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Precooked Indian Entrees

There are many brands of already prepared Indian entrees that one can buy - at the supermarket, at Indian/Asian grocery stores, and even at convenience/gas stores operated by Asian owners.

One can buy frozen entrees or nonfrozen entrees sold in thin book- sized boxes requiring the contained bags being immersed in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes (or microwaved if placed in a different container).

The best version of Baingan Bharta (roasted eggplant in tomato sauce and spices) I have had in the nonfrozen boxed containers is made by a brand called "Swad." Other brands like Ashoka have a more bitter taste and do not contain a rich mixture of onions and peas as does this brand. I find that adding fresh spinach to its Palak Paneer adds more body to it as it is much thinner than the Baingan Bharta in consistency. Although Swad labels their oil used as "vegetable oil" (I learned they use soy oil), there is little bitterness in the taste. Swad recently changed the packaging in which the entree is bagged. Its new bag allows the user to microwave the contents directly in the bag. All the other brands I have tried use a pouch that requires removal of the contents before microwaving.

The brand "Tasty Bite" has decent products and uses sunflower oil in its ingrendients.

As far as frozen brands go, I was relatively satisfied with the brand "Green Guru" which is the vegetarian line of the company called "Deep Foods." DF markets the same line of dishes under a different name and uses ingredients that are not as healthy. I have seen the Green Guru line sold only at Whole Foods. Other "natural supermarkets" would probably carry this line.

The brand "Ethnic Gourmet" is now sold at supermarkets. I found their packaging more appealing than their content. Not bad, but not spicy enough for me.

It will be interesting to hear of the quality and taste of other brands. Note that some brands have a taste that are more typical to a region of India, i.e. north vs. south. Your preference for the regional spice mixture will affect which brand you prefer.

Note that some of the boxed Indian entrees are very high in sodium. Some of the better brands offer products with a much lower amount of sodium. Most of the products I have bought require additions to make them more complete, such as adding a bit of yogurt with lemon juice and cucumber on the side to offset the heat from the dish. And of course, basmati rice and a small amount of fresh cilantro to make the dish more authentic!

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  1. I've become fond of Jyoti's canned dishes - you can make a meal of some of them (make your own rice).

    1. Wayne Keyser - Yes, I forgot about the Jyoti brand. Last time I checked, they had a very large product line, but retail stores I have been to carry for the most part their 15 oz. canned dishes. The company is known for making their food with healthy ingredients, and I believe one of its founders is a nutritionist and very aware of the importance of using healthy ingredients and procedures in processing food.

      I have had only two of their varieties, only one of which I can recall - the Chhole (chick peas with potatoes and spices). It has a different taste than every other version of chhole I have had at restaurants, in frozen entree versions, and in the boil in a bag version. I think the different taste comes from its greater use of tamarind. Unlike the boil in bag versions, the Jyoti can is full of loads of chick peas and potatoes rather than alot of sauce and thin on the other items which the boil in bag versions can be. (The Green Guru frozen entree is the real thing. Their line does a great job of offering very healthy ingredients.)

      I recently bought the Jyoti Dal Makhani. I have had that at restaurants, and when the lentils/dal is combined with beans it is very good. I hope this will be decent.

      If you get the Jyoti Chhole, try adding some additional ingredients to it, like green peas and chopped up chicken and onions. I spoke to the owner of my small creation years ago, and she liked it very much. I imagine that more creative and experienced cooks than myself could do even more with some of Jyoti's other foods.

      Wayne - what other Jyoti food have you had, and how were they? What taste would you compare them to - mildly spiced, more sour, sweet, hot, etc? (In the past, the Ashoka brand used to package their Chhole in cans. I tried several of their foods - they were all bitter, and nowhere as mellow as the Jyoti brand.)

      Did you know that Jyoti supplies British Airways with their Indian food served on board? (This is what I heard from the Jyoti people last year. The story of how the Jyoti company came into being is fascinating.)

