Spice Up Your Cooking with RawSpiceBar

Masala chai made with RawSpiceBar's recipe and peppercorn chai blend.

Masala chai made with RawSpiceBar’s recipe and peppercorn chai blend.


Do you love cooking with new spices, but hate searching high and low for more exotic ones? Or winding up with way too many bottles of spices stuffed into your pantry?

Then, RawSpiceBar is for you.

This monthly subscription service sends three new spice blends to your door each month, complete with recipes. Each has a theme, too.

I had a chance to test drive a sample kit recently. Although it’s called a “Monthly Spice Box,” the spices actually arrive in neatly sealed packets inside a brown mailing envelope, so there’s no box involved. Instead, it’s a much more efficient use of packaging.

My sample was the “Pondicherry Kit.” It’s named after the capital city of the Indian union territory of Puducherry. The three spice blends included were: Indo-French Vadouvan (toasted cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, yellow mustard seeds, brown mustard seeds, green cardamom, aleppo pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, cloves, and other spices) with a recipe for using it in scrambled eggs or leek & butternut squash soup; Unpumpkin Pie (ginger, cinnamon, allspice, star anise and nutmeg) with recipes for baked pumpkin donuts and pumpkin spiced cornbread; and Peppercorn Chai (toasted black peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, and other spices) with recipes for Masala chai and chai spiced apple clafoutis.

The spice blends come in neatly sealed little packets.

The spice blends come in neatly sealed little packets.

RawSpiceBar sources spices around the world, seeking out organic and Fair Trade ones when possible. The spices are ground just a few days before they are shipped. You can tell how fresh they are from the pungent aroma that hits you the moment you tear open one of the envelopes. You definitely don’t get a whiff like that from standard supermarket spice bottles that have been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long.

The company says that each envelope contains enough spice blend to make a dish to serve about four people. Indeed, each of the recipes provided makes use of an entire envelope of the spices. So there’s no waste or piddly leftovers to wonder what to do with.

The recipes are fairly simple and straightforward. Though, sometimes questions may pop up with them. For instance, with the pumpkin spiced cornbread, it calls for “2 cups cornmeal mix.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but I’m guessing using regular cornmeal will suffice.

I tried my hand first with the Masala chai. You just stir the spice blend into a saucepan of milk, water, sugar and black tea leaves. Let it steep before straining into cups to enjoy.

This was definitely the most peppery chai I’ve ever had. It’s a tingly jolt on the palate, with lush citrusy-earthy warmth from cardamom. You definitely have to like a lot of black pepper to enjoy this particular chai. You could say it also doubled as an air freshener because my kitchen smelled deliciously inviting for hours afterward.

I can’t wait to try the other two blends to see what they are like.

A one-month subscription is $8 per kit; a six-month subscription is $7.50 per kit; and a 12-month one is $7 per kit.

It’s quite reasonable in price and a fun way to discover new spices and unexpected ways to use them.

It just might make the perfect last-minute holiday gift, too, for a favorite adventurous cook on your list.

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  • I just tossed out a ton of spices. This is a great way to sample exotic ones without buying a lot!

  • You know I recently tried the chai spices from RawSpice. It’s a fun concept, and I like how they include recipes. And yes, it’s nice that you don’t get a large amount because I always end up having my spices get old since they lose their essence within a year.

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