Monday, October 19, 2009
Cheap, easy, healthy Indian food...at Target
I have been disappointed over and over again by the Indian take-out offerings in Phoenix. There was the place we nicknamed "the cat place" because the meat they called chicken resembled anything but. And then there was the place where we had to lift a congealed layer of grease off of the top of the take-out container before we could even begin to make out what was underneath.
I've always wished I could make Indian food at home, but the amount of ingredients in each dish overwhelms me a little bit. And I've tried a few of those jarred simmer sauces...some have been decent, but none have come very close to a truly delicious Indian meal.
Then one day, while strolling down the aisles at Target, I was drawn to a box of Archer Farms Vindaloo, which had a picture of a lovely looking Indian curry on the front. "Complete meal for 2" "Ready in less than 30 minutes!" the box boasted. The box includes a spicy curry sauce, basmati rice, a spicy potato & pea side dish, and mango chutney. The protein isn't included (Thank God...can you imagine chicken in a box?), so you either need to buy that separately or go vegetarian.
Skeptical, I turned the box around, expecting to be horrified by the ingredients. Instead, I saw a moderate list of pronounceable, easily identifiable spices and seasonings with nary a chemical or hydrogenated oil in sight. The ingredients are things like onion, ginger, vinegar, chile powder, nutmeg, pepper, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, fennel, and cardamom...all those delicious ingredients that make up a fabulously flavorful curry without me having to stock my pantry with 20 different spices that I'll only use once in a while.
Still leery that it would actually taste good, I took it home and put it in my pantry, saving it for a night when my husband was out of town and I was lacking in groceries. When that night finally came, I prepared my meal according to the directions, boiling the rice, and nuking the various sauces. I happened to have half a rotisserie chicken in the fridge, so I mixed that in with the curry sauce.
It. Was. Delicious. I swear to you, if you like Indian food, you've got to try the Archer Farms version. Yes, I know it sounds crazy that you can find good Indian food at Target, but it's true. It comes in a few different flavor variations, so you can find one that suits your specific taste and spice preferences. Granted, it will not beat out the dish at your favorite Indian restaurant, or one made by someone who knows how to cook homemade Indian food, but it sure as heck beats paying $30 for gross takeout at the cat restaurant. And it feels good knowing what's in it. It's real food, it's easy, it's cheap, and it truly tastes good.