Ready to eat indian food reviews: Ready to Eat – MTR FOODS

Ready to Eat – MTR FOODS

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Orkla Foods strengthens its presence in India with the acquisition of Eastern Condiments 

4thSeptember, 2020 Bangalore Orkla has entered into an agreement to acquire 67.8 per cent of the shares in Eastern Condiments Private Limited (“Eastern”). With this move, Orkla will double its sales in India.

Orkla already holds a strong position in the Indian branded food market with the well-known MTR brand which has grown its sales five-fold since it was acquired by Orkla in 2007. For the last 12 months ending 30 June 2020, MTR had a turnover of INR 9.2 billion (approx. NOK 1.1 billion). With the transaction announced today, Orkla will grow its position as one of the leading branded food players in India and have a platform for further growth in the spice category and in adjacent categories

Today, Orkla, through its wholly owned subsidiary MTR Foods Private Limited (“MTR”), has signed agreements to purchase a 41.8per cent ownership stake in Eastern from members of the Meeran family and to acquire the entire ownership stake held by McCormick Ingredients SE Asia PTE. Ltd (“McCormick”), which will give Orkla a 67.8per cent ownership stake after completion of the transactions. Eastern is currently owned by the Meeran family (74 per cent) and McCormick (26 per cent). 

Following completion of these transactions, a merger application will be filed with the intention of merging Eastern into Orkla’s wholly owned subsidiary MTR. The merged company will be jointly owned by Orkla and the two brothers Firoz and NavasMeeran, with an ownership stake of 90.01 per cent and 9.99 per cent respectively. 

The merger will result in the union of two iconic Indian brands. The merged business will create a solid base for future growth in the Indian branded food market, driven by the positions of Eastern and MTR in spices and packaged food categories. With this transaction Orkla will establish a platform for further growth in India in several categories.

The parties have agreed on a purchase price that values Eastern (100 per cent) at INR 20 billion (approx. NOK 2.4 billion) on a debt and cash free basis. The acquirer is Orkla’s wholly owned subsidiary MTR Foods Private Limited.

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Taste Of India II – Reviews



April 26, 2012


When New Dorp’s Taste of India II opened in 1990, the curries and unique cuisine (for the borough) certainly stood out. And, no matter how busy was the single room which, at the time, comfortably held about 50 guests among smartly arranged booths, the restaurant maintained a placid feel about it.
Taste of India recently expanded into the next storefront with a glass-curtain facade, taking over the former Lento’s, and, in effect, doubling its seating. At the time of our visits only two dining rooms were ready to receive guests — a stretch of bar with lounge-like seating for a la carte service and a separate space with a few booths at the back of the restaurant, an area designated for families looking for a more private setting. An overhaul of the “old” space is in the works.
That front area is striking — architectural, very comfortable and decidedly clubby — with squeaky-clean shiny surfaces and a black wall punctuated with illuminated blue squares. That field of light is intense, almost glaring depending on where you sit. Yet the blue hue cast over the room doesn’t necessarily do the beautiful looking food justice
Yes, that food — Taste of India’s kitchen is just as outstanding as it was in its inaugural days on the dining scene. Meals still begin with complimentary pappadam (additional orders are $2 each), round and bumpy legume crackers fueled by cumin and a touch of salt. The crispy snack can be used like a potato chip with three accouterments: cilantro-mint sauce, coarsely chopped onion chutney mixed with chilies and a vivid red colored tomatoey paste plus a sweet-on-tang tamarind preparation. Those precursors ready the appetite for the meal.
By the way, heat in dishes stems from what is requested of the kitchen. And, servers are more than likely to coach patrons on what are their expectations for spice levels
Regulars of the restaurant may start with Vegetable, Meat or Taste of India platters, combinations of some of the kitchen’s most popular appetizers, generally fried. The Veggie version includes flaky, potato-filled samosas, onion fritters (great with that onion-chili chutney) and palak tikki with spinach and coriander (ideal with that cilantro-mint sauce.) One app special featured Eggplant Pakora, or eggplant “fritters” coated and gently fried in chick pea-flour tempura.
Mouthwatering Special Nan bread is baked with almond bits and raisins, Shahi Nan with coconut and sunflower seeds and Garlic Nan brushed with ghee and chopped fresh garlic. Gobhi Parantha, a special whole-wheat bread disc offered one evening, was “stuffed” with a light layer of cauliflower and onions — all delicious, fresh and piping hot from the tandoor.
The house’s basic Biryani (rice) is the powerhouse for vegetables, chicken, shrimp, goat or combinations thereof. Occasional grains are flecked yellow with saffron and woven with flavors from the likes of bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and clove.

In general, curry combos (try the Gosht Eggplant with lamb or goat) are well balanced, seasoned with fresh curry leaves. Chicken Mahkni is rich and buttery, with poultry chunks smothered in a tomato-based medium sweetened by raisins and enhanced with a cashew crunch.

Palak Paneer — a pureed, garlicky spinach dish offset by creamy bits of paneer — was tasty but a bit shy on the cheese cubes. Taste of India Chicken (a special) featured tender, moist pieces of white meat cooked in a yellow curry — an excellent dish as was a basic Tandoor Chicken paired with copious semi-caramelized onion slivers.

Finish the meal with Kheer (rice pudding made with basmati,) Carrot Halwa (carrot basmati pudding), Gulab Jamun (sticky and refreshing, rose syrup-covered cheese balls) or assorted ice creams. Of course, there is no better way to douse a fire on the palate than with a yogurt-based, frappe-like lassi, ideally one whipped with honey and rose water.

Add consistent food to seamless service plus sincere hospitality and now you’re talking about a great place. Despite the transition from a small, 22-year old spot into an expanded, modernized space, Taste of India hasn’t lost its charm or serenity

Where to Find the Best Indian Food in Boston Right Now

Find your new favorite spot for chicken tikka masala, lamb tandoori, and other classic and modern plates.


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A spread of food at Shanti in Cambridge. / Photo provided

Hungry to discover a new favorite restaurant in your neighborhood? Spice up your life with our top picks for Indian cuisine around the city—it’ll guide you toward the best chicken tikka masala, lamb tandoori, and other taste bud-alighting dishes in every neighborhood.

Dosa-n-Curry

An entirely vegan enterprise near Somerville’s Union Square, Dosa-n-Curry lives up to its name: There’s plenty of dosas (rice pancakes) wrapped around fillings like curry leaf-spiced onion masala. But the menu covers pretty wide ground—including a variety of breads, from kulcha to naan, as well as Indo-Chinese specialties such as Manchurian-style gobi, or fried cauliflower.

447 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-764-3152, dosa-n-curry.com.

Himalayan Bistro

This West Roxbury institution has helped define what Nepali and Indian dining can be in Boston, with a breadth of fresh roti breads, dosa, addictive fried pakora and plump momo, and other Himalayan comforts. In late 2018, the owners expanded into Newton Center with a second restaurant called House of Tandoor.

1735 Centre St., West Roxbury, 617-325-3500, himalayanbistro.net.

Himalayan Kitchen

There are plenty of Indian eats and then some at this Union Square storefront, where generous helpings of goat biryani, tandoori tangri chicken, and house-made momo are available alongside classic American eats: think steak tips, barbecue chicken, baby back ribs, and chicken Parmesan subs. Cross-continental mashups, meanwhile, happen in the form of pizzas topped with Buffalo chicken or tikka masala and paneer cheese, as well as  fire-roasted Punjabi-style chicken wings served with mint and fiery chili sauce.

40 Bow St., Union Square, Somerville, 617-623-9068, himalayankitchenma.com.

India Pavilion. / Photo via Facebook

India Pavilion

A Central Square landmark for more than 40 years, this spot has had ample time to hone its North Indian entrées. You can taste that devotion in dishes such as the lamb vindaloo, chicken korma, or just about anything served during the daily lunch buffet.

