Now some might think the title of this post is a bit of an oxymoron, but I really was hugely impressed with the cook-in sauces from Vinni and Bal. I have been caught in the past trying out other Indian sauces available in a jar from the supermarket, but they have never quite ticked the satisfaction box. They have always been a necessary midweek evil, when I’m looking to rustle up something in a hurry and I always mutter under my breath afterwards that I’m not going to repeat it again…until the next lastminute.com occasion of course.
One of the learnings from this simple exercise, which I have been getting wrong for years is the prep of the chicken beforehand. I have always tended to stir fry the chicken first along with any additional veg and then add in the sauce at the very end – wrong! Vinni and Bal recommend that you simply pop the meat and their sauce into the pan together and let the meat simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes. Yes, it’s that easy and the result is that the meat is more tender this way compared to stir frying, which definitely toughens it up. The spices also seem to penetrate the meat when cooked from raw and the taste of the sauce is generally more natural and authentic, there isn’t that what I would call metallic, mass produced after taste.
We tried two of the sauces in the range of which there are five in total, they were Jeera and Shahi. All have been scored on a chilli heat level and the evening we introduced curry to the little one we opted for the safe bet of one chilli. Both were relatively mild and the flavours of the spices came through nicely, complementing the chicken and creating a very more-ish sauce with the rice.
I was also very impressed to read that these sauces are vegetarian, gluten and nut free, which is pretty handy for mid week suppers with friends that have special dietary requirements. It reminded me of the old coffee ad from the 80s – Brook Bond Red Mountain where the waiter pretends to be making a real filter coffee and all the noises of the percolator rather than serving instant; well Vinni and Bal’s sauces give the impression you’ve made a real homemade Indian sauce, when the reality is you’ve successfully found a short cut to save you some time!
Available from Morrison’s nationwide, the pouches cost only £2 and are worth every penny.