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Dec 21, 2012

Frozen Friday: Trader Joe's - Channa Masala

Trader Joe's Channa Masala is described as a "moderately spicy dish with chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) at its center. The beans are sautéed with onions, tomatoes, peppers and exotic spices like cumin and fenugreek. It's a dish that’s wildly popular in the Punjab region of Northern India, as well as Gujarat in the West of the country."

You can think of it as a garbanzo bean curry. A 10-ounce box goes for $2.99.

While frozen Indian food isn't too common, from what I've tried so far, it tends to turn out very well out of the microwave. Simmer dishes tend to work well with the microwave, and Indian curries are definitely simmer dishes.

Fresh from the microwave, there's a mouth-watering spiced aroma that wafts from the black plastic tray and fills the kitchen. Haha, it's like you spent hours cooking it yourself... except you didn't.

The consistency is pretty thick and hearty; a bit like a good chili. The garbanzo beans are not too soft or hard. The taste gets a bit of a tang from tomatoes and an even dose of various Indians spices. It's good! Be forewarned that there is a medium amount of heat. It didn't have me sweating or reaching for water, but I did feel that burning tingle, which was just enough to set off the flavor of the curry.

I didn't feel like cooking some basmati rice, so to pair with the channa masala (masala just means a mixture of spices by the way), I went with frozen naan from (possibly soon-to-closed) Trader Joe rival, Fresh 'N Easy.

Vadilal's Hariyali Naan comes imported from India in a 11.2-ounce bag for $1.99. Each bag contains 4 pieces of naan. The naan contained bits of spring onion, green coriander, and mint leaves for an extra bit of herby flavor. I heated it up in a pan under medium heat and flipping it over several times. It had a nice bit of crispness and chew, and compares well to the packaged non-frozen variety. I liked the more varied texture over the more breadier poofy non-frozen naan Fresh & Easy had on the shelves. It went perfectly with the Channa Masala. I shall miss it if Fresh & Easy ends up going out of business.

I would go as far as to say that Trader Joe's is as good and even better than some of the Indian restaurants that I've been to and a fair bit cheaper. If you like Indian curries and aren't averse to spicy food, I'd definitely give it a try.

Nutritional Info - Trader Joe's Channa Masala
Serving Size - 1/2 Cup (142g)
Calories - 180 (from Fat - 80)
Fat - 9g (Saturated Fat - 2g)
Sodium - 450mg
Carbs - 20g (Sugar - 5g)
Protein - 5g

Nutritional Info - Vadilal Hariyali Naan
Serving Size - 1 piece (80g)
Calories - 295 (from Fat - 65)
Fat - 7g (Saturated Fat - 2g)
Sodium - 339mg
Carbs - 49g (Sugar - 1g)
Protein - 9g


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1 comment :

  1. This is one of the reasons I hate that there is no Trader Joe' near me.

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