Packed Foods

The Taste Company: The First Try With Couple Of Trial / Combo Packs

I recently heard about this brand called The Taste Company who creates “just add boiling water” instant meal bowls that are similar to the famous Cup Noodles but with Indian food items… From what I could gather, The Taste Company is a brand based in Telangana and they specialise in making instant foods, focussing on Hot Indian Food items and they claim to be having an anti-plastic policy and hence uses eco friendly materials… So, having seen a couple of reviews, I thought of trying and got a couple of their Trial / Combo packs, namely their Meal Combo and their Non-Veg Combo which includes 3 vegetarian and 3 non-vegetarian products respectively… All of them arrived packed in a box as can be seen in the pic below and over the next few days, I could taste all of them and here we are…

So, the 3 veg bowl that arrived were Dal Khichdi, Classic Dal Rice and Special Veg Rice and the 3 non-veg bowls that arrived were Chicken Curry Rice, Palak Chicken Rice and Exotic Prawn Rice… And the procedure is same for use… Inside each bowl is a sealed packet containing the dehydrated food… So, what we have to do is to open up that packet and transfer its content to the given bowl and then fill it with boiling water up to the marked level and close the bowl’s lid after stirring it a bit and wait till it gets done, the time for which is mentioned on each bowl… When its ready, we can open the lid and they recommend that we stir the contents of the bowl well first before consuming and since stirring is involved, they do give one disposable wooden spoon in each bowl as can be seen in the pics included here…

Lets start by talking about the Dal Khichdi… The following pics show the product at each stage of preparation… First of all, let me mention that even though it looks like the quantity is too less before you start the preparation, as can be seen from the pics below, once its ready, the volume becomes more than double and to be frank, I felt that its enough as a meal for me, which is equivalent to the quantity seen in the recently discussed Cup Noodles, which is moderately filling but does not fill the stomach completely, for which I think you would need to eat two of them… 🙂 Anyways, coming to the taste, first of all, I could feel a really good fragrance and taste of Ghee in it and it seemed to have Carrots, Tomatoes and Onions as vegetables and also appeared to have mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander leaves like how we see in case of most Dal Khichdi options that we get in restaurants… We had discussed about what Dal Khichdi is before (South Indians who may be unaware can think of it as. the North Indian version of Pongal) and I found this one to taste almost like that one, with the difference being the higher quantity of Ghee in this one… It did feel quite comforting to eat this (Dal Khichdi is the ultimate North Indian comfort food after all) and I was quite surprised at the fact that the ingredients still had that fresh taste, although the texture was a bit different, which I am guessing to be because of the dehydration process… Overall, I just loved this and I found myself enjoying it on its own, though I think if you have some raita and pickle to go with it, it might be an even better experience… 🙂

Next up, lets talk about the Classic Dal Rice… From the image shown on the container, I expected to see the dal to be the Punjabi kind, made with Black Gram, but instead, as can be seen from the pics below, its similar to the Dal Khichdi we discussed about above… I felt the taste to be the same except for two differences… 1) The rice here was the long grain Basmati Rice and so the fragrance of that rice was coming thru the Dal; and 2) Unlike the Khichdi, this one felt like eating a bowl of Dal Chawal where the Dal and the Rice were pretty much standing on its own here ie, unlike the case of the Khichdi where the rice and the dal were cooked together with the dal reducing, here, it felt like both were cooked separately and then just put together and mixed, which is how Dal Chawal is done and thats how it felt… Other than that, the flavours were pretty much the same though not as concentrated as it was in the case of the Dal Khichdi… Anyways, this is yet another comfort food from India thats lovely to have hot especially during a cold rainy day or during winter…