      1. I'm a big fan of certain Tasty Bite items, which are much cheaper if you order online direct. They Americanize the dish names (I believe Baingan Bharta is called Punjabi Eggplant). The red beans & lentils is excellent too (Madras Lentils?). The Channa Masala is a bit too firm for me, and the palak paneer too pureed for me.

        http://petercherches.blogspot.com

        1. Peter - I, too, like the TastyBite ingredient list, and tried one of their boxed products, don't recall if it was the Chhole or the Baingan Bharta - whichever one it was, didn't have the spice mixture I really enjoy - it wasn't bad, but didn't "light my fire."

          I have two boxes of their "Kashmir Spinach" which may be the "Palak Panneer" you referred to. The picture of the dish on the cover looks appealing, with many cheese cubes mixed in with what looks like a mixture of pureed and chopped bits of spinach.

          I have found that most of the boil in a bag products puree spinach alot, which is why I find that by adding my own steamed spinach to the contents creates a tasty dish - sort of like a rich sauce for the freshly steamed spinach.

          If you have ever tried the Green Guru frozen entree version of Palak Paneer, you will not be disappointed with the thicker consistency of the spinach. Deep Foods makes that same version under a different name for stores that cater to nonvegetarians and/or are not "health supermarkets" like Whole Foods. The ingrendients in what appears to be the same product include such delectables as lard and hydrogenated oils. The Green Guru line uses ingredients like brown rice, canola oil, and other things that will keep us living until we are 120.

          In my previous post about the picture of Dal Makhani on the Jyoti brand can cover, the "bean" reference was to my preference for liking the lentils to be combined with kidney beans. I find that at some Indian restaurants, only the lentils are emersed in a buttery sauce. Combining them with kidney beans or other similar beans compliments the lentils and the sauce really well and provides for a more satisfying dish. I have yet to try the Jyoti version, but the picture of the dish looked appealing, and the ingredients list red beans as included with the lentils.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FelafelBoy

            Noticed a sale at Whole Foods of some of the nonfrozen "boxed" Indian dishes. WF carries a line I have not seen elsewhere called "Kitchens of India." The bag is in a triangular type container instead of a rectangular box like all the other companies like Swad, Tasty Bite, etc. Sort of like the shape of a brown paper bag that is neatly folded over at the top, but with a more appealing looking cover.

            The notation on the back of the cover refers to the recipes for this line being like those created by the master chefs of ITC Hotels.

            I have never had this line, so I thought I'd give it a try. The picture of the Pindi Chana (chick pea curry) looked appealing (and the ingredients listed potatoes, something not included necessarily in other brands, other than the Jyoti line ... two of the ingredients also included pomegranate seeds powder and tea leaves extract - I have NEVER seen any product include these ingredients for such a dish), as did the Rajma Masala (red kidney beans curry). The saag paneer picture did not look appealing, so I passed on it. The spinach mixture looked like a thin soup with a pale green color, not very appetizing.

            I noticed that Jyoti who packages their entrees in cans had a very interesting line of products, including their sambar. Their line of products is more expensive than some of the boxed entrees, which are 10-12oz portions vs. Jyoti's cans being 15oz.
            In general, boxed entrees run about $2 to $2.50 whereas Jyoti's canned entrees can run from $2.50 to over $3 depending on the store you buy their foods at.

            Their serving portion is inaccurate. I believe the number of servings listed for the sambar is four. Hard to believe that that can will last for four people, unless it is used along with other dishes (that also serve four!!). I'd say it's more accurate for their 15oz can to last for two, possbily three servings. If you serve them with homecooked rice and a side vegetable, such as spinach, kale, green beans, etc., Jyoti's canned dishes even at $3 are in line with the price of the frozen entrees that are sold that are about 10-12oz portions that sometimes come with a side dish of rice.

          2. I tried five or six Tasty Bite items from Trader Joe's and they were awful.

            1. Robert Lauriston - regarding your dislike of the brand "Tasty Bite" ... I'd think after tasting the variety of dishes made by TB, you have found that that brand is not for you.

