Friday Treat from Waitrose Supermarket

Karam reviews the Waitrose Kashmiri Thali. It ends up being his Friday treat along with some other goodies. Going by the looks of things, we’ll soon have Indian food available more conveniently outside India than in it.

Ed: Karam posted this a while back. We just couldn’t publish it earlier.

Two Scallops served on shells topped with mashed potatoes and cheese sauce, heated in the microwave before serving. It’s great value for money; two scallops in their shells at £1.69, about 68 rupees. Had the starters with white wine and saved the shells for future use when making my own scallop dishes.

Main Meal: Kashmiri Thali Banquet , with Cobra beer
Nowadays, Indian chefs are employed to cook Indian cuisine packaged for home market. I tried the Kashmiri Thali Banquet for two, which was priced at £7.00 about 455 Rupees. The same meal in a restaurant would cost at least £30, about 1950 rupees and the quantity was more than enough for two people. The thali included – Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Pasanda, Pilau Rice, Baby corn and Asparagus Masala, Spinach dal, Masala Pooris and Onion Bhajis (Pakoras). It was a tasty meal, very authentic Indian type that I could have cooked myself. Beautifully packaged, the thali had compartments and was microwaveable. I thoroughly enjoyed it though I did think that it was a bit low on salt. Then again, my consumption of salt is high.

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I particularly liked the Asparagus masala. Normally this vegetable does not cook well unless blanched in boiling water for few minutes only. It was crispy and it looked like it was blanched and added to Masala rather then being cooked in it. The baby corn added crunchiness. For a Punjabi, only two Masala Puris are an affront! I had to supplement the dish with Greek Pita bread. I also made a salad to accompany this dish and topped rice with dollops of fresh Turkish style yoghurt.

These supermarkets are driving Indian take-away’s to the ground as an added advantage is that the food has been cooked to conform with health and safety standards at Waitrose. Personally, I do not trust the hygiene at Indian take-aways  and  recommend this Waitrose Thali over a take-away.

Pudding was Lemon Drizzle Cake with Custard and plum desert wine; I do have a tin of Gulab Jamuns but was too lazy to open it.

Thoroughly enjoyable Friday evening treat – now I can go out for a pint of local beer.

By Karam Bharij

a lecturer, freelance photo-journalist afflicted with the travel bug, sampler of fine wines and an avid cook of Kenyan, Indian, Chinese, Greek and French cuisines particularly fusion recipes. He has travelled extensively in Tunisia, the Far East, Europe, Turkey and the Greek Islands in the Aegean and Iona sea. All his travels are off the tourist beats to savour different cultures and foods. He's even crossed the desert with a Bedouin caravan a few years ago living on a rustic diet of Harrissa (ground red chillies with garlic), tomatoes and flat breads.