Handy little discovery can make mealtimes quicker, easier and tastier.

You’re running late, so hungry you don’t want to cook, and it was a rough day. Some comfort food would be…well…comforting. If only you had something you could heat in the nuke-box along with some frozen veggies then sit in front of the boob-tube to unwind.

Something like this perhaps? Vegan Chick’n Tikka Masala with kale, broccoli and rice?

Plating the entree with plenty of greens and rice rounds out your dinner.

The challenge with packaged Indian meals.

In the past, manufactured Indian dishes that I have tried were way too hot and any flavor once there couldn’t be found. But I love Indian food and don’t give up easily. That’s why I agreed to test two new products from Vegetarian Plus, a division of Vege USA®:

  • Vegan Lamb Vindaloo
  • Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala

Vege USA has figured out a way to make the heat manageable without masking the other flavors.  Maybe it’s the difference between frozen meals and the shelf packs; I don’t really know the food science of it. In any case, the samples Vege USA sent ARE superior to other grocery store Indian meals I’ve had.

[Full disclosure: I like hot but not super hot. When I eat out I usually order medium if the restaurant is authentic and hot if it’s Americanized. Most packaged Indian products are so hot even I can’t eat them.]

Bring a knife and floss.

Um yeah, about that, if you’re looking for a wheat meat texture that doesn’t fall apart when you look at it or squish into a blob when you fork it, this stuff is awesome. The texture is very…um…authentic. So much so that I was surprised I almost needed a knife.

Portion control.

The box says it contains 4 servings of 2.5 ounces each. Keep in mind that these products are not complete meals by themselves but rather the entrée that you would serve with a side dish and a bed of rice.

I tried several ways of serving the entrees:

  • with sides of salad and basmati rice
  • heated in a pot with chopped kale and a dash of water then served on a bed of basmati rice
  • with sides of rice and steamed broccoli

All worked really well. In fact, I kinda prefer the kale mixed into the entree even though it’s not an ingredient used in authentic Tikka Masala or Vindaloo. It supported the spiciness of the sauce well and alleviated some of the guilt I felt about eating yummy comfort food.

The vindaloo heating up in a pot with kale and broccoli works well. Just add a bit of water to generate steam and preheat the frozen vindaloo in the microwave first.

Chicken-style Tikka Masala:

Tikka Masala plated with basmati rice and a side of steamed broccoli. Garnished with chopped green onion.

Nice blend of seasonings, not overly hot. Plenty of servings if accompanied by rice and a veggie side or two. I know it’s tempting to consume the entire box (4 servings) in one sitting when it’s yummy but remember: too much protein inhibits your body’s ability to absorb calcium. So serve it with sides of veggies to round out your dinner.

Lamb-style Vindaloo:

The Vege USA entrees can be served with whatever sides you want. Here I served the vindaloo with basmati rice and a salad of tomatoes, radish pods and shredded radish.

For the Lamb Vindaloo, I plated it with leftover white rice and a side salad made of young radish seed pods (yes, you can eat those lazy gardener treats), fresh chopped garden tomatoes and radish shavings tossed with a smudge of salt. The plate looked marvelous and the rice carried the spices of the Vindaloo well. This would be enough to serve two Americans on a date if no one wanted to cook. With some left over for lunch bentos.