              I have found that the spice mixture has a unique and distinctive flavor from brand to brand, thus, if you don't like the flavor of one variety of dish made by a company such as Tasty Bite, chances are you will not like their other dishes.

              I believe I had the eggplant dish by Tasty Bite, and something just didn't "click." Not that it was distasteful, but some key ingredient was missing to make it taste "good."

              Trader Joe's also sells its own brand of Indian dishes. I noticed that there were one or two ingredients I had never seen in other "made in India" type dishes. The ingredients used by TJ's (whose name escapes me now) didn't seem like that typically used in Indian dishes.

              As I mentioned before, I bought the "Kitchens of India" brand dishes, purchased at Whole Foods. I have yet to open Tasty Bite's Kashmir Spinach (which I may never open due to the attractiveness of the picture of the dish on the outside of the box; I wouldn't want to be disappointed with the reality of the contents), so I can't comment on its taste.

              When you say the Tasty Bite items were awful, what taste was off for you? Too bitter, sour, bad aftertaste, etc.? (When I used to buy the Ashoka canned Cholle, it left a very bad aftertaste, both sour and tinny, quite different from most of the other brands that left a more mellow aftertaste. Perhaps what I interpreted as a bad aftertaste in the Ashoka brand was due to lousy oil used or some spice combination that didn't appeal to me. I have found that bad oil can contribute significantly to the attractive taste of a dish. One Tasty Bite dish I did like was its "agra peas and greens" (aka Methi Mutter Malai) It's not filling by itself, but is very rich. (It is basically green peas cooked in a very creamy and flavorful sauce of greens mixed with spices.) The ingredients include such flavorful items as fenugreek, cashew nuts, sunflower oil, cream, watermelon seeks, and spinach, just to name a few. For a main dish, it is incomplete, but as a small side dish item, it is delectable.

              3 Replies
              1. re: FelafelBoy

                Hard to describe what was bad about the Trader Joe's Tasty Bite stuff--it was just weird. We didn't want more than a taste of most of the dishes.

                It's not like I'm a huge snob about the cuisine, I'm happy to eat mediocre steam-table Indian food if it's on the table. This was just gross.

                1. re: FelafelBoy

                  I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the Trader Joe's brand of MRE Indian Food is just repackaged Tasty Bite.

                  I've never been real impressed with Tasty Bite, but I do love some other Trader Joe's South Asian products (I'm very fond of their Thai-based tuna curries).

                  Tasty Bite seems overly spicy but somewhat bland in flavor. Some of the other Indian brand names such as Ashoka or MTR were flavorful but too spicy for me...as was Jyoti's canned food.

                  But then these tend to cater more towards Indians (who as a culture tend to have more tolerance for spicy foods).

                  1. re: rmmcgrath

                    The Trader Joe's stuff I had was Tasty Bite. If they now have a house label, it might be the same stuff, that happens fairly often.

                2. I have been wanting to post about this since discovering these wonderful boxed/vacuum sealed lines at a Burlington Ma. store called China International.I am a professional cook who learned Southern Indian cooking from friends and who is used to preparing Indian specialties from scratch. HOWEVER... I am having a great time sampling dishes I have NEVER HEARD OF!!!and it's a blast.

                  I have been addicted to Uttapam for years, and the MTR package, mixed with yoghurt and water, is very useful. however, i like my Uttapam tangy (somewhat fermented) so I leave the batter on a pilot light for a few days, covered. it gets a wonderful tang to it. sometimes, it even blossoms with white clouds of harmless 'fungus' which i just scrape off the batter before using. i make 4" pancakes with the batter, wait for there to be small bubbles showing on the pancake surface, then i sprinkle them with a mixture of chopped tomato, green pepper, onion, chopped cilantro and a little minced jalapeno when i feel like more kick. in a non-stick skillet,cook over med ht until med brown,top with layer of the veg mixture, press down, cook a few min. more, put bits of butter around the pancake sides and lift edges to let butter go underneath. then flip pancake over onto the melted butter for 5-10 minutes, pressing down occasionally to better sear until browned and the batter cooked through. oh my.

                  i have tried many different dishes, most in the MTR line, and found them all to be well seasoned and individually distinct.
                  I am really pleased with the yoghurt based Avial. I also like the Ashoka Baigan Bharta and the Tr Joe's Pav Bhaji. i have about 15 more kinds lined up tp try and i'm psyched!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    opinionatedchef - thanks for the description of how you make your Uttapam and your guidance on the "harmless fungus." (For the record, I remove such growth from the surface of expired bagels. I can't help but think that the growth I CAN see is alerting me to other growth, present, that I CANNOT see.)

