Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Unsolicited Product Review: Trader Joe's Simmer Sauces

So far, I've tried three of them. They're all pretty good, especially for a good fast dinner for 1-3 people. (For 4, you'd have to serve other stuff too.) And as a note, I always add more stuff- veggies and potatoes, usually, even though the directions don't tell you to do that.

Korma: Decent. I like the flavor profile, but it doesn't have the sweet creaminess of restaurant. Better than the Masala; it has a sort of tomato-sweetness without the cream that I like, which probably means it's a lot better for you than the version that is my Platonic Ideal of a Korma. With both of these, it is key to simmer everything for a while! But not too long if you're using white-meat chicken, because it falls apart. Dark meat chicken or other proteins react differently to prolonged simmering. Dark meat chicken handles it better and doesn't change texture nearly as much.

Masala: Decent. Not really the warm, buttery flavor that I really love in a good Masala sauce. The Kitchens of India paste is much better for this, though it's spicier than the simmer sauce (and a slightly different recipe, but since neither is wholly authentic, I think I can be forgiven!) See the note above about chicken. The simmering gives it a nice soft feel, and for this, you lose a lot if you cook the chicken in a pan as I usually do.

Thai Green Curry: The best of the bunch (at least that I've tried)! A lovely green curry flavor, with lemongrass and wonderfulness. It's a light flavor and a great texture, and packs a lot of flavor without much spice, for those of you who enjoy mild curries. I ate it with rice but it would also be fantastic with noodles. Yummmmmm. Here is a recipe (and the blog I borrowed this photo from) using the Green Curry. This does require that you cook the chicken separately, though it's really not any more work than a basic stir fry. Highly recommended.

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