RawSpiceBar is a monthly spice blend subscription. Every month for $8 you’ll receive small batch, freshly ground spice blends by top chefs for home cooks, plus recipes to create authentic cuisine with the spices.
Each themed monthly installment comes with three spice selections, a recipe featuring each spice, and welcome card introducing the featured cuisine. The card describes the component spices and suggests some great food pairings for each one, should you want to experiment with your own recipes.
DEAL: Take $5 off your first subscription or any gift subscription order! Use coupon code HELLOSPICE.
This month features the Ghanaian Flavor Kit!
The kit includes glossy, illustrated recipe cards. Each spice is featured in at least one recipe. They include a list of ingredients to put on your shopping list, as well as instructions f0r preparing and plating the dish.
The instructions are very streamlined. They assume you know some kitchen basics, so the entire process fits on a single card.
The Raw Spice Bar site has more recipes for your spices, including options for restricted diets.
Here are the spices this month!
West African Peanut Spice Rub: Made of peanuts, paprika, ginger, onion, garlic, black and white pepper, chiles, and cayenne. This blend has a rich, earthy and pungent spiciness. Packed with peppers and aromatics, it makes an intense base, with ground peanuts adding a richness and depth of flavor.
Bird’s Eye Berbere: This famous African spice forms the flavor basis for many West African dishes. Made of paprika, coriander, ginger, cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and Bird’s Eye Chiles. This blend actually packs more heat than the peanut spice, despite containing many sweet and cloying spices and only one pepper. The Bird’s Eye more than carries its weight, packing a big punch.
Grains of Paradise: This West African seed has a peppery flavor very similar to black pepper, but with a slightly more floral and citrusy tone.
We made Vegan Cauliflower Wings to showcase the flavors of the Peanut Rub. The recipe mixes some peanut butter, fresh ginger, soy sauce, and orange jam with the Rub and a bit of Berbere, slathering onto florets of cauliflower.
The sweet mixture had an otherwise Asian flair, but the peanut butter and spices made it distinctively West African. The cauliflower and mixture cooked down to a dense, sticky hunk that had a very satisfying texture. With crunchy, sticky, and tender bits and huge sweet, spicy, and earthy flavor, the “wings” were awesome. I would definitely make these again!
We made the Chicken Peanut Soup using the Berbere and the Peanut Rub. It started with a version of a mirepoix, replacing the celery with green peppers and jalepenos. We added some peanut butter, tomato, coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro. We applied the berbere directly the chicken prior to browning. The combined dish braises to meld all the flavors. We did alter the recipe and used about 2.2 lbs of boneless breast instead of 4(!) pounds of bone-in chicken, which is a whole bird. We think this works much better – no fishing out bones!
The finished dish had an wonderful heat and depth of flavor. The peanut butter flavor was strong, but there was enough spice to balance it – the coconut milk really transformed it into a curry-like stew.
I loved the heat of the spices. It awakened all of the complementary flavors in the dish instead of masking them.
We made the New York Times Lemon Pudding Cake (not shown on the recipe cards) for the grains of paradise. The cake combined separated and whipped eggs with lemon juice for a bright and light texture.
The cake pan was cooked in a water bath, so the bottom remained pudding-like. The top had the texture of an airy angel food cake, but without the odd sponginess store-bought varieties always have. The grains of paradise helped cut the richness of the egg, playing off the tartness of the lemon. The texture of the cake was incredible – everyone in the family loved it!
Raw Spice Bar spices are very high quality, and you couldn’t beat the freshness and potency of without grinding your own. The intensity of the fragrance always gets me, and the expert blending is evident – the mixes are well-balanced and project tons of flavor, even through intense heat. We recommend a good read through on the recipes – they’re a good starting place but sometimes they need a bit of a reality check adjustment!