                    I look forward to trying the Uttapam mixture. I only knew of people making it from scratch, and it being a major project to do so. Now that I know there is a mix for it, I would be willing to try it, and your suggested toppings are an easy fixin'. It's easy for me to think of an Uttapam as being a slightly tangier version of a dosa.

                    Interesting that you like the MTR line (or at least its version of Uttapam) and the Ashoka brand of Baigan Bharta. Given that you are partial to south Indian cooking, that would explain your liking for those two brands. I believe MTR is flavored for south Indian tastes, as may be the Ashoka brand. I did not like those brands, as I found them too sour, a bit bitter, and containing other tastes not pleasant to me. (I also had the thought that the oil Ashoka used was not to my liking. Oil can make a big difference in these products.) I prefer the SWAD brand of Baigan Bharta which offers a more mellow and "sweeter" (I'm using that word for a lack of any better word, not to mean sugary, but without a predominance of bitterness or sourness) taste, yet with a real "kick" of heat.
                    The Jyoti brand has a completely different spice mixture than other brands I have tasted. It seems that one's regional home may play a factor as to their preference for brands and predominance of spice used by that brand. Every brand I have tried offers a unique spice combination.

                  2. Despite the mixed reviews, I recently bought mail-order a boxe of assorted Tasty Bite foods and am working my way through them. I like the fact there are no weird fats or MSG listed in the ingredients.

                    The best so far is the Punjab Eggplant. Thick with little oil separation. Medium-hot with tangy tomato & onion flavors. I used it as a sandwich filling.

                    The Spinach Paneer (it goes by another name) improved with an added box of extra firm tofu, but still had that canned spinach flavor which reminds me of the smell of a barn.

                    The worst so far is the Thai Red Curry
                    Rice undercooked with starchy surface texture and an unpleasant funk. The curry part was watery and not fragrant.

                    1. vicki_vale - as long as you are going full out and ordering large quantities by mail order, consider trying a case of Jyoti brand Chhole. It is very thick, filled with a mixture of chick peas and potatoes. If you mix that with cooked chicken, onions, and peas, you have a delicious and thick-type stew, and added with rice, tastes more rewarding than most of these boil in a bag meals. You could do worse than Tasty Bite for ingredients. That brand tends to use healthier ingredients than some of the other brands.

                      If you like the Punjab Eggplant, you may want to try the Swad brand of the same dish - it is one of the better versions of this dish in the boil in a bag version. It still tastes of non-home-cooked food, but not so far away from the real thing vs. many of the other brands, and actually has a very enjoyable flavor, texture, and aftertaste. Check with Rajafoods who is the marketer. I don't think according to Chowhound groundrules, it is allowed to go further and list their toll-free number to contact them.

                      If you like healthy ingredients in these products, look into the Green Guru brand for Indian dishes. They are frozen dishes, normally found in the major health food supermarkets. If there is not such a market near you, then brands like Tasty Bite, Jyoti, Swad, Kitchens of India, may suit your need.

                      Or, buy a spice mix powder that can be added to food from one of these mail order companies, and make the dish yourself. Sure, alot more work, but your creation may not be too far off from the boil in a bag version. The toughest part of Indian cooking, I believe, is getting the spice mixture right. My Indian neighbors one evening had a perfume aroma coming from their apt. I knocked on their door, and to my amazement, my neighbor told me he was using a spice mixture he picked up at a local gas station's food section. Could have fooled me. (The brand name of the mix powder was "Rasai Magic", and was called "Chana Gravy" - with a subheading of "simply add tomato and oil" to cooked chick peas, that is. I could have bought the boil in a bag Chana, which I have done before, but the version I was smelling was better than the more convenient boil in a bag products I had bought.) Another Indian neighbor down the hallway handled cooking differently. The guy's wife was cooking, I swear several hours a day, and one day I peaked inside and saw that her counter top in the kitchen was filled with all kinds of fresh herbs and spices. No prepared bags of spices for her. And you can imagine how pleasant their apt. smelled.