17 Central Sq., Cambridge, 617-547-7463, indiapavilion.co.

India Quality

This North Indian spot is tucked a few steps underground in Kenmore Square—where, if you ask us, it’s still the single best restaurant in a neighborhood that has undergone dramatic transformation over the years. Decades after opening, India Quality still serves up delightful specialties ranging from beef bhuna (a thick curry with onions and tomatoes), to deeply savory goat curry (just watch out for bones!). Save room for sweets like milky kheer pudding, and house-made kulfi ice cream. And when in Allston, check out sibling restaurant Punjab Palace, where they’re happy to hike up the heat on your veggie and meat curries when you pull up a seat to order and catch a Bollywood flick on one of the restaurant’s TVs.

484 Commonwealth Ave., Fenway/Kenmore, 617-267-4499, indiaquality.com; Punjab Palace, 109 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-254-1500, punjabpalace.com.

Photo courtesy of Madras Dosa Co.

Madras Dosa Co.

Considering the fast clip of new openings in recent years, Boston’s corporate office-stuffed Seaport neighborhood will soon have a lunch break-friendly, fast-casual restaurant for every taste. Most recently joining the well-fed party is Madras, which debuted in June by raining 30 different kinds of dosa down on our eager, open mouths. The crispy, thin rice and lentil pancakes are filled with everything from spicy potatoes, peppers, and podi (a so-called “gunpowder” of dried chilies, black gram, and more) to sweet Indian fruit jams and porridge-like upma (an Indian polenta), as well.

55 Boston Wharf Rd., Boston, 857-233-5188, madrasdosaco.com.

The Maharaja

A collective gasp fell over Cambridge when a fire temporarily shuttered this sparkling institution a few years back. Luckily, the team quickly rebounded to continue dishing out tandoori specialties and vegetarian fare. The second-story view of Harvard Square and the ornate Indian décor still draws crowds—as does the stacked daily lunch buffet, and the full bar with drinks like rum-spiked mango lassi.

57 John F. Kennedy St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-547-2757, maharajaboston.com.

Masala Square

Why, yes—you can take home an “I Love Samosa” t-shirt from this relative newcomer to Somerville’s Union Square. (It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping!) Importantly, you can also eat samosa here, including the vegan “Supreme” samosas, served with herby garbanzo beans, as well as crispy purses filled with veggie-friendly Impossible “meat.” The largely gluten-free lineup of eats includes plenty for carnivores too, though, including tandoori-style tilapia plus vindaloo, korma, and other curries that can be prepared with goat, chicken, and more.

23 Union Sq., Somerville, 617-666-9770, masalasquaresomerville.com. 

Mehak Halal Cuisine

This halal haunt is cash-only, tiny, and a tad unassuming from the outside. But once you bite into a fresh and flaky samosa, or get a whiff of the curries the kitchen is cooking up, you’ll see why Eastie locals continue to flock to this Jeffries Point gem.

329 Sumner St., East Boston, 617-567-1900, mehakhalalcuisine.com.

Naan at Mela in the South End. / Photo by snowpea&bokchoi via Flickr/Creative Commons

Mela

The South End spot has no shortage of house-made breads, vegetarian options, and modern specialties like pork vindaloo, and the vegan-friendly subz panchmael, a cardamom-scented stir-fry of peppers, artichokes, asparagus.

578 Tremont St., South End, 617-859-4805, melaboston.com.

Passage to India

A large selection of snackable pakoras set the stage for house specialties like goat madras, cooked with potatoes and ginger, as well as the bhindi masala with okra. If you find yourself up north, opt to visit the restaurant’s other outpost in Salem.

1900 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, 617-497-6113, passageindia.com; 157 Washington St., Salem, 978-832-2200, passagetoindiasalem.com.

Punjabi Dhaba

Indian food cart-style trays heaped with steaming vindaloo, assorted chaatstuffed parathas, and more make it easy to see why this small Inman Square spot is always so busy. The unpretentious eatery—a sister spot to stalwart India Pavilion—serves up some of the city’s finest Punjabi-style snacks, curries, and breads.

225 Hampshire St., Cambridge, 617-547-8272, punjabidhaba.co.

Shanti Restaurant

Note: Shanti’s Cambridge location is temporarily closed. 

With locations in Dorchester, Roslindale, and Cambridge, seeking out Shanti is the easy part. Choosing what to eat from the sprawling menu of fragrant bhuna, korma, and jhalfrezi (a thick, green chili-spiced curry) dishes is a bit more difficult.

1111 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-929-3900, and other locations, shantiboston.com.

Surya Indian Kitchen + Catering. / Photo via Facebook

Surya Indian Kitchen + Catering

Cambridgeport gained an Indian spot in 2016, which immediately found a cult following with locals, largely due to attention to customers’ dietary restrictions: all dishes are gluten-free, and all meats are certified halal. Try a Hyderabadi-style biryani with a cooling raita, or the hearty lentil daal.

114 Magazine St., Cambridge, 617-945-5489, suryaindiancaterers.com.

Tikki Masala

The menu at this Jamaica Plain go-to has it all: garlicky goat korma, tangy vindaloo, plenty of paneer, and much more. The restaurant’s South Indian roots especially shine through with its assortment of crispy dosa and vada lentil doughnuts.

3706 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-942-2966, tikki-masala.com.

Vaisakhi Indian Restaurant

Its name refers to a traditional harvest festival, and this Brighton spot certainly brings a bounty of Punjabi cuisine: chaat, biryani, and tandoori specialties, to name a few. There’s lots of lamb, in particular, used for korma-, vindaloo-, and saag-style preparations.

157 Sutherland Rd., Brighton, 617-487-8941, vaisakhiboston.com. 

Zam Zam

Halal Pakistani and Indian cuisine await at this Best of Boston-worthy restaurant that merits a trip to Medford. Spicy fried tilapia? Check. Mutton haleem? It’s here. And there’s even a few fine desserts—like gulab jamun, syrup-soaked fried wheat and milk balls—to end things on a sweet note.

42 Riverside Ave., Medford, 781-391-1200, zamzamcuisine.com.


We Tried And Ranked Every Single Trader Joe’s Frozen Meal

Rijuta Agarwal / Alexandra Folino

Trader Joe’s frozen food aisle is reason enough to shop exclusively at the low-budget grocery store: Almost all of the meals cost less than $5, and you could eat lunch and dinner there for weeks without repeating a meal—a fact I learned during my lengthy quest to rank every single frozen meal available. Since TJ’s frozen food section is aggressively large, there had to be some parameters: I limited the frozen foods to what could be considered a full meal on its own, meaning none of the chicken patties, veggie burgers, appetizers, or desserts were included. Also excluded: cauliflower gnocchi, which might just be one of the best items Trader Joe’s has ever created.

With the help of some very kind taste-testing friends, I tried everything in Trader Joe’s frozen food aisle. Here’s how the meals stack up, from the few you should skip to the ones you’ll want to buy in bulk.

Shells with Brie and Apsaragus

This was rough. I LOVE brie, but the big frozen chunk that came in this was not appealing, and it tasted gummy once it was mixed in.

BBQ Chicken Teriyaki

This was a unanimous no among the taste testers. The chicken had a weird, chewy texture, and while the sauce was decent, it still didn’t make up for the meat.

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

One tester said these tasted like “warm mush.” Overall, too much tortilla, not enough cheese or filling. You’re better off making one fresh.

Beef Steak Burritos

The meat is decent here, but the burritos were mushy. These were tested in the microwave, so baking them might have better results, but if you’re going for speed/convenience, Chipotle might win out.

Steak and Stout Pies

These taste delicious, but I cannot in good faith recommend anything that has 800 calories inside one tiny pie. That said, they’re so freaking good, so you do you.

Three Cheese Pizza

The range in TJ’s pizzas is nuts. This one tasted artificial and came out runny, with a cardboard-ish crust. Fear not: Some of the other pizzas are in the top 10.

Four Cheese Pizza

This one also had a cardboard-like crust, but the cheese tasted less artificial, so it ranked a tad higher.

