When RawSpiceBar contacted me and offered up a free month of their spice blend subscription service, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. My husband – the cook in our family – adores fresh spices, interesting spices, and tasty spice blends.
So, what exactly is RawSpiceBar? Short answer is – a monthly subscription box filled with three spice blends. I’ll take the long answer straight from their website: Receive 3 hand-picked, small batch, freshly ground spice blends with each monthly box. Each monthly spice box contains 1-2 ounces of spice blends, creating three dishes for serving 4-6 plus kitchen-tested recipe ideas. RawSpiceBar partners with award winning chefs, bloggers & sources old family recipes to bring you unique spice blends from the highest quality spices around the world, with an unprecedented focus on quality and flavor.
November’s selection was Ethiopian-themed. Here is what we received:
Berbere – “Arguably the most famous spice blend of Ethiopian cuisine, berbere is smoky, spicy and complex. This spice mix is traditionally used in nearly all Ethiopian dishes but particularly shines in stews and on meats and poultry. Also try as a rub on roast chicken, roast vegetables or stir into oil and vinegar as a dip.”
Mimtita – “This bright orange, crazy hot spice blend is perhaps Ethiopia’s second most famous spice mix. African birds eye chili peppers, cardamom, black peppercorns and other spices add a spicy hot kick to meat stews, lentils or grilled meats. Also great for using in place of hot sauce or Siracha as a powdered dip or condiment.”
Pumpkin Pie Spice – “This fall inspired spice blend is unlike all those other traditional blends- with freshly ground cinnamon, allspice and star anise as the star ingredients. Sprinkle over squash and roast, stir into yogurt or ice cream or brew into your morning coffee or add to cookies, breads, cakes, pies or other baked goods.”
I love that they include recipes for your spices – and not just any recipes, recipes using ingredients you can find in any regular grocery store and cooking equipment you actually have at home. I love all different kinds of cuisine, but sometimes it can be really hard to make those favorite dishes at home without investing an unreasonable of time and/or money.
We didn’t end up using any of the recipes this time around, but added them to our collection for future inspiration. And having the recipes there for reference helped us decide how we wanted to use the spices with ingredients we already had on hand or regularly purchase.
We ended up using the Pumpkin Pie Spice on baked sweet potatoes and on roasted butternut squash. The result was mixed on the sweet potatoes – my husband thought it was too sweet, but my daughter loved it – but favorable on the butternut squash.
Then we used the Berbere to make Doro Wat. This was a totally new experience for me; we don’t have any Ethiopian restaurants in town (that I know of) and I couldn’t think of a time I had ever tried it before. Honestly, all I could have told you about the cuisine was that I think it is pretty spicy. I was very happy to remedy this situation with a classic Ethiopian chicken dish.
We haven’t tried the Mimtita yet, but plan to break it out once our sore throats are gone and we feel like we can handle the spice.
Frankly, I think this subscription is pretty awesome. It opens up a whole new food world for the very small price of only $6 a month. Personally, I wouldn’t just walk into a store and pick up Berbere because I would assume I wouldn’t be able to do anything with it and that it would just go to waste. Plus, I’d be wary of investing money in a full bottle of a spice I’ve never even tasted.
But with RawSpiceBar, I got to dip my spice toe into the river of Ethopian cuisine without hesitation. [Gee, I really need to work on my metaphors. Spice toe?] This would be a great for anyone who wants to spice up their cooking (ha! get it) without a lot of shopping and hassle. Also a delicious gift for the foodies in your life.