                      (Note that Jyoti's food products, the entrees, that is, come in cans, not the boil in a bag containers.)

                      1. Thank you felafelboy for the detailed and thoughtful suggestions. I will keep an eye out for these products.

                        1. While scouting the various prepared packaged Indian foods at Whole Foods, I noticed a uniquely packaged brand, resembling a paper bag, to be carried with you. Its color is beige-ish with orange and brown color, brand name, "Kitchens of India."

                          I tried the Pindi Chana (Chicik Peas Curry). Of all the frozen and boil in a bag dishes I have had, this ranked in the top five. It had a very clean taste, and while mildly spiced, the heat does come out after two servings. Some chick pea dishes do not include small pieces of potato (the Jyoti brand of canned dishes does include potatoes); this one did have a few pieces of potatoes. The sauce it was in had a pleasant flavor.

                          The ingredients consisted of water, chick peas, potatoes, onions, sunflower oil, tomatoes, spices, green chillies, salt, ginger, garlic, pomegranate seeds powder and tea leaves extract. Many other brands just say "vegetable oil", and you can taste the difference.
                          I did not taste tomato, garlic, or ginger in the sauce. The sauce tasted like a mild tamarind flavor. Maybe that is what pomegranate seed powder tastes like.

                          If you do not have time to make chana masala from scratch, this makes for a good substitute. Most such packaged dishes have instructions referring to either boiling the bag in water, or microwaving the contents. A third method is listed on this packaging which refers to emtpying the contents into a frying pan and heating. For those who are creative, this dish would be enhanced with the additional spices and foods of preference.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: FelafelBoy

                            Finally got around to eating "Rajma Masala" as made by "Kitchens of India", packaged in an attractive yellow carrying bag-like container. Rajma Masala is also known in English words as "Red Kidney Beans Curry."

                            I originally saw this product only at Whole Foods. Now, I have seen it all the mainstream supermarkets in my area, all of which have made efforts to carry more organic, ethnic, and upscale products.

                            My only complaint about this product was that the sauce to beans ratio was too heavily weighted toward the sauce. The amount of beans is adequate for one serving. The container says that the contents have 2.5 servings.

                            For an already prepared dish, that just requires 5 minutes of immersion in boiling water, this was quite tasty. It reminded me of something close to what I might have at a restaurant it was that good. Ingredients consist of water, tomatoes, onions, red kidney beans, sunflower oil, garlic, spices, salt, and ginger.

                            I think this product would appeal to those people who like some spice, not too hot nor mild. Other brands (not Jyoti, Swad, or Green Guru) have a more sour and bitter flavor, perhaps from the poor oil used as well as their version of what spice mixture tastes good. The KOI spice mixture appeals to my preference for the kind of taste I associate with Punjabi and North Indian cooking.

                            I ate this bean dish with basmati rice, steamed spinach, some chopped cilantro, and homemade raita. It almost made up for a trip to the local Indian restaurant.

                            1. re: FelafelBoy

                              For anyone who wants a delicious and hot (spicy) version of Baingan Bharta, with semi-healthy ingredients (I say this due to the unspecified nature/origin of the vegetable oil, and the simplicity of the rest of the ingredients), look for the Swad brand. It's relatively hard to find, and the stores I have seen it in, stock it sporadically and seemingly only several times a year, at best.

                              What impressed me most about this product is the non-mushiness of the dish - this dish can be made like mush, not this version - there are strands of onions and green peas throughout the thick tomato paste/sauce amidst the roasted eggplant, which is somewhat pureed.

