I must admit that I believe that home cooking is better for you than buying processed foods. Processed foods tend to have preservatives and added colouring and other hidden ingredients. You have more control over the quality of ingredients if you cook yourself, which is not to say that processed foods are of lower quality but you really do not know what ingredients have gone into processed foods.
And it is usually cheaper to do your own cooking rather than buying processed foods.
So what about using a curry sauce? Sometimes you do not have time to prepare a meal from scratch and it is really convenient to have a jar of curry sauce sitting in the cupboard waiting for you.
So I picked up a jar of vindaloo sauce and gave it a cooking test. Let me remind you that I’m not really a cook – all I do is follow cooking instructions. The jar had the usual claims of having no preservatives and no artificial colour or flavour. I’m not sure what these claims really mean. There must be preservatives in there of some kind otherwise the sauce would go off, wouldn’t it? The “Best Before” date was some 15 months in the future. I see there is salt in the sauce and ascorbic acid so these may be natural preservatives.
The instructions on the jar were very simple. Just dice the meat, heat up cooking oil, brown/seal the meat, add the sauce, cook for about 10 minutes and serve on rice with a garnish of fresh coriander/cilantro.
The one problem that I saw was what size to dice the meat. I had a couple of chicken breasts and cut them into 1cm (1/2 inch cubes). The jar said you could use lamb or beef. Really? It only takes 10 minutes to cook beef? I suppose if you diced the meat up really small then 10 minutes might be possible. As it was, I cooked the chicken cubes for about 15 minutes to make sure that it was cooked thoroughly.
Anyway, the cooking part was really easy. I heated up the oil, browned/sealed the chicken and then added the sauce.
I must say that the sauce is very runny. I know that sauce is not supposed to be lumpy but this sauce was exceedingly smooth. Maybe the cooking process has the final sauce going through a commercial blender of some kind.
I cooked the rice whilst the chicken was cooking in the sauce and served the vindaloo with a good sprinkling of coriander/cilantro.
And what was the result? Well, it was a pretty generic curry. We couldn’t taste the vinegar (the label said that vinegar was in there but it couldn’t have been much). The curry was edible and spicy hot. But it wasn’t really a vindaloo, no matter what the label said. If I got served a vindaloo like this in a curry house then I would be very disappointed. I’d probably give it 6.5 out of 10 for taste.
But it was a quick and easy meal to prepare. In total it took less than 30 minutes from opening the fridge door, to get the chicken, through to digging in to the finished curry with a fork. For people who can’t (or don’t or won’t) cook then this is probably an option if they cannot afford to buy a readymade curry from a curry house or the supermarket (a 500g jar of vindaloo sauce costs about £1.50).
Personally, I’d rather cook up a big batch of vindaloo at the weekend, split the curry up into containers that go into the freezer and then help myself to my homemade vindaloo when I need a meal in a hurry.
But I suppose it is horses for courses. You will not find a jar of curry sauce in my kitchen cupboard but we all have different tastes, don’t we?