Tasty Near Instant Indian Meal

I just had a very tasty meal of pre-packaged Indian food. Some of it is well suited to a Prepper Stash, and all of it is nice as a change of pace “Indian at home” meal.

First, what I didn’t do. I didn’t have rice with this meal, nor bread. Both would have made it better and more authentic. Why? Logistical error on my part. I was hungry NOW, not 1/2 hour from now… So no rice to the rice cooker. No making 30 minute pan bread…

OK, that out of the way. I had a package of Tasty Bite Madras Lentils and a package of MTR Alu Methi (curried potatoes and fenugreek leaves). In a real prepper meal context you would have one of them over / with rice and a slice of Naan or similar bread.

Both were very nice and very tasty. The MTR is marked as “Medium Hot” with 2 peppers. It is hotter than the Lentils that are mild spiced. About the same as medium Mexican hot (i.e. not fire breathing at all, and only a little feeling like your head wants to sweat ;-)

The two go well together, but with an odd bit of asymmetry. After the Alu Methi, the Lentils are great (better than just over rice). Going the other way is less of a good thing. For a bit, the Alu Methi is not as tasty as the first bite was “solo”… then it slowly comes up as the lentil influence gets washed out of the mouth. Still nice, but just not as nice… So order and mixing matters.

That said, I still ate all of it (and that’s a big meal. 300 grams of Alu Methi. 285 grams of lentil curry.

The Alu Methi is a lot of bite size potato chunks (so a good load of nutrients and calories – claims 344 for the package as 172 each for 2 servings) in a kind of spicy sauce that looks like spinach leaves but has a LOT of flavor from the Fenugreek that it really is. I picked it up at a local Indian grocery store. The package says “Product of India” so I think it is authentic ;-)

The lentil curry is basically a brown curry sauce and lentils. I’ve been eating this for years and got it by the big box at COSCO. I picked up a few boxes in the prep almost 2 years ago now for the first “lockdown”. The package claims it is “best before” 3 months ago, so shelf life as advertized is at least a year. FWIW, I can tell no difference in this pouch from the first one I had from this batch when new. IMHO it has a “several year” shelf life. (Plastic pouch, so not long years…) It says 290 calories for the pouch, or 145 for each of 2 servings.

Total that’s 634 calories. A decent amount in one meal… and on minimal rations it would be 1/2 of a days food. Split between 2 people over rice with pan bread you would be similarly full ;-)

The MTR Alu Methi was bought about 3 weeks ago and says “Best before April 2022”, so again I think the manufacturer is placarding it at about one year. It, though, is in a foil pouch. Those usually keep for many years. I’m likely to get a few more of these to test that ;-)

This would make a fairly well balanced meal with rice. As long as meat held out, you could put a small side of meat with it in emergencies. For a non-emergency family meal, I’d do a pouch of each and something like Tandoori Chicken, with rice and breads. Side of yogurt or kefir.

I have 3 or 4 other pouches of other products I bought at the same store, and I’ll be trying them from time to time. So far, I’m liking what I’m eating ;-)

Preparation is trivial. Lentils microwave for a minute. MTR Alu Mathi gets decanted into a microwave safe bowl and microwaved for “1-2 minutes”.

I used the stovetop directions. Foil pouch in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Pulled it out with tongs and laid it on a plate, dumped water, dumped in Lentils and let that heat about 2 minutes (with stirring) as I opened and dumped the foil pouch onto my plate.

This was a BIG lunch for one big guy. With rice & breads it would be “Dinner for 2” easily. ( I usually just have a pouch of the lentil curry over rice and call it done, but wanted to try the new one and not wait for rice ;-) Tasty Bite does sell a fancy rice in pouch that’s also quite good, but I ate them all already ;-)

Overall, I’m satisfied with both products and will buy more. Prices vary widely. Amazon has the Lentils for $17 / pack of 6, or a bit under $3 / pouch. COSTCO regularly has them for less. (I’m not suggesting anyone make Bezos richer by purchasing from Amazon, just a pointer to what the products look like and rough cost.)

https://www.amazon.com/Tasty-Bite-Indian-Lentils-Microwaveable/dp/B0007R9L4M

From:

https://www.tastybite.com/products/organic-madras-lentils-2/

Tasty Bite Madras Lentils

Tasty Bite Madras Lentils

Our Madras Lentils are a quintessential recipe from India. Soft lentils and red kidney beans are slow-cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with onions and a variety of spices. Serve as a hearty soup, lentil & bean chili, or as a delicious blanket over a bed of rice.

