Trader Joe’s carries many frozen and shelf-stable Indian foods, from appetizers to simmering sauces. And with Indian being one of my favorite cuisines, they make a great choice for a quick meal.
Many of Trader Joe’s Indian items are also vegetarian, which is a huge bonus for my family, but meat can easily be added to the simmering sauces, and there are some frozen, meat choices.
There were a couple of new items I noticed this week that came straight from India. Most of them looked gluten-free, but on this visit, I only bought the one labeled as gluten-free. I have found at Trader Joe’s that some items will not be labeled, or on their gluten-free list, but is still actually gluten-free. I was excited to see that finally there is an appetizer, dosas, that are gluten-free. Previously, they only carried samosas, which don’t work if you cannot eat gluten. Dosas are a staple in southern indian cuisine, and is a filled pancake made with rice and lentil flour. The ones from Trader Joes were filled with potato and onion, and came with a small packet of coconut chutney to be used on the side.
We easily had a hearty meal of organic brown rice, Masala Dosa, Paneer Tikka Masala (which is Indian cheese in a creamy tomato sauce), and Channa Masala (which is chick peas in a flavorful tomato sauce with cilantro and other spices). For a frozen meal it was great, and plenty of food for our family of three. I felt a little bad cheating by preparing a dinner by microwave, but it all tasted really good. I was most pleasantly surprised by the Masala Dosa since this was my first time having it. For these, I did bake them in the oven according to direction, and they were really tasty. Flavorful, but not spicy hot. I am a spice wimp, but all of these dishes had enough heat to make them flavorful and when served with the rice it wasn’t too hot that I couldn’t handle it, and I have a pretty low tolerance. The dosas were a nice alternative to the naan we can no longer enjoy.
The Paneer Tikka Masala and the Channa Masala are in easily microwavable containers that also make it easy for a lunch at the office. They also made great hors d’oeuvres for a recent book group I attended, of which the book was based in India. Being naturally gluten-free, everyone enjoyed and no one felt they were missing out on anything.
It is so nice to know that for a quick meal on those days we don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen, Trader Joe’s has interesting and quick meals full of flavor.