Chicken and Mushroom Pelmeni

This frozen pasta is fine, but it doesn’t have much flavor to it. You’d definitely want to add a sauce or at least a drizzle of olive oil over a bowl.

Gnocchi alla Forrentina

Again, this one’s not bad, but it’s about what you’d expect from frozen gnocchi. The tomato sauce and mozzarella help, but the taste is still pretty bland.

Shiitake Mushroom Chicken

The smell is a little funky here, and several testers weren’t a fan of the sauce. It does have a solid amount of veggies though — edamame, green beans, and shiitake mushrooms, obvs.

Farfalle With Cheese and Spinach

Like the previous pasta, this one is fine, but you can definitely make noodles that are just as good without much more effort. It took a while to heat up (five minutes, which is simply too long in my microwave-lunch book, though feel free to disagree). In a pinch (and with a little chicken), it’ll do.

Honey Walnut Shrimp

There’s a surprising amount of shrimp in the bag, and the walnuts are a nice touch. Go easy on the sauce though: Across the board, you can probably make do with about half the sauce packets in the frozen meats and shrimps.

Pizza Margherita

This one’s definitely a step up from the three- and four-cheese pizzas. It’s a decent pie, with a crunchy crust and more flavor than you’d expect from a stripped-down pie. If you’re looking for a frozen pizza, it’s a good grab.

Chicken Enchiladas

My main qualm with these is that they didn’t heat very easily, but other than that, they’re just what you’d expect. Add a little salsa or hot sauce for more flavor.

Vegetable Burritos

Other than the surprising lack of cheese (as in, there’s none), these are a pretty good lunch option. They’re filled with tomatoes, potato, corn, onion, broccoli, and black beans. If you have the time, cooking them in the oven works better, but they were still pretty good in the microwave.

Yellow Jackfruit Curry with Jasmine Rice

I didn’t know what jackfruit was prior to eating this, but I was very into this vegetarian meal. It’s supposed to have the same texture as pulled pork, and it delivered. There was also more curry than rice, which is not always the case in frozen meals.

Ricotta and Spinach Tortelloni

This one’s got a solid amount of veggies, and all you have to do is microwave and stir. I’d definitely buy it again.

Gnocchi al Gorgonzola

These smell and taste heavily of gorgonzola, so if you don’t like the cheese, stay away. Otherwise, you’ll love it, especially with peas and prosciutto.

Fettuccine with Mushrooms

These come in cute little nests of noodles, which makes it easier to portion out meals if you’re not making it all at once. The mushroom sauce was light but creamy, and it was super easy to make … just throw it all in a big pan and you’re good to go.

Vegetable Biryani

This is definitely one of the best vegetarian options at TJ’s. It takes a little longer than the directions say to heat through, but the dumplings are good and the rice and veggies have a kick to them.

Chicken Chow Mein

This might give your Chinese takeout order a run for its money, especially since it’s super easy to make. It tastes like fancy Top Ramen and has a fair amount of veggies. Go forth.

Spinach and Ricotta Pizza

This wasn’t the best frozen pizza I’ve ever had, but it made for a solid dinner, and is obviously very easy to make. Unlike the plain pies, I didn’t feel the need to add anything on top, aside from some red pepper flakes.

Chicken Pot Pie

This was way better than expected for a frozen pot pie. The crust was soft and flaky, and there was a good amount of veggies and chicken inside. It’s not the healthiest of options, but it does taste good.

Lamb Vindaloo

I was a little skeptical about frozen lamb, but this was surprisingly good, and it had a higher meat-to-rice ratio than I was expecting.

Spelt Risotto

The texture is a bit chewier than regular risotto, and the spelt gives it a slightly nutty taste that works with the chickpeas and creamy sauce. Make this with a group, though — the next-day leftovers didn’t hold up.

Vegetable Pad Thai

Super easy to make and way cheaper than delivery. If you’re not vegetarian, add leftover chicken or some shrimp to make it more filling.

Reduced-Guilt Baked Ziti

Think of these as the Lean Cuisines of Trader Joe’s. The reduced-guilt meals taste pretty good and don’t make you feel like you’re eating something lighter.

Reduced-Guilt Mac and Cheese

Ditto what I said above. It’s still cheesy and creamy, and left us feeling less gross than a big box of the regular stuff.

Kung Pao Chicken

Of the bagged meats, this one had the best consistency and overall taste. It feels healthier than takeout, and it wasn’t overly spicy.

Saucy Scallops With Mushrooms

These were a surprise hit—they’re super rich and creamy, but the mushrooms and peas help you feel like you’re getting some nutrients in your meal, too.

Korma Fish Curry

I was also a little skeptical of a frozen fish entrée (though in hindsight, fish sticks are great, so this is silly), but TJ’s came through. Their Indian food always hits! This dish is super filling and has a pretty solid meat-to-rice ratio.

Ricotta and Spinach Filled Ravioli

I’m partial to Trader Joe’s fresh ravioli (find them near the deli meats and cheeses), but these are pretty solid too. It comes with ravioli pieces and frozen blocks of tomato sauce which melt out pretty quickly and evenly. Plus, you can get three to four meals out of it if you add a protein.

Channa Masala

Vegetarians, this is such a clutch meal to have on hand. The chickpeas are super filling and there’s more protein than rice, which is a rare find. Overall, Trader Joe’s Indian meals are on point.

Beef and Broccoli

Another solid take-out replacement, especially since beef and broccoli is such a staple combo. There was a pretty even amount of each, and the sauce is as advertised — sweet and a little spicy.

Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese

Opinions were split on this one, but if you like your food spicy, you’ll be a fan — it’s way more flavorful than plain mac and cheese.

Chicken Fried Rice

You can make it in five minutes, and it tastes way less greasy than take-out. Definitely a winner.

Chicken and Vegetable Wonton Soup

This is the only frozen soup Trader Joe’s had during my test, and it held its own. Good for when you’re craving wonton soup, but not a whole Chinese takeout delivery.

Vegan Tikka Masala

It’s not as good as the chicken version, but if you’re vegan, it’s obviously the perfect replacement. It’s made with a wheat gluten and soy substitute, and the texture is more like chicken than tofu. Big fan of the cumin-flavored Basmati rice.

Stacked Eggplant Parmesan

Way better than you’d expect from a frozen eggplant parm! And if you’re cooking for one (or even two), it’s nice not to have to go through the whole process of making your own from scratch.

Roasted Vegetable Multi-Grain Lasagna

This is one of the more expensive frozen meals at TJ’s, but for good reason. The lasagna is massive and could feed a big group or make for a week of leftovers.

Family Style Meat Lasagna

Same as above re: size, but the meat gives it extra flavor and makes it taste more like a classic lasagna.

Seafood Paella

Like lamb, don’t let the frozen seafood put you off. There’s a lot of protein in here, and the rice and sauce is buttery and flavorful. Fair warning, it will make your kitchen smell like a fish market for the night.

Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese Bowl

Pizza mac and cheese is everything you could want on an especially bad day. This was my favorite of the mac and cheeses, although those who don’t like pepperoni were obviously partial to the more traditional bowls.

Butter Chicken

Like I said before, TJ’s knows how to do Indian food. The spices taste pretty on par with what you’d get in a restaurant, and there’s a good amount of chicken and curry.

Riced Cauliflower Bowl

For just a couple bucks, you’ve got a whole, healthy meal. OK, I added a fried egg on top because I was eating it for breakfast, but it’s solid on its own too. Plus, it heats up in three minutes tops.

Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry

I was very excited to try this one, and it didn’t disappoint. The texture isn’t the same as regular fried rice, but the overall taste will definitely satisfy your fried rice craving.

Four Cheese Mac ‘n Cheese

A classic, and 100% better than the grocery store boxed kind — you can actually taste the four cheeses.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

One of the healthiest options, and so easy to make. Dump it all in a pot and wait for it to heat through. You’ll probably want to eat it with a grain, though.

