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It's been a while since we had a new dish from Tandoor Chef. We discovered their Lamb Vindaloo (complete with "HOT!" emblazoned on the package) while on a trip to Whole Foods, but none of the other Tandoor Chef dishes available were new to us. A quick check of our records showed that it has been three years since our last Tandoor Chef tasting, so we decided to give their Kofta Curry another chance. Companies may change their formulations, after all, and if the meal has improved, we'd like to be able to tell you about it.
When we last tasted their Kofta Curry, the overwhelming impression was of salt, and the bad news is that this hasn't changed. We might have guessed this from the fact that the numbers haven't changed: they're still 400 calories, 690 milligrams of sodium, and 9 grams of fiber. As before, the three kofta (garbanzo flour and vegetable dumplings) are a little dry, but the sauce - a tomato-based curry - hits your tongue and instantly lights up your entire mouth with sodium burn. And make no mistake about it: "That's not spicy. That's just salty," as a panelist noted. The garbanzos are still firm and tasty and the spinach and carrot rice pilaf is still the best part of the meal, although the panel couldn't decide whether the pilaf might not be over-salted as well. ("It's hard to tell when my mouth is still tingling from the salt.")
No, it doesn't seem that Tandoor Chef has changed their formulation of that dish in the intervening three years. Too bad.
The Lamb Vindaloo, on the other hand, saved the day. Four large chunks of lamb float in a rich tomato and mustard seed sauce with hints of tamarind and paprika. The package might shout "HOT!" ("It sort of smells hot," remarked one panelist as it was cooking), but this level of spiciness is more of a back-of-the-tongue, lingering burn than a sharper, more biting-into-a-chili-pepper spice. The lamb chunks are large enough to need to be cut into bite-size pieces and come out just on the pinkish side of medium, which is a feat in a microwave.
The only down side of this meal is the rice. It's a little dry, but you can taste the lime and turmeric, and the bits of curry leaves add sparks of sharp tartness. As one panelist pointed out, if you mixed the rice into the curry sauce (as many people would if the meal were served on a plate rather than in plastic tubs), you'd never know it was a little dry. All in all, another positive mark for Tandoor Chef, with 350 calories, 610 milligrams of sodium, and 2 grams of fiber.
Reviewed: August 26, 2016