Product: Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer – $2.99+
It’s something not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, for me, I had the luck of growing up in a neighborhood with a family that hailed from India. Not only did I love being invited over for dinner, I still dream about the curry (a personal favorite) that was often prepared when I was over.
My love of Indian food was given to me properly. And since then, no ordinary Indian restaurant will do. I don’t want Indian food made to satisfy American people. I want the real deal.
So, when it comes to frozen Indian meals, sometimes I’m a bit leery about them. After all, how can something that has been frozen honestly bring the flavor and texture desired from Indian cuisine? I’ve tried various different frozen Indian entrees, and luckily, have not been let down.
The Trader Joe’s brand was a splurge purchase, I admit it. But the price was right and it’s always good to have a frozen meal or two in the freezer for those days or nights when cooking just doesn’t appeal and eating out is not in the budget. The Trader Joe’s in my area only has a couple of flavors when it comes to their frozen Indian entrees, but I chose the one that was, obviously, gluten-free and vegetarian.
The Palak Paneer looks a mess when it first comes out of the box. It’s a frozen tangle of spinach, with the paneer, a soft Indian cheese, was hidden beneath the web of green. When it comes to Palak Paneer, it’s best not to go on looks. After all, it’s spinach and cheese, and not the most appetizing-looking meal.
I heated the meal up as indicated on the box, stirring it after five minutes and popping it back in for another two. When it came out, it was a steaming tangle of green spinach and cubes of paneer. Like I said, don’t go off of looks. This meal is supposed to look like this. I scooped it out of the plastic tray and into a bowl, discovering that this is actually meant as two servings. Eh…whatever. I ate the entire thing. It was on it’s own…no rice. So it was perfect for a dinner.
The taste was actually better than I anticipated. It had that hint of curry flavor. The spinach wasn’t runny or soupy, and the cubes of paneer tasted amazing. They were a bit firmer than I am used to for paneer, enough that when my roommate sampled a bite, she thought it was tofu, but I set her right on that. What did surprise me was not how big the chunks of paneer were, but how many were in the meal itself. Normally, these frozen entrees skimp on the main part of the meal. I had been expecting more of a bowl of spinach than cheese. But Trader Joe’s was quite liberal in its application of paneer to this meal.
If you are looking for a quick meal for lunch or dinner, I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer meal. Especially if you love Indian food (which, I do!). It is really, really close to the real thing you would find in an Indian restaurant. Honestly, if the thought of cheese and spinach turns you off, trust me, when done right, and seasoned perfectly, this makes a fantastic Indian dish. And this frozen meal doesn’t become laden down with water either. It steamed up to perfection and didn’t run everywhere, as most frozen dinners tend to do. Color me impressed.
Kudos to Trader Joe’s for bringing fast food Indian food to the market…and doing it right.