product review of indian sauces

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by Whole Foods during my lunch break to stock up on coconut flour and palm sugar, my baking staples. At the end of one the aisles, I spotted a couple of Indian sauces on sale, so I decided to give them a try and get out of my palate comfort zone. I’ve had a few bad Indian food experiences, but my visit to an Indian restaurant a few weeks ago gave me a new outlook, even though there was only one clear dish winner in my book. But still, I was hopeful.

When it comes to sauces, generally marinara is the only pre-made sauce I use. But I thought about how nice it would be to stock the pantry with a couple jars of semi-healthy sauces just in case I need to whip up a quick dinner every now and then. And James has a short fuse when it comes to chicken; he can’t handle eating it that often and can’t stand chicken if it’s too dry. So my thinking was I could still make chicken, but help to mask it with some new sauces, and maybe, just maybe, I’d pull one over on him.

Product 1: Cashews & Cream

The first cooking sauce was called Cashews & Cream, which the label dubbed as part of Portugese and British Indian cuisine. No idea what that means. I’ve been to Portugal, and I don’t remember anything like this, but maybe it’s their take on Indian food. Interesting.

I wasn’t exactly sure where to start, but since the directions said to add the sauce to your favorite meat and veggies, I began by sauteing some mushrooms, onion and yellow squash in coconut oil.

While the veggie mixture was cooking, I boiled some broccoli. Then I threw it in with the veggies, as well as the remainder of my stewed chicken and the jar of sauce. I stirred it and let it simmer for a while so everything melded together.
Verdit: B-
I’m still getting used to these international flavors, but overall, it was pretty good. The texture was a little gritty for a sauce, but after all, it was made from cashews. I thought it could have used a little salt, which would have been perfect in the form of cheese, but I stayed strong and refrained. After all, there was already cream in the sauce and cheese would probably be a blasphemy to Indian food everywhere.
The best part? It only took 20 minutes to make dinner. Even if I didn’t have stewed chicken on hand, I can’t imagine it taking but 5 or 10 minutes longer.

Product 2: Tikka Masala
When I came across this jar of Tikka Masala on sale for around $2, I couldn’t pass it up. I wanted to see if recreating this food at home was as tasty as the restaurant version, especially since it’s about the only Indian dish I’ve found that I like. The label described this sauce as “a mild curry sauce that’s top-of-the-charts in the UK.” Comically, that description even sounds British to me.

I tried to think back to what veggies were in the restaurant version, and I couldn’t remember exactly, but started off dicing onions and green and red bell peppers to saute, when I realized the onion was a siamese twin. That had to be a good sign, right?

I trimmed and cut some chicken breasts, and seasoned them with ground pepper and sea salt before throwing them in to the mix.
Once my veggies and chicken were cooked, I threw in the sauce and let it simmer for a while. Gosh, doesn’t it look way more appetizing with the sauce? Before, it just looks naked.
Then I served the concoction over cauliflower rice. I must admit that I sprinkled some cheese over mine (bring on the blasphemy), and it was delicious.
Verdict: A-
Yum, yum. I think my tastebuds are more used to tomato-based sauces than nut-based. This kind of reminds me of a creamier version of marinara, with some Indian spices in it. This experience even inspired me to want to make the sauce from scratch one day. Serving it over cauliflower rice was the final touch that really made the dish stand on its own. This dish took about 30 minutes from start to finish.
If I had to choose between the two sauces, I’d go with Tikka Masala, hands down. It wasn’t quite as rich in flavor as the Indian restaurant I visited, but I’m certain it was much healthier.
Thankfully, James enjoyed both meals. But who am I kidding, there’s rarely a meal he doesn’t enjoy!

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