Burrata, Prosciutto, and Arugula Flatbread

UGH so good. The red peppers were juicy, prosciutto is always a good idea, and it was overall a good balance of crispy and cheesy. This is the ideal frozen pizza — er, flatbread.

Chicken Burrito Bowl

One of Trader Joe’s newer frozen meals is absolutely a winner. It tastes like a Chipotle bowl and costs about half as much.

Cuban Style Citrus Garlic Bowl

If you think TJ’s Chicken Burrito Bowl is good, just wait until you try this one. The plantains and citrus sauce make the meal feel bright and light.

Paneer Tikka Masala

The cubes of cheese hold up surprisingly well in the microwave, and the spinach basmati rice should be in all the Indian dishes.

Vegetable Panang Curry

Aside from the lack of spice, this bowl was one of my favorites … the rice comes out fluffy, there are a ton of veggies, and it’s vegan, so the creamy sauce won’t weigh you down.

Sriracha Shrimp Bowl

Another newbie, this bowl is a go-to frozen lunch. It’s made with brown rice, Asian-style veggies, and a good amount of shrimp.

Spicy Thai Shrimp Fried Rice

Byeeee, take-out. This shrimp fried rice is so flavorful, especially when you get a bite with the Thai lime leaves. The bag will last you a few days, and it’s easy enough to make in batches if you don’t want to cook it all at once.

Mandarin Orange Chicken

There’s a reason this has been Trader Joe’s top-selling item for years: It’s pretty freaking delicious, and the only reason it’s not ranked number one is that it’s not really an entire meal on it’s own. With that said, you could definitely take down half the bag and feel more than full.

Mushroom and Black Truffle Flatbread

The flatbreads without a doubt take down the pizzas, as proven by this UNREAL mushroom truffle number. It’s a true struggle to not add one of these to my cart every time I shop at TJ’s.

Chicken Tikka Masala

*DRUMROLL* Coming in first place … chicken tikka masala! It’s truly the gold star of frozen food, and as good, if not better than, any take-out meal you could order. Plus, it’s ready in less than five minutes. If you haven’t tried it yet, prepare to be obsessed.

Madison Flager
Lifestyle Editor
Madison Flager is the Lifestyle Editor at Delish.com; she covers food news and trends, travel-worthy food experiences, and the products you need in your kitchen right now.

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Kitchens Of India Indian Food







 

A bowl of curry nestled in classic Indian spices: cloves, pepper, curry, fennel, garam masala, ginger powder and yellow lentils, which are staples in Northern Indian cuisine. Photo by Christopher Bishop | Dreamstime.





WHAT IT IS: High-quality, heat-and-serve Indian main and/or side dishes.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Very high quality for a very low price. Seven vegetarian varieties. The line extends beyond the shelf-stable foods in this review, to chutneys, curry pastes and frozen meals.
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s like having an Indian restaurant in the pantry—but so much less expensive and more convenient. Whenever we want Indian food, we can have it in 5 to 10 minutes.
WHERE TO BUY IT: KitchensOfIndia.com.

Kitchens Of India:

A Feast In Your Kitchen

CAPSULE REPORT: Do you like Indian food but don’t have enough opportunities to enjoy it? Are you not very familiar with Indian food, perhaps because there isn’t much of it where you live? Kitchens of India is about to change all that, and make an excellent Indian meal as commonplace in your home as a good pasta dinner. And you don’t even need to boil water, since it’s all microwaveable.

We love Indian food, and live in a town where there’s plenty of it; so we are particularly fussy about what we eat. Now, instead of trying to schedule a trip to midtown, we head to our kitchen, grab a bag or three of Kitchens of India ready-to-eat dishes and microwave a feast (the bags can be boiled, or the contents heated in a pan, as well). Meat, poultry or seafood can be added to augment these vegetarian dishes. But the recipes are so complex and savory, few will notice the absence of meat. Why not plan an Indian buffet in your home? Find an inexpensive tablecloth in jewel colors, get a good CD or two for background music and rent a Bollywood blockbuster, for a new spin on “dinner and a movie.” At $2.99 apiece, Kitchens of India won’t break the bank. The  line is certified kosher; most are vegan/pareve. Read more and see the photos in the full review below.

     


THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review

or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Easy Indian Cooking




5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices, by Ruta Kahate. Make your introduction to Indian cooking simple, by mastering 50 dishes that require only five easily-available spices. Click here for more information or to purchase. Easy Indian Cookbook: The Step-by-Step Guide to Deliciously Easy Indian Food at Home, by Manju Malhi. The book includes a CD of Indian music, to cook to and serve with. This should be a standard with cookbooks, going forward! Click here for more information or to purchase. Quick & Easy Indian Cookery, by Madhur Jaffrey. Jaffrey is the grand dame of Indian cookbooks. Many of her works are out-of-print, but grab them whenever you see them. Here, she makes difficult dishes seem easy. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Kitchens Of India: A Feast In

Your Kitchen

Introduction

You generally don’t find food this good produced by huge companies. Kitchens of India is a brand of ITC Limited, one of India’s largest companies, with chains of hotels, restaurants, retail stores, consumer goods and agribusiness. Think of it as a mini Altria Group of India, a multinational corporation that makes everything from cigarettes to India’s version of Kraft Foods, producing leading consumer food brands. ITC hotels, one of the leading luxury hotel chains in India, is well-known for its gourmet restaurants Bukhara, Dakshin, Dum Pukht and Gharana, named after regional cuisines of India. Visiting dignitaries, heads of state (including William Jefferson Clinton) and royalty have dined on their authentic regional cuisine. And now, the same master chefs who create the cuisine for ITC have created the Kitchens of India line of shelf-stable,* heat-and-eat specialties, using the same recipes and cooking techniques.          *No refrigeration required.


The Indian subcontinent is a large peninsula, south of the Himalaya Mountains that includes the republic of India as well as the nations of Bangladesh (the dark green area wedged in between the lighter green, yellow and red areas of India that are west of Burma on the map, Bhutan and Nepal at the very north, and Pakistan at the west. The large island off the right (eastern) of tip of the subcontinent is Sri Lanka, previously known as Ceylon. Afghanistan is to the west, China to the north, and Myanmar (Burma) to the east. Map courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

And, the food is really good. With seven choices (and hopefully, more to come), you no longer have to find an Indian restaurant. Just find Kitchens of India—you can order it online, and there is national retail distribution—and the food festival starts in your kitchen. Maharajahs ate these dishes, so your own princely palate will be well served.

Introduction To Indian Cuisine

First an introduction to Indian cuisine. It’s a huge country—so huge that it’s been called a “subcontinent.” The area comprises 1,269,346 square miles and a population estimated at 1.12 billion in 2007 (the U.S. is about three times larger, at 3,794,066 square miles and one-third the population, an estimated 303,580,000 in 2008).

A  Word About Curry

When most Americans think of Indian food, the first thing that pops to mind is curry. But thinking of Indian food as “curry” is like thinking of American food as steak with a baked potato. It’s just one dish out of many that are enjoyed nationwide, and some variations are never seen outside their region (a chicken-fried steak doesn’t appear outside of the Southern United States, except at Southern-style restaurants).

The dish appears to have originated in East India; although the the word “curry” (kari) itself dates back to 1590–1600 in the Tamil language of Southern India, where it originally meant a spiced sauce or relish for rice. Today, curry dishes are made all over the country, pungent dishes of meat, seafood or vegetables flavored with curry powder, and usually eaten with rice. There is no spice or herb called “curry”; curry powder is a blend of numerous spices. Typical with spice blends, the particular ingredients and proportions vary by region and by household (and by nation—Thai curries are very different, for example), and generally include a base of coriander seed, cumin and turmeric, plus any combination of cayenne, chiles, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, mustard seed, pepper and other spices. Think of an American cook making a stew: The variation of seasonings possible is vast. It’s the same with Indian cooks making up a curry powder—but more so.

