We don’t keep a lot of packaged foods in the house–instant dinners, box mixes, frozen entrees. Partially because of my dietary restrictions and partially be cause we just like to cook from good, basic ingredients. If we don’t feel like cooking one night (it happens from time to time), it usually means going out or at least picking up take-out.
All of that to say, when we *do* have something pre-made it’s a rare occurrence and usually happens because of one of the following reasons:
- I went to the store hungry. Though even then I’m more prone to pick up snacks or some really rich cheese instead of something pre-packaged or instant mix.
- I saw something new and was curious enough to give it a try.
- I went to World Market. Something about all of the imported foods they carry just makes me want to try anything and everything they carry—I’ve yet to be disappointed.
The most recent case was a combination of the last 2, when I stumbled upon the Punjabi Butter Chicken Simmer Sauce from Tiger Tiger.
There’s usually a few other criteria if I’m going to pick up something like this. Usually it’s as real-food as possible (no long list of chemicals or preservatives), comes from a reliable source and is something that I can’t easily make myself.
This fit the bill pretty well. After trying to find a recipe that matches the awesomeness that was in that jar I’ve come to the conclusion that I might have to try a few before I find the at-home version I’m looking for. There are no cryptic ingredients and it looked like something we might find at our local Indian restaurant which we don’t make as much time to visit as we’d like.
All it took was cutting up some chicken (we also added a couple of large-diced potatoes), browning it and adding the sauce until it was warm and toasting some naan in the oven. Making the rice took the longest but it was totally worth it and we got our usual 4 servings out of a single jar with no problem (2 for dinner, 2 for lunches the next day). The label lists it as Medium heat but I’d actually consider it more mild than anything. It was a very pleasant sauce, very much comfort food and a nice indulgence at home (also much cheaper than ordering the same thing out).
It was a nice compromise between cooking from scratch and take-out. What’s your short cut of choice on those nights when you don’t want to do too much?