Friday, August 10, 2012

The Weekly Open Thread Wants to Know: What's Your Favorite Frozen Dinner?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 5:29 AM

I've eaten a lot of Indian food in my day. My fondness for Indian cuisine began in the late 1980s, when I lived in New York City's East Village. Two blocks from my apartment was Little India, a one-block segment of East Sixth Street between First and Second avenues that was home to more than 20 Indian eateries. (It really should have been called Little Bangladesh, since the large majority of restaurant owners and employees were Bangladeshi.) Not only was the food good, it was exceptionally inexpensive — ideal for a struggling musician trying to stay afloat in Manhattan.

I've tried most of the Indian eateries in Nashville too, and I'm still a fan of the cuisine. I haven't been to India (or London, which I hear has fabulous Indian food), but I've definitely had some great Indian meals.

Which brings me to Trader Joe's paneer tikka masala. For a frozen dinner, it's remarkably good — so good, in fact, that if you had served it to me and told me it was from a great Indian restaurant, I wouldn't have batted an eye. Frankly, it's just about the only frozen dinner I'll eat. I've been know to walk out of Trader Joe's with a dozen of 'em. The slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce, made from cream, butter, cashews, onions, garlic and a bunch of herbs and spices, is superb. The paneer — small cubes of curd cheese — is pretty good too, as is the spinach basmati rice.

Of course, the reason it tastes so good can be partially explained by the 21 grams of fat and 850 mg. (35 percent of the RDA) of sodium. Hey, who says vegetarian food needs to be healthy?! The portion may seem fairly small at first glance, but with all that fat, you won't walk away hungry, trust me.

Trader Joe's channa (chickpea) masala is pretty respectable too, as is the naan. My girlfriend and I frequently make a dinner of all three.

Any other great frozen dinners out there that I need to know about?

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