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The Spice Tailor – homemade curry in a hurry

When we were sent two sachets of a new range of curry sauces, created by TV chef Anjum Anand, the It’s Just Nice Dream Team were divided in opinion. Rosie, who in her own words “eats stuff out of a packet A LOT” was keen to see if the fancy packaging would mean an equally fancy curry. I, on the other hand, was more than a little dubious. Hands up;  I’m a bit of a food snob when it comes to pre-made sauces, and will always insist I can make it cheaper (and nicer) from scratch.

However, these aren’t your bog standard curry sauces! Anjum Anand (whose recipes are always excellent, by the way) has devised a range of seven different curry sauces called The Spice Tailor, which come complete with specially selected spices, and in some cases, a marinade. Neatly packaged up in little individual sachets, they’re clearly targeting those who like to cook, but just don’t have time.

We tried the Tikka Masala and the Mangalore Herb curry, and because the sachets are so comprehensive the only additional ingredients you need are your choice of meat or vegetables. We opted to use chicken for the Tikka Masla and Paneer and aubergine for the Mangalore herb curry, and here’s how we got on! You can also get great step by step video instructions on The Spice Tailor website.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 sachet of The Spice Tailor Tikka Masala sauce (includes spices, base sauce, and main sauce)

275g chicken breast, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the spices. Fry for about 20 seconds.
  2. Add the diced chicken and fry until lightly browned. Add the base sauce and cook for around 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the main sauce and heat through for another 5-6 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Tikka Masala is a bit of a classic, and there’s nothing worse than a bland, tasteless version, so I was chuffed to find that The Spice Tailor’s sauce was really rich and packed full of flavour. I’m sure frying the spices beforehand makes all the difference, and the base sauce added a really tasty tomato flavour.

Paneer & Aubergine Mangalore herb curry

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 sachet of The Spice Tailor Taikka Masala sauce (includes spices and main sauce)

1 block of Paneer cheese, diced

1 onion, diced

½ an aubergine, chopped into large chunks

1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Heat the oil and fry the onion for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften.
  2. Add the spices, and cook for a further 20 seconds.
  3. Add the Paneer, aubergine and the base sauce and cook for around 5-7 minutes.

We found that there wasn’t quite enough sauce in this sachet, but that was probably something to do with the fact that we used a whole block of Paneer! To compensate for the lack of sauce we added a couple of dollops of natural yogurt, which worked really well. The curry was fresh, aromatic and worked brilliantly with the Paneer and the fleshy aubergine – I imagine it’d be great with fish too.

Megs verdict: So The Spice Tailor range has proven my inner food snob well and truly wrong! Not only are they just £2.89 a sachet, which is considerably cheaper than my usual ‘from scratch’ option, but they’re incredibly quick – I’d never be able to make a curry from scratch in ten minutes! It’s also the little touches such as encouraging you to experiment with ingredients and personalise your dishes, that really sets these curries apart.

Rosie’s verdict: I’m entirely the opposite when it comes to ready meals, I love a packet and don’t mind admitting it. I love cooking as well but sometimes life’s far too short.

These were really nice and it was great to have an (almost) ready-made vegetarian meal that wasn’t just bog standard vegetable curry. I like the idea that you could cook them differently each time depending on what you had in the fridge. The variations were a nice touch too and made you feel like you were actually cooking. Annoyingly these are on the inside of the packet – so you don’t know what they are til you’re at home!

I would definitely buy a couple of these to keep in the cupboard but they’re only available in Waitrose. As a ready meal connoisseur I know for a fact that Waitrose’s paneer curry is fantastic. So if I’m in a real rush it’d be hard to resist the really easy option.

The Spice Tailor range is currently only available in Waitrose and on the website, but with a little luck they’ll be available in other stores soon, as we’ll definitely be picking one up next time we fancy curry in a hurry!

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2012 by in Food and tagged , , , , , , .

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