Monday, April 06, 2009

Review and Indian Dinner: WK Pacs

Chola Curry, Peas & Potato Sabji, Coconut Rice

When I crave Indian food, I usually go to a cheap food cart downtown.  I'm talking SW 12th and Yamhill.  There's a lot of murmur recently about the new management of the original India Chaat and the curiously opened Bombay Chaat House next door, which an old owner opened - but I'll save that for another time.

Indian food hasn't made it into my regular cooking repertoire.  I've made curry and samosas at home before but it's a special occasion thing when I do.  When the folks at Waverly Kitchens offered to send me some Indian meal spice packets that promised quick, authentic meals with the addition of a few fresh ingredients, I was intrigued and made two of the three packets they sent on Friday night - the Curry and Sabji you see above.  The coconut rice is based on the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance.  I also received a packet for Pineapple Raita to make with soy yogurt.


When it comes to dinner time, I don't mind putting in an hour's worth of work into most meals, it helps me relax and focus on my own life after a day at the office, ha!   While I rarely find myself eating packaged dinners other than the few times a year I pick up Trader Joe's craptastic Soy Nuggets, I don't mind the notion of using pre-mixed quality spices in my own cooking, which this basically was.  I buy cajun and chili spices in bulk.  The WK pacs don't contain scary preservatives - what they do have is authentic spices, simple instructions and a shopping list on one side of the packet with the few vegetables you need for dinner for two.  

For example - for the Sabji I needed a bag of frozen peas, two potatoes, lemon juice and cilantro. Yeah, I skipped the cilantro because I'm a hater.  I can handle it very well mingled into salsa and Indian food, but I gleefully left it out here since it just garnishes the dish.  On Friday night I started the coconut rice in my rice cooker, dropped the first set of spices in canola oil for the curry, and within 30 minutes, all three dishes were done. 

There are two sets of spices in the one packet for each meal that I made - the top half has the spices that cook first:

After a couple minutes, you move onto the next step.  Easy.  Add garlic (and onion or onion powder) for the Curry:

White garlic from the farmer's market

A can of chickpeas and spices from the bottom of the the packet-

.....and you've got nothing left to do but simmer.  The Sabji didn't require any sauteing, just two diced, peeled potatoes and frozen peas that I've had in my freezer waiting for a day to shine. The final products were impressively flavorful for meals not only made quickly, but a type of cuisine I enjoy but don't bother to cook at home.  Two thumbs up!  I have to give the packets street cred for not ripping, or at least canvas bag cred, because I carried them around with me for a few days so I wouldn't forget to make them.  
I was curious which type of oil to use and opted for canola, and my only criticism is that I wish I had two paks of the curry, in particular!
They have starter kits available on their website here and they are all vegetarian, and can be made vegan with nondairy substitutions.  Definitely keep an eye out for these, I was really happy with my dinner.  


Jessica said...

woops, sorry the photos are cutting off a bit - will fix!

Adriana said...

What's the sodium content?

sgcorrie said...

Hmmm. This is interesting. I've been hemming and hawing on making Indian food at home - there's an Indian restaurant on my paper route that smells divine - and you may have pushed me over the edge.

*why does it ask me to log into Twitter everytime I get onto your page? Twitter and I are not friends!

Jessica said...

Adriana -

Here's their contact info:

Steff - I thought it was just me! I installed a twitter thing last week - it's probably that - I'll fix it!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

I can't believe you're getting garlic that right now. The stuff in our stores looks like death warmed over.

The Indian packets seem really cool! A good introduction for Indian cooking...which I need.

shelby said...

Cool! I love anything that cuts don't on cooking time...I'm so impatient haha

I ♥ puggies said...

They look like a high quality product. If I see it, I'll definately give it a try. I love chickpeas!

Tracy Warner said...

I can never get my Indian food to taste the way I want it to -- it's never quite as authentic as I hope. But this seems like it'd be helpful and delicious.

Are they very spicy? I can't get my Indian food spicy enough.

Chelsea said...

That is right up my alley! I just haven't gone to the carts lately with all the craziness... and I miss Indian food so hard!!!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Those spice packets are pretty adorable!

veggievixen said...

wow, sounds great. i love indian food!

bazu said...

oh that all looks so good! looking forward to seeing you very shortly!

Charlotte said...

Awesome! I will look into this.

Elyse said...

I think I might need to invest in some of these WK Pacs. I love Indian food!

that said...

cilantro hater! :) i just bought $10 of berere, it's so good, i think i'm even going to add it to hummus.