Featured, Ingredients, Kitchen Fodder, Main Course, Salads, Side Dishes
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On the road to Persia – with Raw Spice Bar©

To be all legit & legal  – We were offered a free sample of the Rawspicebar.com March Spice Blend to try out. Any insights, opinions, and general impressions are all our own.

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You all know I don’t dance for just any company out there. I have standards… and rules. So, for some company to approach me (even after reading my disclosure) and ask me to review their product… well, it’s a big thing in my book.

Rawspicebar.com is a limited, small batch production spice outfit. For a nominal fee, they will ship a monthly selection of three to four unique spices and blends from a geographic area on the map. The monthly selections aren’t pre-listed on their site so it is always a mystery until the pack arrives.

 

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Some months ago, I received a message to check out their website and get back to them if I would like a free sample of their spice blends. After some serious reviewing, I agreed  – and received their March Shipment which consisted of:

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 Saffron Threads

Mast – O – Khiar Herbs –  a blend of Dill, Mint, Rose Petals, and Black Peppercorns.

Advieh Khoresht – a Persian staple spice blend consisting of Rose Petals, Cinnamon, Green Cardamom, Angelica, Powdered Persian Lime, Coriander, Cumin, and Black Peppercorns.

Additionally, there are recipe cards utilizing  the spices – intended to create a complete Persian celebration for 8 to 10 adventurous diners.

This is not your grocery store variety thing. These are heady, potent spices. And while they only give you just enough to prepare the provided dishes, it’s enough of a sample to let you decide if you really like them… or not. Personally, with the exception of Saffron (which I felt was a tad light compared to the other spices.  Actually, I augmented the saffron and doubled the amount with some I already had in the pantry), the amount of spice you get is more than you actually need – given the nature of the ingredients.

Now, my intention was to cook their recipes. Seriously.. it really was. But there were issues I had to contend with.  And as it happens, while I  was doing the mulling over, I decided that it might be better to use more Western food stuffs to show what an average family can actually do with the spice blends, and not feel obligated to make totally unfamiliar dishes with (what can be) rather pricey ingredients. Below you’ll find how we adapted the given recipes to create a Persian-esque Celebration.

So… is it worth the $6 a month? Hands down, a resounding yes.

Raw Spice Bar offers you the opportunity to eat outside your comfort zone. It gives you the chance to take a particular spice and regional cuisine out for a test spin without investing an inordinate amount of money in a spice, only to find out you really hate it… much too late.

And because… The Raw Spice Bar cats are helpful cool folks…. you don’t see that very often. So, stop by their site and give them some lovin’. Hell… sign up for a 3, 6, or 12 month program… it’s not a lot of cash out of your pocket.. and you just might find your new Spice Best Friend.


Spice Bar

The Recipes

 Braised Chicken with Advieh

Advieh Chicken

Our heaviest meal of the day is lunch. With the main course being lamb shanks, I felt I needed to lighten things up a bit. So on our take of their recipe (which you can find on the rawspicebar.com site) has been remade with chicken thighs and a lighter hand on the blend.

Braised Chicken with Advieh

Ingredients

4 Large Chicken Thighs (Bone in, Skin On)

1 Large Onion – Diced

2 Cloves Garlic – Minced

3 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade

2 Tablespoons Raw Spice Bar© Advieh Koresht

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Pepper

1 Tablespoon Oil

Tools of the Trade

9″ x 9″ Deep Casserole

Frying Pan

Tongs

Tin Foil

Instructions

Coat the Chicken with 1/2 of the spice and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in the frying pan – brown the chicken thighs (skin side down) until lightly browned (about 5 to 8 minutes)

Flip over and sear the bottom side.

Preheat the oven to 335 Degrees

Lift the chicken out of the pan and place skin side up in the casserole dish

Add the onions and garlic to the pan you browned the chicken and saute until the onions are slightly translucent.

Add the rest of the Advieh spice, the marmalade, the stock, salt and pepper and bring to a light boil.

Pour over the chicken, cover tightly with foil, and braise in the oven at 335 degrees for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes to crisp up the skin a bit.

Set aside until ready to serve

Mast-O-Khiar with Tomatoes and Avocado

Mastokhiar

We used the blend to make a type of  ranch dressing for sliced tomatoes and cooling avocado

Mast-O-Khiar “Ranch” Dressing

Makes 1 Cup

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

1/2 Cup Whole Buttermilk

1 Tablespoon Raw Spice Bar© Mast-O-Khiar Spice Blend

Procedure – Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sabzi Polow with Rice, Fresh Peas and Lentils

Sabzi Polow

I’ll be honest – I’m not a fan of fava beans; taste and texture just get the best of me. We’ve remade the traditional dish substituting Early Spring Peas, Lentils and replaced the dill with Parsley. It’s still fantastically delicious… just not terribly traditional.

Sabzi Polow with Rice, Fresh Peas and Lentils

 Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Basmati Rice (raw)

5 Cups Water

1 Cup Dry Lentils

1 Cup Fresh Early Peas

1 Cup Parsley – Chopped

1 Teaspoon Dill Seed

2 Cloves Garlic – Minced

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Butter

1/2 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Whole Cultured Buttermilk

1 Packet Raw Spice Bar© Saffron Threads

Tools of the Trade:

2 Medium Sauce Pans with lids

Measuring Cups & Spoons

Mixing Bowl

Parchment Paper

Tin Foil

  • Place the saffron threads in 1/2 Cup boiling water for 5 minutes to steep. In a mixing bowl, add the saffron liquid, buttermilk, and a pinch of salt; mix well and set aside.
  • Bring the  5 cups of water to a boil, add the rice and boil for 8 minutes, Drain the rice (retaining the liquid) and add to the saffron / buttermilk mixture – stir well to combine.
  • Put the liquid back on the boil and add the peas and lentils – boil for 12 minutes, Drain and discard the liquid.
  • Add the garlic, parsley and dill seed to the peas and lentils – stir to combine.
  • Place a square of parchment paper in the bottom of a medium sauce pan. Add the water, oil and butter on top. Heat over medium high heat until the butter melts – then cut to low (1 on electric).
  • Place the saffron rice mixture on top of the parchment paper and smooth to an even layer. Spoon the pea mixture carefully on top of the saffron. Smooth the layer and lightly pack down.
  • Place a square of tin foil over the top and secure with the pan lid.
  • Cook on low for 70 minutes (that’s 1 hour + 10 minutes) DO NOT remove the lid during the cooking time.
  • Remove the lid and foil, placing a plate over the top, invert the polow on the plate and carefully remove the parchment paper.

Serve with Chicken Advieh and a tomato / avocado salad with Mast-o-Khiar Ranch

Spice Bar

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. platefodder says

    We have since signed on and paid for a 6 month subscription – we’ll keep you all up to date on how it goes.

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