August 01, 2010

I Used to eat healthy food | Tandoor Chef Kofta Curry | Miss E bakes

One can get addicted to restaurant dining. Normally we eat out very little but lately we've been eating out so often — dinner with friends, lunch with friends — you know how it goes when you're on vacation. I've been trying to counter all the salt and grease with lots of fresh salads, veggies and fruit, in between the restaurants, but I'm not going to lie to you, what you see above was my breakfast on Friday. That's right, breakfast. It's the leftovers from a dinner at Monty's Blue Plate Diner a vegetarian-and-vegan-friendly greasy spoon in Madison Wis. You're looking at the remaining half of a Heathen Vegan Shoplifter's Delight: grilled portobellos, tempeh, red onions, avocado and lemon-tahini dressing on sourdough French bread. With a side of waffle fries. Extra grease? Check. Too much salt? Check. Tasty? Unhuh. My husband had the same thing but he had the "low carb" version served in a wrap, with a salad instead of fries. I felt guilty eating my crispy, greasy, spicy fries, but obviously not guilty enough to order the salad. If I could have had the yummy kale chips from The Green Owl instead of the fries I certainly would have ordered those; I would have. But clearly my behavior has become unhinged, and my ideals have taken a temporary (let us hope) vacation.

But, see here — here's the leftover Saigon salad that I made from Zoa's recipe. See, I still do eat fresh food. I had the leftovers for lunch (not on the same day as the sandwich; I was too full for lunch.), which adds up to two dinners and two lunches of Saigon salad without getting tired of it. I started with a big bed of salad greens and a small mound of soba, on top of which went the leftover salad. I topped it with peanuts and nori for the perfect lunch.


Tandoor Chef, from Deep Foods

The folks at Deep Foods, Inc. offered to send me samples of their line of frozen, vegan Tandoor Chef foods, and thinking that they'd come in handy while we were "vacationing" in Madison, I happily accepted. They sent five different varieties, and we tried the Kofta Curry for dinner Friday night.

We had just spent two days trying to clear our nearly totally plugged bathtub drain. We tried the baking soda-vinegar-hot water routine, and endless rounds of plunging, all to no avail. (Readers of this blog know that we lived in Seattle last year, and are back in our Madison home for a few weeks getting it ready to rent again for next year.) The plunging pulled up gross black gunk and glitter (sigh) and I feared the worst. I'd earlier fished up a large elastic ponytail holder from the sink drain, and suspected a serial drain stuffer may have been living in our house. We waited all day for our plumber to call back, and when he finally did at 4:30, he recommended a rooter service. (Greg's Rite Now Rooter 279-0858 if you're in Madison!)

The happy end of the story is the drain was stuffed with the normal variety of grossness, and by 7 P.M. it was cleared. I hadn't eaten since breakfast (ahem) and we were both hungry and tired, so Indian food from the freezer seemed like a great idea. I chose the Kofta Curry because dumplings are such great comfort food, and we were feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the house stuff we've been trying to do. We don't have a microwave so used the conventional oven method of baking for about 28 minutes. We also made brown rice, salad and broccoli. The curry was spicy and delicious. The dumplings, light and flavorful. I was very impressed and thought it tasted great. Here's what the Web site says:

In the early 1970's, Mrs. Bhagwati Amin's love for good authentic cuisine gave birth to a hobby. She had a passion for sharing the cuisine and culture of her homeland, and served delicious food to friends and neighbors at every possible opportunity.
Soon, small Indian store owners sought her abilities. As a result, she worked nights and weekends to satisfy her desire to make and serve high quality foods for the broader community. Many advised her to open a restaurant, but she knew that the time required to run a restaurant would detract from her family's needs.
In just a short time, her products became very popular. In 1977, Mrs. Amin and her husband began work on what is today Deep Foods – producing a full line of Tandoor Chef frozen appetizers, entrées and side dishes that delight households across the United States. Today the Tandoor Chef brand remains a family affair, now incorporating the second generation who spends a great deal of time in the kitchen, dreaming up new entrées for you to enjoy.

The box contained two servings, 100 calories each. Each serving had 7 g of fat, 400 mg of sodium, 1 g of fiber, 2 g of sugar, 6 g total carbohydrates and 1 g of protein. The nutrition facts for the Tandoor Chef dinners vary widely depending on the variety, so I'll provide that information for each item as I review it.