INGREDIENTS

Water, Black Lentils*, Red Kidney Beans*, Cream*, Tomato Paste*, Dried Onion*, Butter*, Sunflower Oil*, Salt, Cumin*, Chili Pepper Powder*, Dried Ginger*.
*Organic
Contains: Milk

They have the MTR Alu Methi at about $2 a pouch. I think I paid closer to $3 at the local specialty grocer:

https://www.amazon.com/MTR-Methi-10-58-Ounce-Boxes-Pack/dp/B000M9LRSI

MTR Alu Methi

MTR Alu Methi

No relationship to any company, just a guy who likes their food.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in cooking, Emergency Preparation and Risks, Food. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Tasty Near Instant Indian Meal

  1. The True Nolan says:

    @EM: Here at my house we call that “Indian pouch food” and it is a really good product. High quality food and essentially no preservatives (unless you count such things as salt and chili peppers). Most of the choices are vegetarian as well. MTR is a good brand, but so is the Ashoka, and the Ashoka is usually “Buy one get one free” at the Indian grocery stores. We keep a wide selection not just for hard times, but for “been a long day, what is quick and easy?” As you say, add some rice and/or bread and you have an easy and nutritious meal for one, two, or more.

    If I ever had a restaurant and wanted to have a few Indian dishes on hand, pouch food would be great.

  2. Steve S says:

    Grocery store has rice in microwave pouch, 90 seconds. Good for 2 servings. I’m sure you could do boil in the bag with it as well.

  3. Chris in Calgary says:

    Mmmm, TastyBite! Excellent choice. My favorite is the Channa Masala (chickpeas). Great served over Basmati rice. I cook onion and tomato in the rice. Delish.

  4. H.R. says:

    @Steve S – Love those pouches, too! There’s just the Mrs. and me so they are perfect.

    Yes, I have a rice cooker, but it tends to not like doing small amounts of rice – a bit crispy on the bottom – and it takes 20 minutes. You have to be planning to have rice and some leftover rice.

    Well… the leftover rice isn’t too big of a deal, I suppose. Mrs. H.R. makes a quick & dirty rice pudding out of it; milk and sugar and that’s it.

    The pouches? You just grab one and nuke it for 90 seconds if you decide on a dish that goes with rice.

  5. The True Nolan says:

    @Chris in Calgary: “My favorite is the Channa Masala (chickpeas).”

    That is a favorite of my wife and me as well. Luckily, my brother can’t stand chickpeas. Even better, he also did not know what the word “channa” means when he bought a big box of Channa Masala. Now my wife and I have an extra box! Yum!

    Not all exchanges are zero sum, but when they are, it’s nice to be on the positive side of the deal! :)

  6. I’ve been buying these for years and my son and I love them as a side dish to go with Vindaloo, butter chicken, or chicken curry. We like the spicy version of the Madras Lentils better but both are great!

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Just had the MTR “Mixed Vegetable Curry” over rice. It says “Medium” heat and has 2 chilies in the box, but tasted more like “Authentic Mexican Hot” to me (some sweating above the neckline ;-) but very easy to eat only wanting water “sometimes” ;-)

    One 300 g (10.58 oz) box / pouch says “for two” but over rice made a very filling meal “for one big guy”. Flat Bread would be a nice addition.

    So far MTR is “two for two”. I think I’m going to assume they are good across the board until / unless I run into a clinker.

    At this point, I’m happy (very happy…) with the results of my stop at the Indian grocer for some Indian Meals and / or “Indian Prep”. I’ll be getting more.

