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We have had good results with most Saffron Road products and recently noticed two new meals in the freezer case from them.
We started with the Chana Saag. This is a traditional Indian chick pea and spinach dish that is served over jasmine rice. The dish has quite a strong cumin aroma coming out of the microwave and this is not quite as bad in the tasting but does tend to overpower the other flavors. It is described as being "Served in a bed of Cumin Rice" but that ends up being almost all you can taste.
This dish should have a better balance of garlic and ginger, and those get lost in this meal. The sauce is thin and fairly salty tasting (590 mg of sodium in a serving). The saltiness can't overcome the good things about this dish, however. The rice is well cooked (especially for frozen) and there is only 420 calories in the meal with 8 grams of fiber.
While we were disappointed with the Chana Saag, the Chicken Biryani made up for it. The aroma had the exotic curry smells of an Indian restaurant and the flavor did not disappoint. The spices were much better balanced and not overpowering, allowing the taste of the caramelized onions to come through and provide some sweetness. The chicken is not skimpy and the large chunks are tender and fresh pieces – not the processed chunks that you get in most frozen meals. There is some white and some dark meat and both are surprisingly moist and juicy for a frozen dish.
Here again, the numbers do let the dish down, but they are not a fatal flaw. The meal is slightly salty at 590 mg and with the good flavors could easily be reduced by 200 mg without affecting the overall taste. There is only 3 grams of fiber but the dish comes in at 400 calories.
This is a good company that pays a lot of attention to the social implications of their products. They are certified halal and use humanely grown meats that are fed a vegetarian diet and are antibiotic free. We would like to see them pay just a little more attention to the flavor and nutrition by reducing the sodium and ramping up fiber by serving brown instead of white rice. Even so, the Chicken Biryani is far better than most frozen meals on the market today.
Reviewed: January 25, 2013