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Patak's Indian products...yay or nay?

yummfood Aug 19, 2011 12:33 PM

I love Indian food and recently I've seen Patak's Indian products in grocery stores and advertised on television. Has anyone tried their simmer sauces? I was thinking of trying them out, but don't want to spend money on something I'm going to end up throwing out. Thanks in advance!

  1. p
    pine time Aug 19, 2011 01:19 PM

    In a pinch, I'll use Patak's. Quality is good, flavors generally good (altho' I often add more spice blends), company has a good reputation for hygiene. I usually make Indian food from scratch, but there are days it's just (a) not possible, and (b) not gonna happen.

    1. The Professor Aug 19, 2011 01:25 PM

      Ditto what pine time said...I'd rather do the stuff from scratch since it isn't that complicated to begin with, but for a quick fix, Patak's is decent enough for a supermarket brand.

      Fortunately I live in an area of NJ dense with Indian and Pakistani population...their grocery stores carry a wealth of better ready to use products at a much lower price.

      1 Reply
      1. re: The Professor
        smartie Aug 19, 2011 02:52 PM

        plus another. I use the pastes to marinade chicken or lamb and then doctor my curry with more spices, yoghurt, nuts cream that sort of thing.

      2. n
        ninrn Aug 19, 2011 03:37 PM

        Just a different two cents: I don't like Patak's pre-prepared products at all. To me the flavors are off and very flat. Every five years or so, they rename and relabel them to look like new products and I try one or two thinking some combination of 'how bad could it be? ' and 'I can make this work' and then invariably end up chucking them or tweaking them so much it's hardly worth it. There are a couple of cheap, weirdly anonymous wet curry blends in small foil packets that are sold in the Indian and Indonesian/Malaysian sections of some Asian groceries, that are quite good with minimal tweaking, and only about a dollar a packet. I don't remember specific brands, but they have very basic names like "Chicken Curry Mix", "Vegetable Curry Mix", a very clear, simple ingredient list without any sugar or potato starch, and state clearly on the package that all ingredients are pure vegetarian (even the kind for meat curries.) My suggestion would be to try some of those.

        1. n
          Nyleve Aug 21, 2011 07:46 AM

          If I want to make a quick curry without dragging out my entire spice collection, a Patak's curry paste is absolutely fine. I like their Madras curry paste with chicken or lamb. I often muck it up with additional ingredients - vegetables or coconut cream or whatnot - if I have them hanging around the house. For something that takes, like, half an hour, it's a pretty decent meal. If I want to take the time, I will make a good curry from scratch, but otherwise this will do the trick.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve
            paulj Aug 21, 2011 09:31 AM

            I've used their spice pastes for a number of years, as well as some of their pickles. I prefer the pastes (whether Pataks or some other brand) to 'curry powder' (except for lightly flavoring rice or a cream sauce). And since I don't cook a lot of Indian these days, my stock of individual spices is somewhat spotty, and old in places.

            1. re: paulj
              Mestralle Aug 21, 2011 12:14 PM

              I'm addicted to their garlic relish. They don't carry it locally, and so I ordered some online, but one of the jars broke in transit, which made the package (and the remaining intact contents) rather pungent. I have to keep them sealed in plastic to appease my husband.

              But I do use the sauces a bit, as well. My husband isn't a fan of Indian, and so it's hard to justify spending the time to make it from scratch when it's just myself. It makes a quick and easy lunch (or dinner when he's not at home).

          2. l
            lkblum Aug 21, 2011 09:42 AM

            I haven't tried any of the plain sauces, but I don't like their pre-packaged meal products at all. They have a terrible off taste to me.

            6 Replies
            1. re: lkblum
              pine time Aug 21, 2011 10:15 AM

              To clarify, I was writing about the bottled pastes/sauces, too. Have never used the packaged meal products.

              1. re: pine time
                chefdaddyo Aug 21, 2011 10:39 AM

                We've been buying their tandori paste mix for almost 20 years. We love it, but I cannot do a side by side, because thats all I've ever tasted. You mix it 50/50 with lo fat plain yougurt. Superb on pork loin or chops, skinless chicken, and even on lamb racks a few times. Beware that I am a total rookie when it comes to Indian style food.

