Ready-to-Cook Mixtures You Should Be Ready to Try
Are you the kind of person who likes to try new things? If you are not, well, you must consider being one, just for once! If you already are, then make sure that your buying list has more space for these products that I am about to particularize. Trust me, when you find them grab them already.
I am not sure how well these products do outside India but considering the fact that most of them are exported I assume that two or three, if not all, of these products could be available in your favorite grocery stores. Either way, if you happen to be in India or have a good friend here just don't give these products a miss. Or perhaps, you can suggest these items to anybody you know who might have access of them.
So, ready for the search and rescue....eerrrr, yeah rescue! Rescue these products from being expired without getting sold. These products are really worth trying and it seems like not many are fond of trying new things. They are just contented with the "old and usual" stuffs. As for me these days, I have been trying to find online sellers who would ship to our place for I am just an individual customer and not a shopkeeper...not much money in me, ehh, so why bother, right? Hmmm! I have also kept the empty packets I have and shown them to the shopkeepers around here but to no avail.
Here are the 5 of the "discovered and rescued" ready-to-cook mixtures that deserve your trying:
1. "Kwality" Gobi Manchurian
Gobi, as many may know, is cauliflower. And this packet is a powder of mixed spices to make a delicious cauliflower recipe, whether it's for snack, lunch or dinner. Instructions on how to make this are written at the back of the box so all you need to do is follow them through. But when I make it myself, I add a little bit more of bell pepper or capsicum, onion, and coriander leaves. Spring onion will do, too, if coriander leaves are not available. And before I turn off the stove I would sprinkle lemon juice to it for added taste. It is sapid and easy to make. It is not that spicy also.
I have also tried making Gobi Manchurian without the help of this mixture and, I daresay, it turned out great, too. So if you would like to have the recipe, check my Gobi Manchurian hub.
2. "MTR" Masala Idli (Spicy Idli)
If you are not fond of Idlis, this mixture might change your mind but if you are, then this is a perfect choice for you. Since there are other idli powder mixtures available from the same manufacturer like Rava Idli or Rice Idli, you must look for "Masala Idli". You can follow the instructions given on how to make this masala idli and if you do you will need a sambar or vegetable stew to eat it with. But at home, I make certain changes because my husband and I don't like sambar. It gives us a burning sensation in the stomach afterwards.
Generally, idlis are steamed. My way is "pan-fry without the sambar" but eaten with vegetable salad.
So what I do is with the powder that comes in this packet, I add a variety of vegetables such as cabbage, carrots & beans; plenty of roasted groundnuts/peanuts -cut into half; fresh coconut meat pieces (small and thin); and chopped coriander leaves. Sometimes I used curd instead of water in making the batter. Mix them thoroughly making sure the mixture is not watery. When the batter is ready, I heat a flat pan under a medium flame, pour a little oil to it (I used vegetable oil before but I stopped and used coconut oil instead), then add a spoon or two of the mixture to the pan patting it on the surface and around to make a patty. Let it get cooked for around 3 minutes in low flame to avoid scorching. Then turn to cook the upper side. Do the same to the rest of the batter.
It is best eaten with mixed vegetable salad (a mixture of thinly-sliced cabbage, carrots, green capsicum, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and chaat masala). It is really good!
Note: Depending on the number of patties you want to make, prepare the mixed vegetables first then add the powder slowly to make sure that the batter is not watery (it should not). And there is no need to finish the entire packet of this powder in one cooking. You can make half of it then store the rest for later.
3. "Knorr" Paneer Butter Masala
Paneer is a cheese made by curdling heated milk with vinegar or lemon juice. I believe "paneer" is available everywhere, may not be in all stores, but can be found as long as you know what you are looking for. Tofu is a substitute for this kind of cheese.
This powder mixture is the quickest of all ready-to-cook mixtures I have tried. I tried it with butter, as suggested in the packet. I also tried making it with ghee or clarified butter, which can be made at home, of course, and I almost always use ghee with this as long as we have it. Ghee somehow adds a different taste and aroma with this mixture. Also, I add plenty of fresh coriander leaves just a few seconds after I added the paneer to get rid of its raw smell. Kwality's latest released Gobi Manchurian mixture (the one in the picture) is slightly spicy but it is something that one need not bother.
I serve this mixture with potato/aloo paratha (stuffed Indian bread). This paratha is made of wheat flour mixed with potato (boiled and mashed), 3 teaspoons of lightly roasted sesame seeds or til, 2 teaspoons of yeast, 2 teaspoons of ajwain seeds (commonly known as carom seeds), curd instead of water.
4. "Haldiram's" Bhelpuri
It has been one of our favorite "not-so-healthy" kind of snacks. For a few months we were into it, like, once every week then we ran out of stock. Lately, I found this mixture in one of the bigger grocery shops here. The grocer refused to sell it to me by saying it has expired. Well, I wanted to see it, nevertheless. So I insisted. Only to find out that its expiry is still in June 2014. He thought it expired in January... kind of Jun and Jan...one letter difference and this item was just sitting there in his store cupboard as a filler -you know to fill the empty spaces. Well, he sold 3 more after that.
This mixture is truly ambrosial and very easy to prepare. With this, aside from the boiled potato that is suggested by the manufacturer, I generally add finely chopped carrots, although it can do without it, and lots of coriander leaves to make it a little healthier, and of course, a way to eat vegetables. Because this mixture is on the spicier side you have to add lemon juice to it before being served. The juice blends with it so perfectly that the zest becomes manageable, which is great for people who don't like super spicy stuffs.
Although Bhelpuri is considered as a snack, it can be your lunch or dinner too. One packet can be made to serve 2-3 people. One person can eat the whole thing, too, but may not be in one sitting.
Which one of these items have you tried and/or liked more?
5. "Rasoi Magic" Palak (Spinach) Paneer
Rasoi Magic manufactures many different ready-to-cook mixtures like Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Tikka Masala, Paneer Makhanwala, etc. and we have tried most of them. Some didn't make it to the next buying list, others did. Palak Paneer is one of them among the ones I just mentioned. I make this mixture with only a few changes like using ghee or butter instead of oil and adding coriander leaves before it is served.
What to eat with this mixture? Same old aloo paratha. Read "Rasoi Magic" Paneer Butter Masala above for the ingredients of this paratha.
There they are -only five for now and this list could grow longer for I won't stop trying new things. But when you find and tried them yourselves, do let me know what do you think of them.