Wednesday, December 9, 2015

November RawSpiceBar Review & Giveaway! (Closed)

November RawSpiceBar Review & Giveaway!

Hey Dreamers and Creators!

What do you like to do in your pastime? We like to do many things but one thing that we have done for years is that we cook together whenever we can. It's a mother-daughter tradition really and we enjoy every minute of it. We love to try new food together, discover new recipes together, and enjoy life one dish at a time!

Anyways, today we wanted to share our review of November's RawSpiceBar box (or er um, bag). RawSpiceBar is a monthly spice subscription. Each month will include 3 freshly ground spice kits with a regional theme. It will also include 3 recipes for the spices as well as other information like the origin of the spices, its history, etc. RawSpiceBar ships for free in the US. They do ship internationally, however, there's an additional shipping charge of $4 per month.

Left to right: Berbere, Ethiopian Mitmita, and Pumpkin Pie Spice.
Left to right: Berbere, Ethiopian Mitmita, and Pumpkin Pie Spice.

November's theme is Ethiopian cuisine and its 3 featured spice blends are Berbere, Ethiopian Mitmita, and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Each pouch contains .4 oz. of the spice blend.

-Berbere is a very famous Ethiopian spice blend. It is consider a trademark of authentic Ethipian dishes. It is mainly used in stews. RawSpiceBar's version of this spice blend contains dried chiles, sweet paprika, coriander, ginger, cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and black peppercorns. It's got a spicy kick to it but also a smokey and complex mix as well.

-Ethiopian Mitmita is a super spicy blend that adds a kick to any dish that its used in. RawSpiceBar's version includes African birds eye chili peppers, dried red chiles, cardamom, black peppercorns, and garlic.

-Pumpkin Pie Spice is a fall inspired spice blend. It contains cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, mace, star anise, and spices. It can be sprinkled over squash and roast. Added to coffee or baked goods. It can be stirred into ice cream or yogurt, etc. Plenty of ways to use this spice blend.


Ethiopian food is a first for both of us. We really enjoyed it though and need to find an authentic restaurant to try sometime. We made all 3 dishes on the same day because we had family visiting and thought it would be a great idea to try it out together. 

The Key Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Stewed Beef) was an instant hit with everyone. We all loved it (see the heart of onions below). We did change the recipe a bit to accommodate the larger serving size and our taste buds. Instead of 1lb stew beef, we used 1.5lb. Instead of 1 onion, we used 1.5 onions. We also added a bit less of the Mitmita and Berbere because not everyone in the family can handle the heat. Finally, we used fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones. 

We like to be rebellious sometimes and didn't really follow the directions step by step. We started with the onions, cooking it on medium-low heat until it turned golden brown which took about 15 minutes. At the same time we seasoned the beef with salt and pepper, and began to brown them in a separate pan. Once the onions are golden brown, we added garlic and cooked until fragrant. Then we added the Berbere and Mitmita spices as well as sugar and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes. We added our fresh, chopped tomatoes and cooked for about 3 to 5 minutes before adding water and the beef to the mix. We let our stew simmer for almost 2 hours. The beef was so tender that we didn't have to shred it like the instructions suggests. We served it with rice since we (for the life of us) could not find injera in any of the grocery stores near us. 

heart of onions

The Berbere Roasted Carrots, Fennel & Mint was a pretty good dish as well. We made some minor changes to this recipe as well, mainly to lower the amount of spices added because it, otherwise, would be too spicy for some. We cut the vegetables to the desired shape before tossing them in a mixture of Berbere, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Baked them in the oven at 400 degrees F. It's suggested to turn over the vegetables after 20 minutes of cooking and then cook for 10 more minutes. However, we just let the vegetable mix cook for about 35 minutes without turning it. Turned out pretty good too.

The Pumpkin Spice Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Pumpkin Spice Ricotta Donuts) was also well liked by the family. The dough mixture was easy to make. We whisked the 1/2 pound ricotta cheese until creamy and added 2 eggs to the mix, whisking it well. Afterwards, we added the Pumpkin spice, flour, salt, and baking powder. When the oil in the deep frying pan was heated to 350 degrees, we began to add spoonfuls of dough to the oil and fried them until golden brown. As you can see in the picture below, we added sugar on top of the donuts (or rather donut holes).

Left to right: Key Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Stewed Beef), Berbere Roasted Carrots, Fennel & Mint, and Pumpkin Spice Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Pumpkin Spice Ricotta Donuts).
Left to right: Key Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Stewed Beef), Berbere Roasted Carrots, Fennel & Mint, and Pumpkin Spice Dabo Kolo (Ethiopian Pumpkin Spice Ricotta Donuts).

Final Thoughts: We really enjoyed this month's RawSpiceBar. Changing the recipes a bit was a good call because otherwise it might have been too spicy. One thing we wish for RawSpiceBar to add to their recipes is a spicy rating. They can use chiles for example. This way we can have a guesstimate of how spicy the dishes would be. We were a bit surprised to find typos on the information cards. Roasted was spelled wrong and for the donut recipe it called for butter when it should have been baking powder. We get it, mistakes happen, but it just seems a bit sloppy. Overall, this month's spices are pretty darn good. We are looking forward to remaking these dishes as well as trying some others!

Where to purchase:

Use code RAKFLAVOR: for $5 off your first subscription or any 6 or 12 months gift order.

Giveaway time! One winner will receive a 4-month subscription to RawSpiceBar.

Important Rules and Information
  • To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter widget below. This giveaway is open internationally except where prohibited by law. The full terms and services can be found in the Rafflecopter widget. 
  • The prize is one (1) 4-month subscription to RawSpiceBar. Retailing $24.
  • The giveaway ends on December 25, 2015 at 11:59pm PST and one winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.
  • Each entry method may be done once per person except for retweets, which may be done once per person per day. 
  • The winner will be contacted via e-mail and has 48 hours to respond in order to claim their prize. If the first winner does not respond within the 48 hours, another winner will be drawn at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading and good luck everyone!

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Until next time~

~ Helen and Michelle

Disclaimer: This product was sent to us for review purposes, however, all opinions are honest and our own. We were not compensated in any other way. RawSpiceBar is the sponsor of this giveaway. This post contains affiliate link, full disclaimer here.


  1. I adore spices! I want to try them all.
    I think SUMAC & HERBS would be perfect.

    1. Ooo, this spice blend sounds perfect with red meat~ Good luck!

  2. I love trying out new spices, Shichimi Togarashi looks very interesting!

    1. I was reading about this spice blend. Sounds like it can be a great pairing with lots of dishes!

  3. I have a huge obsession with herbs and spices. I LOVE trying new ones! The Mast-O-Khiar Rose & Herbs from the Persian box sounds awesome!

    1. We love spices too! It's a great way to spice up an old dish and make it with a twist. That Mast-O-Khiar Rose & Herbs sounds awesome indeed. We use dried rose buds in our tea often but never thought about using it in cooking.

  4. They all sounds yummy but its the Triple Ice Cream Spices and the Kaffir Lime Blend that's pique'ing my interest. I love this idea of sending spices and a recipe to try something that might be out of a person's comfort zone in the kitchen. I hope they improve on those recipe card typos.


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