India’s Regional Cuisines

As with most countries, the styles of cuisine fall along geographic lines. Here’s how to make sense of the cuisines of India based on the regions and the states within them:

  • North Indian Cuisine

    Benarasi, Bhojpuri, Bihari, Kashmiri, Mughlai, Pahadi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Uttar Pradeshi
  • South Indian Cuisine

    Andhra, Hyderabadi-Manglorean, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil
  • North-East Indian Cuisine

    Assamese, Naga, Sikkimese, Tripuri
  • East Indian Cuisine

    Bengali, Oriya
  • West Indian Cuisine

    Goan, Gujarati, Maharashtrian/Marathi, Malvani/Konkani, Parsi

As with the United States, the vast longitude of the Indian subcontinent provides every type of climate zone and growing region from subtropical to Alpine. The ingredients, both vegetable and animal, that are available in the different regions vary substantially. In the south of India, the fresh produce and herbs available year-round is similar to the lush offerings of Southern California or the sunny Mediterranean. In the north, while the produce is more seasonal, year-round dairying produces the delicious cheeses and milk products people find in Northern California and Switzerland. Dishes and spices served in the north are not seen in the south, and vice versa. And while it’s easy to think of Indian food as “curry,” this geography, along with invasions throughout the millennia (Aryans, Muslims and Mongols, each of whom brought their cuisines), have produced an extremely varied and rich culinary tapestry.

The Cuisine Of Northern India


Cattle and yaks are plentiful in the Alpine-like climate of the north. Northern Indian dishes thus incorporate a proportionally high amount of dairy products—milk plus ghee (clarified butter), paneer (a fresh, cooked-curd cheese in the same group as cottage cheese, farmer’s cheese and ricotta) and yogurt. The kebabs and most of the meat dishes served in Northern India arrived via the Muslim invasion (during the 5th to 7th centuries, C.E.). Pakistan was part of North India prior to the partition of India, so Pakistani cuisine is almost identical.

Common seasonings include hot chiles and saffron. Garam masala (see photo at right), a blend of ground spices common in Northern Indian, Pakistani and Bengali cuisine, is often added to dishes at the end, to preserve its complex and highly-fragrant aroma. As with curry powder (or any blended ingredient from any country—Morocco’s ras el hanout is another good example), there are many variations of the garam masala blend. Most use cinnamon, roasted cumin, caraway seeds, cloves, nutmeg (and/or mace) and green cardamom seeds or black cardamom pods.†

†Commercial mixtures of garam masala often include less expensive spices such as bay leaf, coriander, chile, fennel seed, garlic, ginger powder, mustard seed, sesame seed, turmeric and star anise. Purchasing pre-ground garam masala is not recommended in general, as ground spices quickly lose their aroma and potency and the objective is to capture the wonderful fragrance. It is better to buy an unground mix (or gather and mix your own components), and grind the spices as needed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (you can use a coffee bean grinder dedicated to spices).

Garam masala, a blend of ground spices common in Northern Indian cuisine, is often added to dishes at the end, to preserve the aroma of the spices. Shown from top: turmeric, fennel seed, star anise, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Photo by Georgina Palmer | IST.
  • Tandoori cooking, which produces India’s version of barbecue chicken, comes from the Punjabi region. The chicken is marinated in a yogurt seasoned with garam masala and other spices. Cayenne or other red chile powder is applied to the flesh to give it a red color (or turmeric is used to make it orange—these days, food colorings also are used). The dish dates to the Mughal Empire (the 15th to mid-19th centuries), begun when, in the early 16th century, Muslim armies from Afghanistan, Mongolia, Persia and Turkey invaded India.
  • A griddle called the tawa is used to bake roti and paratha flatbreads. Poori and bhatoora breads are deep fried in oil. The large, cylindrical, coal-fired tandoor oven is used to bake breads such as naan and kulchi, and tandoori meats.
  • The samosa, a filled fried pastry, is a favorite snack (it has spread to other regions). Like a knish, it can be filled with cheese, meat, potatoes and other vegetables (mushrooms, chickpeas).
  • Lentil and other vegetable-based dishes are pervasive.
  • Roghan josh, lamb dish in a spicy red sauce, comes from Kashmir (the sauce contains many ingredients; the red color comes from chili powder).
  • Dom Pukht is a royal cuisine that dates back to the era of the Nawabs of Awadh, rulers of the Northern Provinces of India during the 18th century. It is characterized by a unique style of steam cooking. The dishes are cooked in traditional degs or handis, which are sealed with atta or kneaded flour, to trap the steam. The vessels are then placed over glowing coal fires so the food can simmer in their own juices, until tender. The resulting rich flavors were enjoyed by maharajas.**

**Maharajah was a title meaning “high king,” which ranked above lesser kings (rajahs) or princes of an Indian sovereign state. The title of maharajah was based on the wealth and power of his state. Before achieving independence from Great Britain in 1947, India (which then included present-day Pakistan) consisted of more than 600 princely states, each with its own ruler. In a Hindu state, the title was often Raja or Thakur, in a Muslim state, Nawab.

The Cuisine Of Southern India

Daskin cuisine, the cuisine of Southern India, highlights the traditional flavors of the four south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu (side note: the capital of Karnataka is Bangalore, which became prominent as the “Silicon Valley of India”). The Southern Indian peninsula might be called the “France” of India, where cooking transcends into an art form. Dishes are more elaborate; the cook must consider the most minute details, as opposed to the simpler dishes of East and West India.

Hot climates in general are known for hot and spicy seasonings, and Southern India is no exception. Here, hot chiles ratchet up the spice level. The cuisine emphasizes rice, the staple food that is grown there (it is basmati, an aromatic, long-grain, slender rice—see the photo below and our Rice Glossary for more information). The region is known for extravagant rice dishes, accompanied by dal (lentil dishes). In South India, the dals and curries tend to be a soupier style, and local coconut and banana trees mean that coconut milk and coconut oil are used in recipes, and banana leaves are used for presentation. Except for the coast, where seafood is prevalent, the area is largely vegetarian.

Most meals include a biryani (rice dish), dal, other grains and vegetable dishes accompanied by chutneys, pickles and papaddams (crisp flatbread). There is often a sambar (a pea and vegetable stew) and rasam, a soup that takes many forms (it can be based on tomato, tamarind, lime, etc.). Each state has its own, very distinctive way of preparing sambar—just as each of the southern states in the U.S. has its own way of preparing barbecue, and you know just by looking at it what state’s style it is.



While historically, short-grain rice was grown in the south of India, today the whole country uses long-grain basmati rice. Shown above, white and brown basmati, mixed with shredded carrot and garnished with toasted coconut. While Indian food is served in beautiful burnished copper dishes, if you have silver julep cups, use them so serve portions of rice.

  • In sharp contrast to Northern Indian cuisine, there is limited use of garam masala and other dried spices (except for black pepper, cardamom, dried red chiles and turmeric). That’s not surprising because in southern climates, fresh herbs are available year-round, along with garlic and ginger. The cooks take advantage of fresh green chiles and produce like plantains and tamarind.
  • Biryani (also spelled biriyani), a rice dish ubiquitous on Indian restaurant menus in the U.S., originated in Southern India. It generally is made with a choice of chicken, lamb, prawns or vegetables.
  • Meat curries, prawn dishes and pathiris are also regional fare.
  • The dosa, a crêpe made from a batter of rice and black lentils (also called black gram or urad beans), is a popular breakfast food and snack. It can be filled with meat or vegetables and sauced. It is served as an appetizer at Indian restaurants in the U.S.

†A biryani is different from a pilaf. A pilaf is boiled in a meat broth. Biryani is Farsi (Persian) for “fried before cooking,” and the dish is presumed to have come to India via Arab traders or Muslim invaders. After the rice is stir-fried in ghee, which gives it a nutty flavor, it is boiled.


The Cuisine Of Eastern India

East India has undergone long periods of European colonization: Both the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company were established there in the 17th century, to trade in spices and other products.

