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.)
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.
Water, Black Lentils*, Red Kidney Beans*, Cream*, Tomato Paste*, Dried Onion*, Butter*, Sunflower Oil*, Salt, Cumin*, Chili Pepper Powder*, Dried Ginger*.
They have the MTR Alu Methi at about $2 a pouch. I think I paid closer to $3 at the local specialty grocer:
No relationship to any company, just a guy who likes their food.