Now lets talk about the last of the products from the Meal Combo pack which was the Special Veg Rice… As soon as I opened the package, I felt hit by the aroma of a nice South Indian Veg Khurma but slightly spicy with flavour of the Hyderabadi style masala… Along with the incredibly aromatic Basmati Rice, one can’t help but get reminded of a Hyderabadi Biriyani when having this… However, though you get reminded of it, its clearly not a biriyani as key flavours of the Biriyani like that of Ghee, Saffron, etc seemed to be missing… But essentially what this seems to be to me is that they made a really nice and spicy Veg Khurma, made with Carrots, Green Peas and Potatoes in a gravy that has Cashew paste and Ginger-Garlic paste in it and mixed it up with the pre-cooked Rice… Coming to the taste, its definitely spicy, but not too hot like how sometimes the spicy foods tend to be… Instead, the flavours of the spices felt quite balanced and hence very enjoyable to eat…

Next we’ll talk about the non-veg products, starting with the Chicken Curry Rice… This one again appeared to be made with the long grain Basmati rice and as can be seen in the pics below, it did have enough boneless pieces of Chicken for the quantity… Regarding the taste, when it was ready and I opened the lid, I felt the aroma of a Biriyani, making me wonder if by Chicken Curry Rice, they meant one of those non-dum Chicken Biriyani… When I tasted it, again, the flavours were very similar to how it is in a typical Hyderabadi Biriyani, though not as spicy as the same… So, my guess is that they used the same masala thats typically used for the Biriyanis to prepare the Chicken Curry which was then mixed with the cooked Basmati Rice (we have seen many places who assemble and serve “biriyani” by pouring some Chicken Curry into a plate of Rice, right??)… The Chicken pieces felt cooked well and everything felt to have been seasoned perfectly… I liked the taste of the masala and there was also, the fragrance and taste of Ghee along with the herbs… Of-course, the dry fruits and nuts typically used in a Biriyani were not present (though I did feel a nutty element ground into the masala – from the ingredients listed in the pack, I guess that must be the ground Watermelon Seeds, which is typically used when making Hyderabadi masala)… Anyways, overall, I felt this Chicken Curry Rice to be quite yummy to eat… 🙂

The other Chicken based product I got was the Palak Chicken Rice as can be seen in the pics below… As the name suggests, its based on the popular dish called Palak Chicken where Chicken is cooked in a Spinach based gravy, which gives it that rich Green colour… This one appeared to have more pieces of Chicken compared to the Chicken Curry rice and though there is some Garam Masala in this, the flavours that appeared to dominate were those of the Spinach, Coriander and Mint Leaves… Though they felt nice and refreshing and the Chicken pieces felt cooked well, unfortunately, the whole product appeared to be completely dominated by the taste of Vanaspati, which is basically hydrogenated fat from Palm Oil… Though according to ingredients, there is Palm Oil in all the products that I have got here, it is in this one that I am getting a very strong flavour of vanaspati and for that reason, I personally didn’t like this particular product…

Last but not least is the only Seafood product that arrived, which is the Exotic Prawn Rice… First of all, there seemed to be quite a generous quantity of Prawns in this product when compared to even what most restaurants here serve… Coming to the taste, what this reminded me of is the Andhra style seafood preparation thats known as the Pulusu which is a slightly tangy curry thats made using Tamarind Pulp as a key ingredient… Seafood dishes generally needs a sour component in them and this Andhra recipe tends to be spicy and tangy at the same time… So, I think this product is based on the Royalla Pulusu… However, compared to how Royalla Pulusu usually is, the taste here was less spicy and more tangy as in the taste of the Tamarind was taking the lead but at the same time, it wasn’t so much that it dominated over everything else… The Prawns felt to be well cooked and everything was seasoned perfectly even though the flavour of the prawns couldn’t be felt when you ate this without any of the Prawn pieces… However, I did end up liking this product better than the other two from the Non-Veg Combo… 🙂

So, thats it… Though I ended up having mixed feelings about the Non-Veg Combo pack, I must say that I did enjoy the products from the Vegetarian Meal Combo with Dal Khichdi being my absolute favourite from the 6 products that I had… So, I am planning to keep some of the Vegetarian products in stock like how I do with Cup Noodles to have once in a while or during emergencies when other options are limited… I think it would be a great idea to carry some of these when travelling too, though you need to be able to get hot water to prepare them for consumption… Anyways, I am hoping to try some of the remaining products of theirs soon… So, feel free to check them out and let me know in the comments section below… Take care 🙂

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