                              Ingredients consist of eggplant, onion, tomato paste, beg oil, gree peas, tomato, green chilies, salt, cilantro, corainder powder, cumin, and garlic.

                              As far as the taste goes, this version has a dominating flavor of tomato and eggplant heated with the spice of green chilies. It is helpful to have some raita on hand when eating this due to the heat of the dish. Of the various brands I have tasted for precooked Indian entrees, Swad is the winner in my book for Baingan Bharta.

                          2. I'm a big fan of the Tasty Bite Line, although since I'm vegan there are only a few that I've been able to try. Of those, these are my two favorites: The Bombay Potatoes I find wonderful - it's nicely full of chickpeas which provide a little bit more resistance to the bite and contrast well with the soft potatoes. I also love the Bengal Lentils, which also have a nice consistency when you bite into them and are pleasantly spiced. My store has also just started carrying their Spinach Dal, which is one of the very few vegan pre-packaged spinach-based Indian dishes I've seen. It's spinach and lentils rather than spinach and paneer, and while I can see where it might be overpureed for some, I bulked it up with some tofu cubes and fresh spinach and enjoyed it immensely. On the minus side, their answer to Bengan Bharta ("Punjab Eggplant," I think?) is also vegan but is far too tomato-based for my taste (I'm spoiled by one particular restaurant version I simply can't get over). None of their dishes are very spicy, and normally I like my Indian food very hot, but the majority of the Tasty Bite entrees make it up in flavor, to me. If you want something creamier, they're also good if you stir in a couple ounces of coconut milk or (soy) yogurt.

                            However, I just tried Jyoti's Madras Sambar canned lentil & vegetable entree, and I ended up pouring most of it down the drain. It's one of the few they have at my store that's vegan, so I had high hopes, but from other comments I've seen I suspect that the Jyoti people just have too heavy a hand with the tamarind for my taste. They also have, to my mind, a big problem with consistency - whereas the Tasty Bite ingredients tend to hold their shape really well (and granted, I've never hated the over-pureed spinach), the Jyoti thing I just tried featured vegetables which were pretty much disintegrated. There were no lentils in evidence, and I'm wondering if they had been pureed. Also, the way they stretch one can to stretch to six servings is that you're meant to stir in a half can of water, which leaves you with a very thin, runny, tamarind-heavy gravy or slurry with some extremely soft vegetable bits suspended in it and no spice to it at all. Others might really like it, but since I prefer recognizable vegetables, bright flavors, a lighter touch with the tamarind, and a thicker sauce, I honestly can't recommend this product at all.

                            1. Since my last post on this thread, I have tried packages of sambar mixes, and they have been unpalatable. Given how decent the Jyoti brand (canned Indian dishes) has been for the several kinds of dishes I have tried so far (Cholle, dal makhani), I decided to try its version of sambar.

                              Like its other dishes, the contents were a thick paste, not watered down. In fact, even this dish had to be diluted. I was surprised how good it was. If you read the ingredients, you will see that the company uses healthy ones and a nice variety - a sample of their version included coconut and eggplant, as well as the usual ingredients you would expect for this dish.

                              It was mildly spiced, and I found I had to add other ingredients to jazz up the dish, but for a base, it is an excellent start. (It can be eaten as it is, if you don't mind a mild tasting soup.) I added some fresh diced tomatoes, cilantro, carrots, and chopped green peppers. Next time, I may add a small amount of fresh unsweetened coconut. I couldn't taste the coconut that was already in the soup.

                              By reading the ingredients, I became aware that sambar can be looked upon as a pureed lentil soup combined with tamarind and other spices. I understand that there are many different kinds of sambar, so this version is just one example of it, but I do recommend it as a healthy and appealing version of that dish.

                              I look forward to trying the other Jyoti brand dishes. For a healthy prepared canned or ready to eat out of a bag Indian dish, I find Jyoti is among the best.

                              For the "bagged" meals, I like "Kitchens of India." The Swad brand (also marketed as "Patel's") is also very tasty, but higher in fat content. Among these three, I find that Swad has the best taste, KOI has a more mild and pleasing taste, and Jyoti using the healthiest ingredients and producing the "freshest" tasting product among the three.

