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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Saffron Road Food

Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs and Enchiladas al Chipotle

Dr. Gourmet reviews the Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs from Saffron Road

Here at Dr. Gourmet we've reviewed products from Saffron Road well over 40 times since we discovered their company in 2011. These include revisiting items we've reviewed years before as well as items that, as of today, have been discontinued.

Despite the fact that we've given thumbs-up to just under half of those items, we still look upon the opportunity to review something from Saffron Road with expectation and not dread.

the Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs from Saffron Road after microwaving

Today's Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs is probably a good explanation.

This dish, which is completely new to us, has 400 calories, 640 milligrams of sodium, and a disappointing 2 grams of fiber. It's shipped with white basmati rice, and if Saffron Road would use brown basmati rice in its meals (yes, such a thing exists), they could easily double the fiber. Sigh.

After about 5 minutes in our microwave, the basmati rice is only slightly chewy - Saffron Road certainly knows how to cook rice for its meals and this is no exception. The main dish, however, is a revelation.

Three tender, flavorful chicken meatballs, each about an inch in diameter, swim in a rich, peppery, tomato-based curry. Those who believe that chicken is nothing but a vehicle for sauces will be surprised at the softly sweet chicken flavor of these morsels, set off by the gently tongue-tingling heat of the curry sauce.

Dr. Gourmet's new location in Washington, DC, is not far from a very well-regarded Indian restaurant. This Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs is very nearly as good as dishes we have had (via take-out) from that restaurant. $5.49 is a bit pricey for a frozen meal, but in this case we say it's well worth it. Delicious! When Saffron Road gets it right, it hits it out of the park - which likely explains why we have such high expectations for their dishes.

We've reviewed Saffron Road's Enchiladas al Chipotle on two previous occasions. The first time was in 2015, when we said the rice was "plain, plain, plain" and black beans were "dry, dry, dry" - overall? "Not well thought out."

Dr. Gourmet reviews the Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs from Saffron Road

In 2017 we revisited the dish, which then had 430 calories, 510mg sodium, and 6g fiber. The black beans and the garlic rice had improved, but the enchiladas and their sauce were "a watery mess."

the Madras Curry & Chicken Meatballs from Saffron Road, after microwaving

The third time appears to be the charm.

This dish now has 440 calories and 590mg sodium, but less fiber at 4 grams.

Like the basmati in the Madras Curry, the white rice (a standard long grain rice) is a little overcooked to being near gummy, but the flavor is a real hit, with a true roasted garlic flavor.

The enchiladas are a real improvement: the two enchiladas are tender, nixtamaled corn tortillas generously filled with a combination of Monterey Jack and Oaxaca cheeses. These are sprinkled with diced sauteed poblano peppers and a dash of roasted corn kernels. They're topped with a respectable amount of creamy sauce flavored with enough chipotle that the cheeses in the enchiladas really mellow out the heat. (This dish is labeled "hot" with three chili peppers on the package, but we didn't find it that spicy.)

The only down side to this dish is that the black beans are a bit dry - although they have a fine, savory black bean and cumin flavor. The directions on the package call for 6 full minutes in an 1100-watt microwave, but we stopped the cooking process at 5 minutes, 30 seconds as we could see the dish getting dried out.

It was plenty hot enough in the middle, however, so a more cautious approach to cooking might help avoid drying out the beans. Another impressive dish and a significant improvement on previous versions. Well done, Saffron Road.

All reviews of Saffron Road Foods »

Posted: February 5, 2021