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We have had mixed success with our tastings of Tandoor Chef meals. Half of them were good, but others pretty terrible. The brand's spectacular exceptions are their Naan Pizzas, which... arguably aren't Indian food.
The problem is that I do love Indian food and one of my good friends from Mumbai is an amazing cook. I love going to her house for dinner, but it has certainly spoiled me, and trips to London don't help with so many great Indian restaurants there. But frozen Indian meals should be easy to get right, with great flavor profiles available that help reduce sodium, no real need for lots of fat, and ingredients like chick peas that hold up well to freezing and reheating.
Unfortunately, Tandoor Chef can't seem to play to those strengths. Their Channa Masala is a good example. The flavor is off-putting with the bitter taste of far too much cardamom and garam masala. As if that weren't enough, I found that I let myself be tricked by not looking carefully at the Nutrition Facts.
I preach over and over to check the number of servings first and didn't follow my own advice. Glancing at the package, I saw that there were only 190 calories and 7 grams of fiber, so that seemed OK even in light of the 640 mg of sodium per serving. My bad. The package serves two! Irritating.
The only good thing that can be said for this meal is that the chick peas are firm. That's sad because the spiciness of Indian food easily allows for much less salt than a half teaspoon (1280 milligrams total) in what should be a single serving.
That same Channa Masala also appears as part of their Kofta Curry - one of the meals that Tandoor Chef touts as "Balanced Vegetarian." This is Kofta Curry (garbanzo flour dumplings with vegetables) with the aforementioned Channa Masala and Spinach Basmati Pilaf. While this is 1 serving at 400 calories and 690 milligrams of sodium, you can still taste every milligram of it. The Kofta Curry dumplings might be tender at first, but as they sit they become chewy, while their sauce suffers from the same over-spicing as the Channa Masala. The surprise here is the rice. The basmati rice is moist and only slightly overcooked, including diced carrots along with the finely chopped spinach. From the more delicate taste of the rice, it's clear that the vast majority of the salt in this meal is in the Kofta Curry and Channa Masala. No matter. You don't want to eat it anyway. One of our more sodium-sensitive tasters actually felt lightheaded after eating her share of the meal.
Reviewed: June 28, 2013