Eastern Indian cuisine is rich in seafood drawn from coastal waters, and is prepared in many ways. Fish curries and fried seafood are dishes that are most familiar at restaurants in the West. Rice is the staple grain. It grows in the region, abetted by a moist, rainy climate.

In general, the cuisine is a lighter style in both the amount of spice and the preparation.
Spices are used with a lighter hand and cooking methods include steaming and stir frying.

There’s a sweet tooth gene in East India. The region is famous for its broad spectrum of desserts—also on the lighter side. Milk-based sweets are a specialty in Bengal and Orissa, including puddings like the ones at the right.

If you look at the map of India, you’ll see that Bangladesh is adjacent to East India. As a result, the Bangladeshi cuisine is very similar.

Puddings, called halwa (pronounced halva) are a popular sweet (shown here, decorated with pistachio nuts). They’re made with vegetables—carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin, for example, plus sugar and condensed milk—and are very rich. Photo by Linda & Colin McKie | IST.

The Cuisine Of Western India

There are four major states in Western India, each with individual food styles. The Rajasthani, Maharashtrian and Goan cuisines are based on white rice, while Gujarati dishes use a wheat base. Roti and other flatbreads are served with most meals in Gujarat. Cuisine is predominantly simple vegetarian, reflecting the values of Jainism, an ascetic branch of Hinduism. The Goan cuisine has influences from its Portuguese colonial era, and many seafood dishes and coconut accents. Maharashtrian cuisine has similar foods in its coastal area, but in its hill and plateau areas, coconut is traded for peanuts (known in India, the U.K. and other former British protectorates as groundnuts, since the vines grow along the ground), along with meat instead of fish, plus some wheat.


The cuisine is healthier than other regional cuisines, starting with a lower use of of fat. Small amounts of peanut oil are used instead of large amounts of ghee, and a lack of visible oil is a desirable quality in a dish. Vegetables are often steamed, deep-frying is rarely used. Sweet and sour is a prominent seasoning, created with jaggery, a type of deep brown sugar, and tamarind (see our Sugar Glossary for more information). The regional kala masala employs some of the same spices of garam masala (cardamom, cinnamon, clove, peppercorn, turmeric) along with local coconut, coriander, cumin, sesame, poppy and local herbs and spices. To give you some geographical grounding, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and Mumbai (Bombay) is the capital of Maharashtra and the largest city in India, with a 2007 population of more than 13 million.

 

Indian cuisine, like most others, divides itself into main dishes, condiments, sweets/desserts, snacks, beverages, and the spices that flavor them all. Kitchens of India makes foods in all of these categories, and all are good. In this review, we’ll focus on the main dishes and a few desserts.

The golden color of curry powder is due to the bright golden color of turmeric, a key ingredient. Turmeric (shown above) is a tropical plant (Curcuma domestica) cultivated in India. It is a rhizome (a plant with a horizontal, often underground, stem that often has value, like ginger root), broadly cultivated in India. The plant has yellow flowers and an aromatic, fleshy rhizome that is ground into the powder shown above, which is used as a spice and a yellow dye. Photo © Maja Schon | Dreamstime.

 

Kitchens Of India

Kitchens of India’s vegetable- and bean/lentil-based dishes, made by ITC’s master chefs and imported from India, are packaged in 10-ounce foil pouches, which in turn are in packaged slender boxes. The pouches can be boiled on the stove top, emptied into a pan and heated, or easily microwaved. Each package contains 2.5 half-cup servings, although three varieties plus rice made an ample lunch for four of us. Indeed, the dishes are so delicious that an Indian buffet with all varieties is in order (see Serving Suggestions, below).

The products are all natural, and half are made with vegan/pareve sunflower oil instead of ghee, a dairy-product. Dishes are noted as vegan/pareve and non-vegan/not pareve.

Basmati Rice Pilaf With Vegetables (Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani)

This biryani is from Hyderabad, the capital city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India (and in 2007, the sixth largest city in India). It was enjoyed by the Nizams, the royal rulers from 1719 until India’s independence in 1947 (in 1937 the last Nizam was named the wealthiest man in the world by Time magazine). For common folk, it’s easy to whip up a pilaf (or make white or brown basmati rice) to go with the Kitchens Of India vegetable dishes. But for a good rice dish, microwave ready in 2 to 3 minutes, this biryani and its companion below can’t be beat! As we explained earlier, it’s not really a pilaf, where the rice is cooked in a meat broth (either this technicality got lost in translation, or the Kitchens of India folks didn’t realize that THE NIBBLE editors would know the difference). In this vegetarian dish, the rice is flavored and colored with saffron and ginger and dotted with carrots, green beans, onions and potatoes. You can add even more spark by dressing the dish with some fresh parsley before serving, but it’s flavorful enough without it. This dish is not vegan/not pareve, as yogurt is added to the recipe.

Basmati Rice Pilaf With Vegetables & Nuts (Kashmiri Vegetable Biryani)

Head up to the northwest corner of India, and you come to the state of Kashmir, where the goats‡ whose hair makes the finest wool garments in the world, gambol. The locals enjoy almonds, cashews and raisins in their biryani. The dish is also made with carrots and peas, and uses cream instead of yogurt. We enjoyed both biryanis, with a slight preference to this one because the nuts and raisins are so enjoyable. It is not vegan/not pareve.

‡The goats, of the species Capra hircus laniger, reside in various nations in the high plateaus of Asia. China is now the largest producer of raw cashmere, followed by Mongolia. India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and other Central Asian Republics still produce significant, albeit lesser, amounts.


Black Gram Lentils Curry (Dal Bukhara)

Gram is a word given to chickpeas and other beans, such as the urad bean, also known as the black lentil. The translation, “black gram lentils,” on the Kitchens of India box is thus a bit redundant, and the word “gram” will likely confuse American audiences (but not you, now that you know what it means). Dal Bukhara (lentils, Bukhara style) is a dish of whole black lentils in a thick tomato gravy, with a skillful balancing of spices, simmered over a slow coal fire for hours. According to the Kitchens of India master chefs, Dal Bukhara is the only dal (lentil dish) that doesn’t fall into pieces, despite 18 hours of stirring. The nutty flavor of the lentils is the main attraction here, giving the buttery (cream and butter-based) dish an earthy richness, while bottom notes of ginger and coriander add dimension. Not vegan/not pareve.

A historical note: Bukhara, for a long time part of the Persian Empire (now a city in the republic of Uzbekistan), sits at the northwest frontier of India. It was a stop on the Silk Road, a meeting place for traders from Asia and Europe, as well as a religious, cultural and educational center. Eat this dish, and think of its place in history.

Black lentils are indeed black (with white “eyes”), but are swimming in a red sea of tomato purée and chile powder. Photo by Claire Freierman.

Chick Peas Curry (Pindi Chana)

We’re guessing the interesting—and tasty— tartness of this dish comes from the pomegranate seed powder and tea leaf extract in the recipe. The green chillies (we use the British spelling, as Kitchens of India does) added a degree of heat we didn’t taste in the other dishes. The chick peas, potatoes, onions and tomatoes have a great texture, with a slightly thicker consistency than the other dishes. It should be served with rice and a flatbread like naan (read our review of Fabulous Flats Tandoori Naan). The dish is named after its city of origin, Rawalpindi, in the state of Punjab in Northern India. Vegan/pareve.

Mashed Vegetable Curry (Pav Bhaji)

With a texture comparable to that of a thick tomato chowder, chunky vegetables are simmered in butter. A great way to get the kids to eat their veggies, if the kids like ginger, garlic and other spices. The vegetables include bell peppers, onions, peas, potatoes and tomatoes. The dish hails from Mumbai (Bombay) in West India. Not vegan/not pareve.