I'm looking forward to trying the other meals, and will highlight them during the next couple of weeks.
Full disclosure: Tandoor Chef sent me free samples of their vegan products but did not require or influence my review.
Miss E makes cookies
Here's a photo (taken with a phone and emailed to me) of a very serious Miss E making cookies. Although her Mama claims to have helped, Miss E says she made them "mine own self." When I spoke with her on skype, I asked if the cookies were vegan. "No," said Miss E, "chocolate chip!"

Now that Miss E knows how to bake, I'm looking forward to creating lots of kitchen masterpieces with her!


  1. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and for the great advise on the tofu. I do believe I will try freezing it the next time. I love your blog! What awesome looking foods!! I hope you don't mind, but I'm adding you to my blog list! I hope you come and visit again! :o)

  2. I am always hesitant to try frozen meals (probably because of gross experiences with Lean Cuisine and Hot Pockets when I was younger). The Tandoor Chef meals sound like something I'd like to try though. I'm sure it has to be better than Hot Pockets! Have fun doing more baking with Miss E!

  3. I am so glad your tub drain is fixed--it sounds like a less than pleasant ordeal for sure.

    I have never seen those frozen items before, but your review and my love of Indian food makes me curious! I will have to keep my eyes peeled for them.

    Your granddaughter looks like she is following in your footsteps--what a cute photo!


  4. It's understandable that your usual eating habits get a little wonky on vacation...and what harm? Sounds like you're counterbalancing with lots of yummy healthy stuff...Zoa's salad sounds amazing.

    Cute story with Miss E. Hope to hear more about your creations together in future.

  5. Michelle,
    Thanks for adding me to your blog list. I'll do the same for you.

    It's funny how some people love the texture of a food and others hate it. For me it's the combination of nuts in baked goods.

    I never buy frozen meals so I was surprised that I liked this one so much, but it really tasted good. I guess I've never had a hot pocket or a lean cuisine but I do remember liking TV dinners as a child!

    I'm curious about the other frozen dinners still in the freezer, but we haven't had time to try them yet. Maybe tomorrow.

    The last time I tried to bake with Miss E she didn't understand what we were doing and I had to give up. She didn't get the connection between the mixing and the final product, but I guess she's got that figured out now.:)

    You should give that salad a try! It really was good. Wonky habits are probably part of what makes vacations fun, so I think you're right.

  6. I like to try out frozen meals but usually end up disappointed. This one looks GREAT, though! Actually, everything you show on your blog always looks delicious.

  7. Sorry about your drain! Guess you never had to deal with hair elastics, long hair and glitter when you were raising the three boys!!!

    I know what you mean about food, food, food while visiting friends and relatives. We just about had to roll ourselves from engagement to engagement. Maybe that vegan shoplifter's sandwich is the only thing I can get at Monty's... good thing I love it! I think I should go there and get one now.... see, I have recovered my appetite!

    Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  8. Natasha,
    I'm not sure the nutritional value was the best but the taste certainly was great!

    Don't be silly, of course we used glitter! My boys enjoyed "art" projects as much as anyone, and I always had a weakness for glitter. Once I bought a shoe box full of jars of glitter at an auction. I might still have some of it! :D (The elastic was too big to have gotten through the small sink drain on its own...)

  9. That is some breakfast! I think we're *supposed* to eat greasy, salty food when we're on vacation! :D

    How lucky! I have been wanting to try the Tandoor Chef products for a while but my taste buds are so picky and I would hate to have to throw them away if I don't like them. The Kofta Curry looks awesome though! I will probably try that one first.

    That serial drain stuffer needs to learn some manners and stop stuffing people's drains! I'm glad it was all cleared in the end.

    Miss E looks like such a devoted chef! She's really focused on her job there.

  10. Some tasty looking food! Isn't that what vacations are for, to eat whatever whenever? The Saigon salad looks great!

    I've actually eaten the Tandoor Chef Kofta Curry several times now, it's pretty good, plenty of flavor. Definitely need to eat rice or bread with it.

    Such a cute photo of the little baker! :-)

  11. River,
    I think you're right about vacation food. Thanks for setting me straight.
    The kofta curry was spicy and yummy — perfect vacation food.

    Miss E is devoted to life in general!

    Chow vegan,
    The Tandoor Chef foods are spiced really well, and thanks for pointing out the need for rice. You really couldn't eat it alone. To fit in with the vacation theme, we used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice.:)

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