Great review and photos, Lindsey! I’m looking forward to making all these dishes this weekend.

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I was disappointed with the October spices. The FAQ on their website says their spices don’t contain fillers, and list sugar as one of those fillers, and that was huge factor to me subscribing.

Two of the spices this month contained palm sugar – I can’t use them as a result with no nutrition information. They’ve also ignored my contact requests thus far to find out nutrition for it and to ask why palm sugar was used.

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Palm sugar extracted from the coconut palm sap is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisines. I don’t think RSB is using it as a filler, but rather to achieve that sweet/spicy/salty flavor profile that is common in dishes from this region.

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Perhaps they consider palm sugar as different from regular sugar? I know that I don’t have any handy and I’m not sure I’ve seen it available at the supermarket.

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Look in the sugar aisle at Whole Foods. You will see palm sugar. And date sugar. And coconut sugar, barley malt syrup, brown rice syrup, something called “golden syrup,” and about 25 other obscure natural sweeteners.

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