Chick Peas Curry, or Pindi Chana, combines chick peas and potatoes in a sauce of tomatoes and onion, with

rich spices (“curry” refers to the spice mixture). Here,
it is served with steamed basmati rice, and Lamb Vindaloo. Naan, a flatbread baked in a tandoori oven,

is at the rear. Learn more about naan in our review of Fabulous Flats Tandoori Naan. Photo by Kristen

Johansen | IST.

Mild Chilli Curry (Mirch Ka Salan)

Yes, you can love eating whole chilies. These chillies are mild, succulent and simmered in a thick but delicate-flavored, buttery curry sauce made of roasted peanuts, almonds and sesame seeds, with accents of coconut, tamarind and coriander. The chillies look beautiful, too: a nice complement to a meat dish. Mirch Ka Salan is a famous recipe from Hyderabad, the capital city of the state of Andhra in Southern India. It is prepared the ancient Dum Pukht style of cooking, steamed in sealed vessels. Serve it with basmati rice and Indian bread. Not vegan/not pareve.

Mixed Vegetable Curry with Cottage Cheese (Navratan Korma)

We were most impressed by the texture of this tomato- and cream-based sauce, with a mild cashew flavor. While cashews are typical of Eastern Indian cuisine, this is a Mughlai dish from the Mughal Empire of Northern India (the cream-based sauce is a strong hint of its northern origins). It contains nine different vegetables (navratan means “nine gems”) that, despite being cooked, shelf-stabilized and then re-heated, were as firm as if fresh-cooked. We also really enjoyed the dish’s mild heat and clove-scented sweetness. Serve this dish with steamed basmati rice and/or Indian bread. Not vegan/pareve.


Red Kidney Beans Curry (Rajma Masala)

Yet another favorite, this spicy, tangy dish has delicate aromas of citrus and cumin, though only garlic, ginger and “spices” are listed on the label. The protein-packed kidney beans are filling, and tomatoes and onions add to the hearty texture. This is a Punjabi dish from Northern India. Serve it with steamed basmati rice and/or Indian bread. Vegan/pareve.

Spinach with Cottage Cheese and Sauce (Palak Paneer)

Another of our favorites of the bunch, the English translation does not do this dish any favors. Let us assure you, it has nothing to do with a bed of spinach topped with cottage cheese. The “cottage cheese,” paneer, takes a tofu-like shape and comes off more as queso fresco than American cottage cheese. Those who don’t like to eat their spinach might easily be tricked into eating this delicious spinach purée. We love the grassy freshness of the spinach, and the bright green color looks beautiful on the plate. All too often, chefs who are heavy-handed with fats ruin dishes like this one. Although we wouldn’t call Kitchens of India’s preparation low fat, the cream and butter weren’t overwhelming, allowing the spinach to shine through. Palak Paneer originated in Northern India (the cheese is a giveaway). Not vegan/not pareve.

The spinach and “cottage cheese” dish known as Palak Paneer is a crowd pleaser. Photo by Christine Glade | IST.

Ready for dessert?

Try two tasty puddings (photo above). While good alone, you can dress them up with any combination of golden raisins or other dried fruit, slivered almonds or whole or chopped pistachios, and whipped cream or crème fraîche. You can also serve the warm puddings with vanilla ice cream, in the manner of Indian Pudding.

Yellow Lentil & Milk Pudding (Moong Dal Halwa)

A delicacy of North Western India, yellow lentils are simmered in evaporated milk and saffron, plus almonds. Not vegan/not pareve.

White Pumpkin & Milk Pudding (Petha Halwa)

From the North Central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, this recipe was perfected in the royal kitchens of Agra, the home of the Taj Majal—although perhaps before the Taj kitchens were completed in 1648. This is a confection of grated white pumpkin, sugar, milk and evaporated milk. We give this a slight edge over the Yellow Lentil Pudding. Not vegan/not pareve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your Kitchens of India main dishes with:

  • Basmati rice—plain, laced with saffron and/or carrots and peas
  • Warmed flatbread (naan, roti or the more readily-available pita, which approximates the texture and shape of Indian-style flatbreads—or pappadams, if you can find them)
  • Chutney, for some extra sweetness and spice
  • Raita, to cool down the heat of the chillie-infused recipes (here’s a raita recipe—you also can use plain yogurt [we recommend Greek-style yogurt like FAGE Total] or fromage blanc)
  • Beer, assam tea (no milk or sugar) or iced tea are the beverages of choice


Have a family feast or a party for friends. Photo by Isatori | IST.

These carefully-spiced, hearty vegetarian dishes can stand alone, but are also a great accompaniment to grilled or roasted meat, chicken or seafood. You can use Devya’s Indian Gourmet Simmer Sauces to make butter chicken or tandoori chicken to go with your Kitchens of India vegetarian dishes.

So…whether you’re ready to party (as we suggested in the capsule report at the top of this article), or just want to feed your family a variation on your regular American-Continental repertoire that can be on the table in three minutes: Start here!

You might also use these varied dishes as a geography lesson, to understand the different regions of India. You can purchase a large map of the subcontinent and cut out the food photos on the front of the Kitchens of India boxes, pinning them to the regions where they originated. It sure does put things in perspective. Think of Indian families doing the same thing with American foods, pinning on a map of the U.S. an avocado and sprouts sandwich, a bagel and lox, clam chowder, a deep dish pizza, fried chicken, etc. and learning for the first time exactly where Boston, Chicago and Savannah are.

Indian cuisine won’t be considered comfort food by most American households. But we take great comfort, now that we can have almost instant Indian dinners of high quality, whenever we wish.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who loves Indian food, to people who have been wanting to try it, and to those who are looking for easy party ideas.


KITCHENS OF INDIA
Ready-To-Eat Fine Indian Foods:
Basmati Rice Pilaf With Vegetables and With Vegetables & Nuts, Black Gram Lentils Curry, Chick Peas Curry, Mashed Vegetable Curry, Mild Chilli Curry, Mixed Vegetable Curry with Cottage Cheese, Red Kidney Beans Curry, Spinach with Cottage Cheese and Sauce, Yellow Lentil & Milk Pudding, White Pumpkin & Milk Pudding

Certified kosher by Kosher Inspection Service

  • 10-Ounce Packages (Vegetable Dishes)

    8.8-Ounce Packages (Rice & Puddings)
    Box Of 6 Packages

    $2.99 Each


    One Package Serves 2-3 People

    As Part Of A Multi-Item Dinner

    (Two Items Plus Rice, e.g.)

Purchase online* at
KitchensOfIndia.com

Also available at Amazon.com and at retailers nationwide.

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. THE NIBBLE does not sell products; these items are offered by a third party with whom we have no relationship. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

Get ready for an Indian buffet! Photo by Claire Freierman.

 

 



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Padma Lakshmi responds to writer who dissed Indian food

Padma Lakshmi had a short but scathing response on Twitter to an opinion piece that described Indian food as “based entirely on one spice” and tasting “like something that could knock a vulture off a meat wagon.”

The article, “You can’t make me eat these foods,” which was written by Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten, focuses on several foods he says he refuses to eat and why. Many of the foods, including Old Bay seasoning, anchovies and hazelnut, were described in similarly harsh ways, but many on social media criticized Weingarten for oversimplifying such a multifaceted cuisine — even if in a humorous manner.

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“The Indian subcontinent has vastly enriched the world, giving us chess, buttons, the mathematical concept of zero, shampoo, modern-day nonviolent political resistance, Chutes and Ladders, the Fibonacci sequence, rock candy, cataract surgery, cashmere, USB ports … and the only ethnic cuisine in the world insanely based entirely on one spice,” wrote Weingarten in the article, which was published on Aug. 19. “If you like Indian curries, yay, you like Indian food!”

“If you think Indian curries taste like something that could knock a vulture off a meat wagon, you do not like Indian food. I don’t get it, as a culinary principle,” Weingarten continued. “It is as though the French passed a law requiring every dish to be slathered in smashed, pureed snails. (I’d personally have no problem with that, but you might, and I would sympathize.)”

Lakshmi responded, “on behalf of 1.3 billion people,” in reference to the population of India, “kindly f**k off.”