    This vegetable curry has peas, green beans, carrots, onion, cauliflower, bit of cashew, and something called “Knol khol”… that a quicky search shows is kohlrabi…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlrabi

    It is called ‘nol khol’ in Northern India, ‘navalkol’ in Maharashtra, ‘nūlkōl’ (நூல்கோல்) in Tamil, ‘nool kol’ in Telugu, ‘navilu kosu’ in Karnataka and in Sri Lanka as ‘knol khol’

    All in a tomato puree based curry.

    Overall, very nice.

  8. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – I buy Tabasco sauce! I drink straight from the bottle. That’s all it’s good for. I always have a bottle handy for a nip or a good long slug.

    Then I buy real hot stuff. Most, I still drink from the bottle. I’m on a Peri-peri sauce kick at the moment. It’s made from African Birdseye peppers and it is *ahem* spicy. I don’t put it on anything. I just drink it.

    I like stuff flavored with Ghost peppers and Carolina Reaper peppers. Mexican food is mild and very, very… very tasty. I eat it, and then slug down some hot sauce for heat. I don’t like to ruin good Mexican cooking.


    Anyhow, I have heard of Indian and Chinese dishes that are so hot, they used them to assassinate people who would scarf down the hot stuff and die, because their heart stopped and they couldn’t breathe. I’m game for that brush with death. 😜 Haven’t run across it in any Chinese or Indian restaurant yet. Looking forward to it! (I won’t do Fugu. That’s NUTZ!)

    I have told the tale here before of the fresh horseradish oil – one drop – that actually did stop my heart and breathing. That is the heat by which I measure all other hot things. It was an 11, though I still think it was acetone. The guys who gave it to me laughed theirs asses off. They only tried it… once… too.

    Recently, I went somewhere forgettable where I had to sign a stupid waiver before getting their “INSANELY, DANGEROUSLY, STUPID-HOT”… something. It was not very hot and eminently forgettable, and I was all jacked up to try it. That bad. Can’t remember what or where it was so… meh. I just remember signing the stupid waiver.

    P.S. Do you know how embarrassing it is to go into Hooters, order Nuclear wings, and then ask for a bottle of nuclear sauce to pour over them? I give the waitress a little extra tip when I do that. But those wind up being VERY HOT wings. Yum!

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @H.R.:

    Went to lunch about 30 years ago with a Chinese Guy who I often partnered with on contracts.

    He knew every Chinese Restaurant and who did good, bad, and hot. He liked hot.

    So we go in, and he orders Gung Pow Chicken. I’d never had it, so ordered it too. It comes, hot the way he (from Hong Kong so authentic) liked it. We start eating.

    About 1/2 way through the plate I’m sweating from the neck up pretty good and it IS hot to me. He says “Not many white guys eat the hot peppers, I’m impressed”… THEN explains that the little nuclear hot pepper on this thing are not normally eaten but just there to flavor the rest, and we had a double serving as that’s how he ordered his, and I was just chewing them up (seeds and all) and swallowing them.

    Now I call it “Gunpowder Chicken” ;-)

  10. I’ve seen it called Volcano Chicken.

  11. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – Yah, but… your heart didn’t stop and you didn’t quit breathing. 😜

    So, those were some pretty hot peppers, eh? Yum!

  12. Terry Jackson says:

    @H.R.
    Some years back, a group went from Ohio to New Mexico to see a mine. Lunch was at a tiny place down the road, maybe 4 or 5 tables. These guys were all midwest. The waitress asked if they wanted green or red salsa. and one piped up “I want the green, the red is too hot.” Fooled by the color in the grocery, he discovered red was warm and green was used to fire boilers.

    In college, one of they guys got a bear, so lots of bear stew, but spiced up as ‘sweat-a-brow’. Other guys had smoked sturgeon, and there was a smoker for salmon. Good times, Pass the Tabasco.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @H.R.:

    They are some kind of hot Chinese pepper. MOST people are supposed to just take the 4 to 6 peppers and set them to the side while eating the rest. They have spiced up the dish during the cooking.

