R is for Rice – more specifically Basmati Rice.

So why the Trader Joe’s box? I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while and thought this to be a good time.

I am not a frozen food kind of gal, but once in a while I just want to try them out to see what’s happening in the frozen food industry.
I love Trader Joe’s. You might wonder how someone could LOVE a food store – well, I do. I don’t feel ripped off each time I go there – as I do in my neighborhood. And I always find something new and interesting.

On a recent trip to the large Trader Joes in Brooklyn Heights, I stumbled upon this Indian frozen dinner, and thought I would try it. To satisfy my curiosity, and also of many students who tend to ask me how various frozen foods taste when we are on our walking tours around the city.

Here is my philosophy on frozen entrees:

If you expect them to be as good as your mother’s (if your mother is a good cook), or as good as your favorite restaurant – well, then you are setting yourself up for a major disappointment (not to mention, an unrealistic expectation).
But if you look at frozen food as something in the freezer that can be ready within a few minutes, and offers you sustenance in a pinch – then you are on the right track. Is your mother’s lasagna going to be better than Stouffer’s? Of course it is. It’s the same for ethnic foods too. I always tell people not to buy an Indian frozen entrée and then use that as an example of how ALL Indian food is supposed to taste.

Keeping that in mind, and in the name of research I bought a box of Butter Chicken. It was all of $2.99 – and so not an obscene amount of money at all.

The instructions were easy enough: defrost for 5 minutes and then cook on high for 4 minutes. Let stand for a couple of minutes before eating.

I played a game of online scrabble while I waited.

The picture of the nan on the box made me want some. But such is life. And the calories – 270 for 1 serving and there are 1 ½ servings in the box. I don’t know anyone who would eat the one serving and offer the half to a friend. It does make me think how much we eat. If I cooked something like that at home – I would probably eat twice that amount. But that is a post for another time – portion sizes.
Still playing my game – certainly smells good in here. Smells coming out of the microwave smell like food – not chemical or processed aromas.
Taste test: Not bad at all. Dare I say, maybe even better than someone’s mom, or certain restaurants that I’ve eaten at. The sauce (curry) had a nice tangy flavor – didn’t taste of anything artificial. The rice might have had a slight, really slight perfumed aroma – but that’s fine with me. The spicing was just right. It was a bit spicy – my threshold being really high – it was very good for someone with a normal palate. Ample pieces of chicken – good amount of sauce for the amount of rice. Chicken was tender.

The rice was perfectly cooked, seemed a good quality Basmati – each grain was long and separate – just what you are looking for in basmati rice. The rice was definitely better cooked than some of the rice I have made in my life.
Thumbs up! A winner! I would definitely buy it again. It might even help me with my portions and maybe, just maybe I’ll start eating less.
Tall order for a little box of frozen food from Trader Joe’s…but a girl can dream.
$2.99 well spent.

What are your favorite Indian entrees?

Until I eat again.

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