                              Some of the ready to eat meals stored in the freezer section of markets are decent, but I have yet to find one that is spicy enough for me. I haven't seen the Green Guru line in awhile, so I don't know if Deep Foods has changed its marketing for that vegetarian line.

                              I only mention these products in case you don't have time to make your own Indian food or have access to a restaurant where you can do takeout.

                              I noticed that one of the companies that makes a spice mixture for Chana Masala has taken out one of the ingredients that resulted in a partially hydrogenated product. I do intend to make chana masala from two chana masala mixes I have. They may have expired by now in taste! The mix brands are Rasoi Magic and Shan. Dosa mixes I have bought have produced decent dosa - I just add a sauteed spiced onion/ginger/pepper to it, and eat it with the sambar.

                              1. I find the sodium and fat levels in tasty bite to be prohibitive.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ljubitca

                                  You are right about the sodium content. Keep in mind that most of these "ready to eat boil in a bag/microwave" bagged dishes ARE high in sodium. (Many Indian restaurants I have been to have made very salty dishes, which is why there is such a need to refill patrons glasses with water.)

                                  Jyoti, whose meal products are packaged in cans, have a lower (not low, but lower) sodium content, and when you consider that their dishes need to be diluted with water due to the concentration of product within the can, the sodium content per serving is lower.

                                  You can taste the various concentration of sodium in these various products. Some of the bagged ready to eat dishes taste too salty. Even Swad/Patel, whose products are very delicious taste overly salty.

                                  I think there are some versions of these dishes, in the frozen version, that have a lower sodium content (and you can taste the difference! .... for some reason, the less salt, the less intense is the flavor, in general ... I'm sure there is some maker of these dishes that has a better balance.)

                                  When I first tasted Kitchens of India's bagged dishes, they had a milder flavor and I noticed that the sodium content, while high, wasn't as bad as some of the other brands.

                                  I think Ethnic Gourmet (which I find is too mild in taste for me) and Green Guru has a lower sodium content.

                                  Regarding the fat content - that depends on the type of dish you are dealing with. Chana Masala and Dal Makhani (Jyoti version) are low in fat, in general, whereas a creamed dish, such as Saag Paneer, tend to be high.

                                  I bought Tasty Bite once or twice and was unimpressed. There are several other brands that have a stronger and more appealing flavor to me, such as Swad/Patel, Kitchens of India, Jyoti, Green Guru.

                                  The organic brand Amy's may have a line of Indian products - I'm not sure. I think that line would be more careful with the sodium and fat content. Be alert to some of the less desirable oils used in some of these products. Jyoti and KOI identify their oils as soybean and sunflower, respectively, whereas some of the other brands just say, "vegetable oil."

                                2. I am hooked on Tastee Bite's Punjab eggplant...very portable, and delicious. Very spicy.

                                  1. If you like biryanis, checkout Kitchen of India brand's noornahal and other biryanis, you'll be amazed at the depth and autheticity of taste of mace and ginger. Their biryanis taste like biryanis. They use very superior quality rice which give their biryanis another dimension of flavor.
                                    I also like their dal-bukhara ( you might need some lime juice and cilantro for garnish )
                                    I know on good authority that their Chettinad chicken and methi chicken taste very non-commercial and yummy, are not overwhelmed by garam-masala , and do not smell like a bad agarbatti ( incense-stick)

                                    1. I like Tandoor Chef's Chicken Tikka Masala, although it's a bit too oily. It's in the frozen foods section. It has at least some spice to it, although not enough. Tandoor Chef's naan is also pretty good, for being frozen. I also enjoy their Kofta Curry. I wasn't as impressed by Ethnic Gourmet.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Solstice444

                                        Interesting thread. I just stopped by a grocery store in Minnesota called Patel's and they had a huge assortment of Swad micro curries. They had a two for one special and at $1 per meal I stocked up. i'm looking forward to trying them all out.