Lakshmi added that Weingarten “clearly” needed “an education on spices, flavor, and taste,” offering up her book “The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs,” and asked in a follow-up tweet why the Post was endorsing a “colonizer ‘hot take'” that characterized all Indian food as being based on a single spice.

Author Shireen Ahmed accused Weingarten of using the column to “spew” racism and mischaracterize Indian food, wishing him bad Indian food forever.

Others on social media were quick to point out that Indian food is extremely varied and includes a variety of flavors and textures. For example, curry powder, which might be the “one spice” he was referencing, is a mixture of many spices, including (but not limited to) coriander, turmeric and cumin.

On Sunday, Weingarten posted a follow-up tweet linking to the article again.

“Took a lot of blowback for my dislike of Indian food in today’s column so tonight I went to Rasika, DC’s best Indian restaurant,” he wrote. “Food was beautifully prepared yet still swimming with the herbs & spices I most despise. I take nothing back.”

And on Monday afternoon, Weingarten tweeted an apology regarding the article.

“From start to finish plus the illo, the column was about what a whining infantile ignorant d—head I am,” Weingarten said. “I should have named a single Indian dish, not the whole cuisine, & I do see how that broad-brush was insulting. Apologies. (Also, yes, curries are spice blends, not spices.)”

Related:

Kerry Breen is a reporter and associate editor for TODAY.com, where she reports on health news, pop culture and more. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from New York University. 

90,000 Giant Pot Noodles wins Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2021-2022

Chinese photographer Jianhui Liao won the overall title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2019 in the annual competition for the best photography of food, wine, agriculture and other products from around the world.

Surpassed over 9000 images from 77 countries and won a grand prize of £ 5,000 and a Food for Celebration category.

The above image shows residents of Handan Village in Shexian County, China, dressed in Qing Dynasty costumes, gathering around a giant pot of noodles at a feast to celebrate the birth of the goddess Nuwa.

Best Food Photography Books

Called Cauldron Noodles, Jianhui Liao used his Sony A7R Mk II with a 24-240mm superzoom set at 54mm, with an exposure of 1/200 sec at f / 8, ISO100.

Prizes were presented by the legendary Blur musician and cheese maker Alex James.

Jianhui snapshot won the Food for the Party category sponsored by Champagne Taittinger. “However, he stood out from the rest in his category for how he made the subject, the public holiday, so beautiful and atmospheric.”

For the eighth year now, the global jury for this year’s competition has been chaired by world renowned food photographer David Loftus.

Category Winners

Bring home the harvest

Kazi Mushfik, Bangladesh
Gold collection

Champagne Taittinger Wedding Food Photographer

Tyree Dawson, UK
Preparing for the night shift

Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year

John Wyand, UK
Cuverie Cleaning

Food Bloggers

Amy Twigger, UK
Pasta Drying

Celebration food sponsored by Champagne Taittinger

Jianhui Liao, China
Noodle Cauldron

Food for sale

Eliza Humphrey, UK
Ramadan

Food for the family

Sanghamitra Sarkar, India
Bond Tribe

Food in the field

Andrew Newey, UK
Pumpkins at dawn

Culinary Stylist Award

Kim Morphue, UK

Fujifilm Innovation Award

Michael Hedge, UK
Broken Egg

InterContinental Food at the table

Giles Christopher, UK
Mussels, ready to eat

Marks & Spencer Food Portrait Photography

Nick Milward, Great Britain
Tart Tatin with thyme

On the phone

Matt Wilson, Chile
Rosemary Harvest

One Vision Imaging Cream

Simon Bahada, Sweden
Basque Relics

Philip Harben Award for Food in Action

Kazi Mushfik, Bangladesh
Water Harvesting

Pink Lady® Apple a Day

Tyree Dawson, UK
Girl

Food Policy

Martin Chamberlain, UK
Cow Tantrum

Manufacturing Heaven, previously published

Cosimo Barletta, Italy
Red Octopus

WFP Innovation Award Storytellers

Eder Estilmer, Guatemala Watercourse

Winterbotham Darby Food Film Short Films Supported by Foodism

Jennifer Davick, USA Black Sesame

Food for Life World Food Program

Avishek Das, Food Industry India

Street eatery

Debdatta Chakraborty, India
Risha Kesarwale Tea Seller

Student Food Photographer

Chloe Dunn, Australia
Carnal Supper

Young 15-17

Lily-May Franklin, UK
Always hold the camera

Young 11-14

Jemima Painter, Thailand
Fresh Thai Ingredients

Young 10 years and under

Joshua George, Bahrain
Passion Fruit Love

Check out all of this year’s winners at the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year website.

Winners of 2019 Digital Photographer of the Year Competition Announced

The Best Professional Cameras of 2019

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Sweet red paprika 6 * 6, price 227 UAH

Upon request I will send price lists for your convenience.
All questions can be clarified by phone / viber 097 104 13 24 Vera

In the assortment of dried vegetables, dried herbs, mixtures of spices and herbs for cooking and much more.

The dried product contains a small amount of capsaicin, which is responsible for the taste of the seasoning, as well as essential oils that allow the product to recreate the aroma of fresh pepper when it gets into water.

The use of paprika in cooking has become widespread due to its amazing taste.Initially, the use of paprika was noted in Asian and Eastern cuisines, but now the spice is also used by Europeans. The finished product can be purchased both by weight and packaged in bags with a minimum weight of 10 grams.

Due to the fact that this product is widely used in various mixtures for preparing meat dishes, many housewives will be interested in what spices this aromatic seasoning is combined with. I would like to note that the product with:

Basil

coriander;

garlic;

bay leaf;

chili;

thyme.

Dried peppers are used in the manufacture of various marinades for meat and dressings with tomatoes or tomato paste, as well as in soups and stews of vegetable stews. The latter is especially convenient in the winter season, when there is no opportunity to purchase high-quality ground pepper.

Paprika, dried in pieces, is used in canning, it copes well with the functions of sweet peppers. It is used in the preparation of paprikash, goulash and homemade sausages. The seasoning can be called universal, because it goes well with:

chicken;

duck meat;

eggs;

pork

beef;

beans;

· various cheeses;

· most seafood.

To get the most out of your product, remember these rules:

1. Never fry it, because it becomes bitter and the dish with it begins to burn quickly.

2. Do not cook ground paprika for more than two minutes, and dried paprika in pieces for more than five minutes, because exceeding the cooking time will negatively affect its taste.

Meat for barbecue and kebabs, marinated with paprika, acquires a surprisingly mild flavor and delicate aroma, and soups and broths, in addition to taste, acquire a golden color.

I would like to note that, despite the versatility of dried paprika, there are incompatible components that can completely drown out the natural qualities of the product. These foods themselves are very savory, and they are onions and cilantro.

The benefits of the use of paprika in the diet can be called the ability of the seasoning to optimize digestion, and the consequence of this will be that the human body will be able to more fully assimilate the nutrients from the accompanying food components.Paprika, which is regularly found in food, helps a person to cope with such disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and their unpleasant manifestations, such as:

flatulence;

spasms;

gastric colic;

Excessive gassing.

The presence of spice in food improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, increases blood flow and prevents the formation of blood clots. Only now its use in this case should be regular.

The use of paprika together with other spices is indicated for overweight, because this product has a positive effect on metabolism and all endocrine glands. The best way to consume the product in this case is to mix it with any vegetable oil and season with this mixture of vegetable salads.

Paprika also has a positive effect on the immune system, so it can be used for medicinal purposes, adding in small portions to anti-cold tea.

Nutritionists do not recommend the use of paprika for people who have an individual intolerance to the product, as well as for those who suffer from liver and kidney disease, which is especially important in the stage of exacerbation of the disease. It is also necessary to limit the amount or temporarily stop using the seasoning for those who are susceptible to attacks of pancreatitis, chronic stomach ulcers, and angina pectoris, in order to avoid the negative manifestations of these diseases.

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