I love Indian food so when I heard that there are restaurant quality Indian entrees and sides in the refrigerator case of my local market or on Amazon Fresh, I quickly ordered six entrees for myself. The name of the company who makes these is Cafe Spice and they have one numerous awards for their dishes including the prestigious SOFI given out every year by the Fancy Foods Show at New York’s Javits Center.
The Indian entree items from Cafe Spice are all 16 ounces each and there are close to 20 to choose from. I picked six dishes that I have actually had at some of New York’s legendary Indian eateries over the years and decided to evaluate Cafe Spice’s versions which I confess that I fell in love with. Let me add that Cafe Spice only charges $6.50 to $8.00 per entree and since you are not in a restaurant, you do not have to leave a tip—so you save a lot of money. They all cook in about five minutes in a standard microwave set on “high.” So here are my honest evaluations below along with pictures of what the food looks like after it is heated in a microwave.Chicken Curry With Lemon Rice—this is chicken in spiced onion-tomato sauce with basmati lemon rice and it is very authentic tasting if not that spicy. Spices include mustard seed, cinnamon, cloves and turmeric and the white chicken used is extra tender because it is raised without antibiotics. It is as good as any chicken curry in an Indian restaurant such as the ones I frequent in Little India in the East 20s. Rating: B+.Chicken Vindaloo With Lemon Rice—this is chicken and potatoes in a tangy sauce with basmati yellow rice. The sauce is made from tomato purée, canola oil and what they call at Garamond Masala Spice Blend which includes red Chile’s, cumin, paprika, cinnamon cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, black pepper and mustard seeds). I love the delicate pieces of soft potatoes and onion in the mix here and it’s nice that the rice has a slight tang to it thanks to added fresh lemon juice. I really enjoyed this and it is for someone who doesn’t like Vindaloo to be super spicy (I would say Cafe Spice’s version is light to medium spicy). Rating: B+.Channa Masala With Lemon Rice–this is spiced chick peas in an onion based sauce with basmati lemon rice. The sauce is made with a tomato purée, tomatoes and canola oil and spices include turmeric, cumin, paprika, red chiles and mango powder. There is definitely a little garlic in the mix but the flavor of it is mild. Again, we have a medium spicy item and it is perfect for a total vegetarian/vegan as the chick peas are the source of protein. I really liked this and it can be a side dish as well as an entree. Rating: A-.Butter Chicken Meatballs With Saffron Rice–this is chicken meatballs in a creamy spiced tomato sauce with basmati saffron rice. I have to say that this entree blew me out of the water, so to speak. The chicken meatballs are juicy and delicious and the creamy sauce is amazing–I probably love it so much because butter and heavy cream are used. There is an amazing spice blend of cilantro, ginger, garlic, paprika chili powder, red chiles and fenugreek leaves. I love the delicate saffron taste of the rice and it perfectly complements the sauce. This is one of the best at home entrees that I have ever had and I can probably live on this particular dish. Rating: A.Aloo Gobhi Curry With Saffron Rice–this is spiced cauliflower and potatoes in an onion-tomato curry with basmati saffron rice. It has a medium level of spiciness and cauliflower is the star of the show here (yes, this is perfect for die-hard vegetarians). The cauliflower joins onions and potatoes in a tomato purée based sauce that is spiced with red chiles, cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, paprika, fenugreek and a special secret Garam Masala spiced blend! This is a very fragrant and healthy dish. I really enjoyed it and because it is veggie based, it can be used as an entree or side. Rating: A-.Yellow Tofu Curry With Thai Fried Rice–this is Thai yellow curry simmered with tofu, green beans, carrots, onions and coconut milk. This dish is quite the “little bit of heaven” as they say! It is truly a creamy wonder and I find it hard to believe that this is a “meal to go” from my supermarket’s refrigerator case–it is just so fresh tasting! Coconut milk, curry paste and vegetable stock make up the dreamy sauce accented with a plethora of spices! There are more spices in this dish than any of the other listed here–there are actually close to 20 used and they include dried red chili, fresh turmeric, fennel, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, lemongrass and coriander seeds. The Thai fried rice rocks thanks to added snow peas, red pepper, onions, broccoli, corn and an array of classic Indian spices. This one “rocked” me and it will you, too! Rating: A.
For more info on these fabulous Indian culinary creations, go to www.cafespice.com. You can see all their mouthwatering sides and breads there as well as numerous entrees. Let me add that most portions are big enough to share!