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Curry in a Hurry 07/11/11

There's a new Indian vegetarian instant meal on the market. Veggie Buntch had a taste. By Laura Cooke.

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The local instant meal market is not very vegetarian friendly. So when Olaf Schaefer from O’South invited Veggie Buntch to sample a range of Indian vegetarian meals and frozen fruit and veg, I was intrigued.

What is it?
A range of authentic Indian ready-to-serve curries, breads, snacks as well as frozen fruit and vegetables. The range is produced by Vadilal, one of India’s most recognisable ice-cream brands, under the banner Quick Treats.
The range promises authentic Indian flavours and is free from preservatives.

But the real test in the taste…
Quick round-up
Price: About R30 per meal
As far as instant meals go, this diverse range offers a refreshingly wide selection of vegetarian meals. They are full of flavour, easy to prepare and well worth trying out.
They’re great for those days when you just don’t have the energy to cook from scratch.
And if you’re planning on hosting an Indian dinner party, this could be an excellent solution. Just decant the meals into your best dinnerware, and your guests will think you’ve mastered the trick of Indian cooking.
Preservative free.

Food miles – the meals are imported from India.
While they are preservative free, home-cooking is still best as you can control elements such as the salt, oil and other ingredients.

Where to buy
Superspar, Sea Point, Regent Rd. 94, Sea Point
Health For Life, Gardens Centre, Gardens
Organic Living, Constantia Village Shopping Centre, Constantia
Alternatively, email me for more info on ordering.

The full Vadilal range is extensive, and obviously we couldn’t taste everything. But here is a short rundown of what we sampled.

Frozen alphonso mango slices

Bursting with flavour, these frozen mango slices are delicious. Eating them straight out the frozen bag makes for an ideal frozen sweet treat.

Frozen sapota slices
Also called Chickoo, Sapota is the fruit of the Sapodilla tree and is grown in large quantities across India, Pakistan and Mexico. Like the mango slices, the sapota was flavoursome and extremely sweet. Its taste has been compared to caramel or pear with brown sugar.

Lilva Kachori

Forget samoosas, these crispy balls filled with pigeon peas (lilva) and spices are a well known Gujarati snack. We had them heated in the microwave, and while the colour was not quite as vibrant as the packaging, they are extremely moreish.

Punjabi chhole

Curried chickpeas – nice and spicy, but too overpowering.

Patra curried

This was a first for me. Crushed chickpeas wrapped in the leaves of the cocolasia or taro plant. I enjoyed this particular dish a lot. It is not something that is common to find in South Africa, and tasted fresh and lightly spicy.

Bhaigan bharta

A smoky aubergine based curry. Not a fan of smoked flavours in food, this one was my least favourite. That said, if you like smoked flavours – I am sure you would enjoy it. The dish is usually made with eggplant that has been grilled over a charcoal fire.

Onion kulcha

A traditional potato and onion stuffed bread, these can be heated up on a dry pan. I was amazed that the bread remained light and fluffy. Works very well with the curries.

Contact O’South
Web: www.osouth.co.za
Tel: +27 76 760 3294
Email: info@osouth.co.za

The current range is not entirely vegan. However the following are:
– Undhiu
– Curried Patra
– Lilva Kachori
– Mixed Pakoda
– Curried Undhiu
– Navratna Korma
– Punjabi Chhole
– Lemon Rice
The suppliers, O’South have said that they will be bringing in more fully vegan dishes with their next shipment.

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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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One Responses to this article

greta July 11, 2011 Reply

Congratulations to my friends Ursula and Olaf Schaefer for going for this obvious gap in the SA market. I’ve tasted most of their foods (possibly all of those that they’ve imported to date) and each and every sampling of that Vadilal range has exceeded expectation – don’t have any preconceived notions about “heat ‘n eat” food. This tastes exactly like someone’s grandma made it 5 minutes ago!

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