                1. re: chefdaddyo
                  pine time Aug 21, 2011 12:21 PM

                  The only paste/sauce I wasn't happy with was for biryani. Biryani is such an involved dish, and the bottled paste didn't have the depth and layers of scratch. A whole lot easier though, of course!

                  1. re: pine time
                    lhq Aug 22, 2011 04:53 AM

                    agree on the biryani -- very disappointing. the garlic relish is addictive. Mango relish also good.

                    1. re: pine time
                      boogiebaby Mar 17, 2013 11:33 AM

                      I use the Biriyani paste as a base for my chicken Biriyani. I don't follow the directions as printed On the jar. I add my own spices, yoghurt, browned onions, etc. I've tried following the bottle directions and it wasn't nearly as good.

                      1. re: boogiebaby
                        pine time Mar 17, 2013 02:34 PM

                        Agree completely. As I wrote ages ago, biryani, when well done, has such a depth of flavors, I just don't see how it's possible with any one-size-fits-all (or one-flavor-fits-all). Only way to compensate is by using the paste as a base and doctoring to your tastes.

              2. h
                Harters Aug 21, 2011 11:11 AM

                I hate to diss a local producer but their cook-in sauces are as poor as everyone's.

                However, the pastes are fine for those times when you don't want to make something from scratch. I really only use the tandoori one, mixing it with yoghurt, as a marinade for chicken.

                1. v
                  Val Aug 21, 2011 11:14 AM

                  Well, I just bought a jar of the Patak's Rogan Josh simmering sauce...if you "join" Cost Plus World Market, they "give you" $10 on your birthday to spend in the store (exludes wine/beer) so that's what I chose today--I think the jar was $3.99. Will try it out this week with some lamb shoulder chops I have in freezer and will do them in the crock pot on a workday. Will let you know how it turns out...

                  1. j
                    Jenny Ondioline Aug 21, 2011 11:14 AM

                    The pastes are pretty good because you can tweak them, using more or less depending on the dish or your mood. I find the simmer sauces really bland, though. I have no problem with the chutneys and pickles either, although since I have quality Indian groceries near me, I usually pick up other brands just for the variety.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                      Val Aug 21, 2011 11:23 AM

                      Jenny, what could I add to the Rogan Josh simmering sauce BEFORE turning on the crockpot to tweak it, please? Any suggestions? Thanks very much...I do have whole green cardamom pods in my spice cabinet.

                      1. re: Val
                        paulj Aug 21, 2011 12:41 PM

                        I'd focus on tweaking flavors after the crockpot time (not that I've used crockpots in a long time). If not hot enough, add something hot. Garam masala is commonly used at the end to add a fresh layer of these 'warm' spices.

                        Well browned onions could also be added, either at the beginning or end.

                        1. re: paulj
                          Val Aug 21, 2011 01:01 PM

                          Good points, paulj, thanks!

                    2. r
                      rasputina Aug 21, 2011 12:22 PM

                      Not nearly as good as homemade. I don't buy them anymore, but I tried them years ago.

                      1. MsDiPesto Aug 22, 2011 12:58 PM

                        Tried one of their jarred curry sauces from the supermarket once.

                        It overwhelmingly tasted of one spice that I may have tasted in only a minor role in a curry, if at all, whether I made the curry or ordered it in an Indian restaurant. So out it went, it was just not appealing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MsDiPesto
                          ninrn Aug 22, 2011 06:00 PM

                          I agree Ms DiPesto. A little fenugreek really makes for an authentic curry, but it has to be just a pinch and go in right at cooking time. I think the fenugreek, even the tiny amount Patak's probably uses, sitting in their mixtures for months, turns the whole thing a bit off. That and, since it's the cheapest of the spices they use, they put a ton of cumin in everything, and that also does not benefit from months-long steepage.

                        2. Kholvaitar Mar 17, 2013 07:09 AM

                          I use Patak's Garam Masala Curry Paste on occasion.

                          Good stuff.

                          1. Perilagu Khan Mar 17, 2013 08:21 AM

                            Only thing I've tried is their hot mango relish, which I love. It's my favorite store-bought Indian chutney/relish/pickle.

                            1. Breadcrumbs Mar 17, 2013 08:44 AM

                              I have been using Patak's Hot Curry Paste and Madras Curry Paste for years. I have no issue w their quality or flavour and have always been satisfied. I say "yay" to the OP.

