Piquant Post is a monthly subscription box that offers a variety of freshly ground, small batch spice blends with their very own chef developed recipes that feature a new region each month.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Piquant Post
The Subscription Box: Piquant Post
The Cost: $11.99 a month + free US shipping. Save with 6 and 12-month subscriptions.
ACTIVE DEAL: First Order 10% off. No coupon needed - just use this link.
The Products: 4 spice blends from a single region or country, 4 chef-developed recipes showcasing each of the spice blends, plus online access to recipes and ingredient substitutes.
Ships to: Worldwide
Piquant Post November 2018 Review
Each box comes with four spice blends and coordinating recipe cards. Let’s get into this month’s Moroccan spices!
This is a proprietary mix, designed for ease and versatility with a North African-inspired flavor profile. According to the recipe card, paprika gives complexity and depth, cumin lends a touch of something nutty while whole cumin seeds provide occasional crunch, coriander adds a sweet fragrance with a lemony essence, and turmeric and ginger provide further depth to complement a pleasant heat from the cayenne peppers. I had a quick taste and enjoyed how the earthy flavors came first, followed by the aforementioned lingering heat, which was smooth but not too much. The Arabic, African, and Mediterranean influences were prevalent!
Moroccan Lentil Carrot Soup Recipe
The title of this dish originally struck me as complex and involved, but that initial impression could not be further from the truth. The ingredients were mostly items I already had on hand (like onions, garlic, tomato paste, veggie broth, spinach, carrots, etc.) It seems like the Casablanca blend does most of the heavy lifting, which makes for an easy soup with an abundance of flavor. I can’t wait to try this out now that the weather is chilly. What’s more, this recipe can be made vegan, or easily tweaked to your liking with helpful suggestions from the Piquant Post blog.
Chermoula is a very flavorful condiment and marinade for fish, traditionally made by hand-grinding fresh herbs with garlic, preserved lemon, and spices. This particular pack is a curated blend of classic Moroccan spices and freshly-dried herbs to be used either as a rub or a base for an authentic sauce. Hints of spearmint and lemon peel meld perfectly with the garlic and other earthy flavors. I’ve never tasted anything quite like this before, and honestly, it was awesome.
Chermoula Salmon Recipe
This recipe only calls for a hand full of ingredients and the directions are incredibly straightforward. I’m not a huge fan of salmon, but as of recently, my tastes have been changing all the time, so who knows—once I’m finally on the salmon wagon, testing out this dish could be on the horizon. I went back to Piquant Post's Blog and found some vegetarian alternatives for using the chermoula, like red bean cakes and roasted veggies, so this delicious spice pack definitely won’t go to waste in my kitchen.
I was excited to see Harissa in this month’s collection because it’s recently been the darling ingredient of many food blogs I read, but I’ve yet to try it. Having just the Harissa spices makes it easy to use it as a standalone dry rub, or as a traditional paste with the addition of oil. The recipe card suggests combining the Harissa spices with a yogurt marinade to deeply penetrate meat with flavor. A combination of guajillo chili, ancho chili, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, garlic powder, spearmint, and cayenne makes for a warm, savory, and refreshing blend, unlike anything I’ve tried before. Piquant Post dialed back the heat of this mix to make it easily customizable for varying tastes. With such an interesting flavor profile, it’s easy to see why Harissa is gaining such global popularity.
Lemon Harissa Chicken Recipe
Between the gorgeous photo on the recipe card and how fond I was of the Harissa after a quick taste test, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to demo this dish! Let’s get into it.
First up, I made a Harissa paste by combining 2 tablespoons (aka the entire packet) of Piquant Post Harissa with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, juice from half a lemon, and a heaping tablespoon and a half of minced garlic. The recipe suggested two cloves of garlic, but as I mentioned in another review, garlic is to be measured with your heart, not with specificity.
In a separate bowl, I added three tablespoons of the Harissa paste to 1/4 cup of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to create the chicken marinade. Of course, I snuck a quick taste from the mixing bowl, and it was so good! The lemon juice, garlic, and earthy flavors of the Harissa seasoning were wonderful when paired together. It wasn’t too spicy. Also, that color is gorgeous.
Then, in a stainless steel bowl, I combined about 1.5 pounds of chicken thighs with the marinade, covered the bowl, and popped it in the fridge around 1:15 pm. That way, the chicken has plenty of time to absorb the flavors and tenderize. The recipe suggested marinating anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight.
Around 8 pm, I removed the marinated chicken from the fridge and pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees. After lining a large baking sheet with tin foil, I drained and rinsed an entire 15oz can of chickpeas, even though the recipe only asked for half, but I always aim for leftovers. I also sliced a few carrots and a whole onion, spread all the veggies over the foil, and placed the marinated chicken thighs on top.
As the chicken and veggies were doing their thing in the oven, I mixed together 1/4 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt with juice from the other lemon half for a sauce to serve with the dish.
Here are the chicken and veggies after 30 minutes in the oven.
Voila, the finished dish! I served it with the lemon yogurt sauce and the leftover Harissa paste from earlier. The chicken thighs were so tender and flavorful, and the veggies were nice and soft. The condiments really took everything to the next level. Getting this dish together was not only incredibly easy but absolutely worthwhile. It was so good! If I make it again, I’ll saute some spinach as a side, because every meal deserves a little greenery.
Ras El Hanout
Meaning “top shelf” in Arabic, Ras El Hanout is made from the best and most exotic blend of spices that a spice shop has to offer. Many combinations are a protected secret, vary per preference, and can include twenty or more ingredients! By itself, the flavor is intriguing and complex, which leads me to believe a little goes a long way and will make a mighty impact when used on simple ingredients.
Lamb Tagine with Apricots Recipe
The ingredients list for this recipe is a bit lengthy, and the overall cook time is quite long, but the tasty-looking photo makes it all seem more than worth it. The combination of lamb, tomatoes, apricots, chickpeas, and nuts definitely has my attention, so I may save this recipe for an evening where I have time to play around in the kitchen, or for a special occasion.
Verdict: I really enjoyed the introduction to Moroccan cuisine through this month’s Piquant Post! Each spice packet combined tons of ingredients to create really unique flavor profiles. The recipes were all dishes I’ve never even considered making, and though some of them didn’t originally appeal to me, the Piquant Post blog proved itself to be a helpful tool for finding dishes that best catered to my tastes. The lemon Harissa chicken was easy, healthy, delicious, and a worthwhile experience. I’m already looking forward to next month’s box.
To Wrap Up:
Coupon - Use code MSA15OFF to save 15% off your first box!
Value Breakdown: This box costs $11.99 with free U.S. shipping, and I received a total of 4 spices. That means that the average value for each of those items is around $3 (not counting the recipe cards). Each spice is very potent, so a little goes a long way, which only adds to the overall value.
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Have you received Piquant Post? What did you think of the November spices?