    My Friend ordered it in Chinese so I can’t say exactly what was said, but I usually let him order as he could get things not on the menu and could instruct them to make it like “back home” (i.e. not Gringo…)

    Well, the plates that arrived had a little (size of an inch or so of pencil point end) dark red pepper in just about every bite. There was about as many of them as pieces of chicken. So I just figured you were supposed to eat them too. (What food arrives at the table that you then don’t eat? No, don’t answer that – snail shells… fish bones… olive pits…) As they are generally not eaten, nobody has removed the (very hot) seeds and interior membranes. They are dried in the package but soften in the cooking.

    Anyway, probably not really hot by your standards. OTOH, something about eating a dozen or two of them and “quantity has a quality all its own” comes to mind. I think this is them:

    https://www.thespicehouse.com/products/tien-tsin-chiles

    Tien Tsin chile peppers are named after the province of China in which they are harvested. Don’t let the cute appearance of these bright red shiny peppers fool you they are extremely hot. Their heat ranges from 50,000 – 75,000 Scoville heat units. Tien Tsin chile peppers fall under the category of “exotics,” or chile peppers once more commonly grown in Asia but now popularly also grown in the United States. They adapt themselves beautifully to the Hunan and Szechuan styles of cooking. Many Americans will know this pepper as the key heat source for Kung Pao Chicken. If you are trying to decide on the amount you need, they are very light and come dozens per ounce. These are popular peppers for infusing vodka as well as chili oils and pastes. Ingredients: Chiles.

    I have no idea if 50k to 75k Scoville units are supposed to be hot or not (I’m not calibrated to that scale yet…) but I can tell you that 2 or 3 of these being chewed will cause instant sweating of the brow and hairline…

    Thai:

    Had a similar experience with Thai food. Orders some soup. It came with 3 “green beans” floating in it. I ate them. Um… “Thai Hot” got a new meaning… and I found out these were green cylindrical sections of hot pepper. These, too, are meant to just flavor the dish to the hotness you like and then be removed, not eaten.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    From the wiki on Scoville units:

    100,000–350,000 Habanero chili,[30] Scotch bonnet pepper,[30] Peruvian white habanero,[31] Guyana Wiri Wiri[32]
    50,000–100,000 Byadgi chilli, Bird’s eye chili (a.k.a. Thai chili pepper),[33] Malagueta pepper[33]
    25,000–50,000 Guntur chilli, Cayenne pepper
    10,000–25,000 Serrano pepper, Aleppo pepper, Cheongyang chili pepper
    2,500–10,000 Espelette pepper, Jalapeño pepper, New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper[34]
    1,000–2,500 Anaheim pepper, Poblano pepper

    So more than Jalapeno, Serrano, and Cayenne, about the same as Thai Chili Pepper, but less than Scotch Bonnet / Habanero.

    I guess that’s pretty hot… by the mouthful…

  15. H.R. says:

    E.M.- 600,000 Scoville units is getting *ahem* pretty spicy. That’s about the hottest in the way of peppers that I’ve ever done, and not too much of that. The Birdseye peppers in that Peri-Peri sauce go 50,000 to 100,000 and that is nice and spicy, but still quite drinkable. I don’t have a chaser afterwards. That IS the chaser. Yum!

    I think they have a pepper now that goes seven digits on the Scoville scale. 1 million? 2 million? I haven’t tried those and I don’t think I ever will.

    That is nuckin’ futz even way beyond my hardened taste buds.

    Oh, here we go.
    https://www.pepperscale.com/hottest-peppers/

    So, wait… I guess I have tried some. I had bought a bag each of Ghost Pepper and Carolina Reaper potato chips. It took me two weeks – 3 to 5 chips at a time – to get through a what; 4.5 or 5.5 ounce bag? I don’t think the pepper powder they used was at the top end of the scale, either. I just can’t fathom a million+ Scoville units. I’ve refinished furniture with milder paint stripper than that.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    The Bird’s Eye in your sauce is the same Thai Pepper that I had in the soup (and just chewed them up and swallowed before I realized they were not green beans…) and is about the same range of units as the Chinese ones (50,000 to 75,000)

    As that’s “spitting distance” (no act implied!) from Habanero’s low end of 100,000 I might actually try some dish with them in it some day…

    SO, OK, now I’m calibrated to Scoville units. Under 100 K and I’m likely OK with it. Over 100 K is likely not a place I want to go voluntarily ;-)

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