                              Interestingly Meena Pathak, co-owner of the company differentiates folks who use their pastes vs their sauces. There's a short, informative article from the Guardian UK if anyone is interested:


                              I also have a couple of Meena Pathak's Cookbooks which I quite enjoy. They don't require use of the company's sauces or pastes.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                Harters Mar 17, 2013 08:56 AM

                                See my post of 21/8/11 which supports Ms Pathak's view of the sauces versus pastes.

                                1. re: Harters
                                  Breadcrumbs Mar 17, 2013 09:02 AM

                                  Very interesting Harters, your inclinations were on point. I'll have to try the Tandoori paste as soon as we have some sustainable warm weather and I can convince mr bc to head back out to the grill!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                    Harters Mar 17, 2013 09:57 AM

                                    I'm envious. We rarely have weather suitable for outdoor cooking. But you can easily oven cook using the tandoori (or tikka) paste. Mix some into yoghurt and marinate chicken breasts in it for 24 hours and then bake on a high heat. Much better if you slash the flesh so you can work the marinade into the slashes.

                                    1. re: Harters
                                      Breadcrumbs Mar 17, 2013 10:00 AM

                                      Nice Harters - a great idea. I'll definitely give it a try...and add Patak's Tandoori to my shopping list! Thank-you!

                                      1. re: Harters
                                        pine time Mar 17, 2013 02:36 PM

                                        While far from authentic, I've used the tandoori paste as a base for my kheema for samosas. Then used the Patak's pickles as a go-with. Yum. We eat samosas--by the plateful--as a main dish, rather than the measly 2-samosas you get in a restaurant as an appetizer!

                                2. Bacardi1 Mar 17, 2013 09:42 AM

                                  A resounding "Yay" here. I'm definitely a fan. And I cook a LOT of Indian dishes, frequently from scratch with whole spices, etc., etc.

                                  But in a pinch, the Patak brand is excellent, especially since they've increased the variety of their offerings in recent years. I particularly enjoy having their "Vindaloo" paste on hand, as well as their basic "Hot Curry" paste.

                                  Last year my husband gifted me with a book on the history of curry & it's popularity in the UK. Very interesting read, & had a complete rundown on the Patak family & how they started out.

                                  1. t
                                    tardigrade Mar 17, 2013 12:02 PM

                                    I like their brinjal and lime pickles. There are better ones available, but the grocery I usually shop at only carries the Patak products - and then a limited assortment.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: tardigrade
                                      Rasam Mar 17, 2013 01:23 PM

                                      +1 on the Patak Brinjal Pickle. I have not used any of the other Pathak products, since I don't use simmer sauces etc usually in my cooking.
                                      But the brinjal pickle is really really good. It has a very good balance of sweet, hot, and savory. It goes well as the usual accompaniment to an Indian meal, but also really good on sandwiches etc.
                                      It's the one pickle the entire family likes.

                                      1. re: Rasam
                                        pine time Mar 17, 2013 02:38 PM

                                        I'm not a great fan of many Indian pickles, but I do love the Patak brinjal ones! In fact, just planted some eggplant this afternoon, so I may get some experience in home-pickled brinjal this year.

                                        1. re: pine time
                                          Rasam Mar 17, 2013 03:32 PM

                                          That sounds terrific! Do share if your eggplant pickle turns out well. Thanks ...

                                          I personally love most desi pickles, northern southern eastern western, but am born and bred to the taste.

                                      2. re: tardigrade
                                        Peg Mar 20, 2013 02:26 PM

                                        plus one for the brinjal pickle - very yummy!

                                      3. k
                                        Kalivs Mar 17, 2013 12:38 PM

                                        I just checked my mum's cupboard. She uses MDH & MTR spices when she's making a regional dish that doesn't rely on garam masala (we grind our own garam masala & masala for channas).

                                        I grew up with Patak"s lime and mango pickles. They were one of the first commercially available lines. But there are so many more options. About ten years ago, Trader Joe's had a decent line of simmer sauces but I don't know if they still carry them.
                                        I find that dry spice mixes are better to use because you can add your own liquids & tomatoes or other vegetables.

                                        Good luck and have fun!

                                        1. C. Hamster Mar 17, 2013 04:09 PM


                                          1. p
                                            pikapika Mar 20, 2013 08:19 AM


                                            I also like their oven bake biryani sauce. It's great and is really easy.

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