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Apr 3, 2013 05:08 AM

Best Canned Indian Food?

Are there any canned Indian food brands that you'd recommend?

I recall, about 10 years ago, having a canned saag that tasted okay, but I'm drawing a blank on the name. Even if they're cheap, I'd still prefer to not have to taste too many different brands to find one that I like, because I do recall that some brands aren't fit for human consumption.

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  1. If you want to expand your search to jarred foods, I have two recommendations: (1) Tiger, Tiger Tandoori paste and (2) Taj Ethnic Gourmet Punjab Saag Spinach Sauce.

    The Patak brand is probably better known than the Tiger, Tiger brand, but I like TT's stronger tamarind note. The first time I marinated the food -- salmon -- I followed the instructions on the jar and thought the underlying flavor of the food was completely masked. Now, I combine one small container of Greek-style yogurt and 1/4 cup tandoor paste. Then, I marinate the fish no more than 2 1/2 hours.

    With a name like "Ethnic Gourmet" I have serious doubts about the authenticity, but I like the taste. I brown the protein -- typically ground turkey -- and simmer the meat in the sauce, covered, for 20-25 minutes. With 5-6 minutes to go, I lift off the cover and put as much fresh spinach on top of the meat/sauce mixture as will fit. (I've even stuff more spinach that will let my cover fit back correctly, but the spinach cooks down and the lid seals just fine in a very short amount of time.) When the spinach is fully wilted, stir the mixture to distribute the spinach throughout the recipe. Incidentally, the instructions don't say to add more spinach; I just like to do this.

    1. Go to your local Indian store and buy the shelf stable packs of MDH, Haldiram, or similar packed dishes. Much better than the stuff in a can. I cook Indian food at home but I always have a couple packs of the Haldiram Kadhi Pakora and Palak Paneer in hand for a last minute side dish.

      1. I haven't found any good canned brands, but as boogiebaby recommends, there are boxed brands with good reputations: Gits, Haldiram's, Swad, etc. I usually have the Swad baingan bhartha and sarson ka saag on hand for quick meals. The kadhi pakora is okay; sometimes I keep a box to switch it up. The lentils and channa that Tasty Bite makes are also pretty good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JungMann

          I haven't seen the Swad ones around here.

          The Deep brand frozen foods are also pretty decent.

        2. Thanks, everyone, but I'm looking for feedback on canned options, not jarred, packs or frozen options. I'm specifically interested in cans because of the expense.

          2 Replies
          1. re: scott123

            The Haldiram shelf stable packs at my Indian store are $1.99. I've seen cans of Jyoti Saag at Whole Foods for $3.99. Not sure why you are under the impression that the canned items will be cheaper than non-canned.

            1. re: boogiebaby

              The Swad boxes at my Indian store are 99 cents each. If I buy them in Manhattan the price might jump to $2.99, but by unit weight, that's still cheaper than a can of tuna.

          2. I've been amazon ordering canned food for my Aunt who doesn't live that close to any Indian stores and needed something that she could heat & eat. So far, she's really liked the jyoti brand. She adds a little salt & spice. She has tried the saag, rajmah, daal makhani & chole.