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A light 'butter free' mild spiced chicken curry.
Vegetables 43% (Tomato & Tomato Paste 17% (Tomato, Acidity Regulator [Citric Acid]), Pumpkin, Onion, Red Capsicum, Carrot, Garlic), Water, Free Range Chicken 10%, Coconut Cream (Coconut Cream, Stabilisers [Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan]), Brown Rice 6%, Yoghurt (contains Milk), Date Syrup, Ginger, Spices (including Chilli), Sunflower Oil, Coriander, Salt, Fenugreek.
Contains Milk (Dairy)
Butter chicken is a huge favourite of my whole family! I was really looking forward to trying out the Free Range Butter Chicken and Brown rice the most out of all of the Pitango products I received for review for this exact reason. I loved that the meal was all done for me in a compact little bowl which only required me needing to heat it in the microwave, the rice was mixed in with the chicken and sauce so I didn't even need to cook that which sounded pretty good to me.
One day last weekend my partners parents turned up unexpectedly for lunch, and while my partner and his dad decided to make some sandwiches for themselves I decided that my mother in-law and myself might like to try the butter chicken, my mother in-law loves butter chicken her husband however does not so it is not something she often gets to enjoy. My mother in-law got very excited to see me bring this out for lunch but was unsure as to how this would feed the 2 of us, so we toasted up some garlic filled pitas to serve alongside it. Preparing the meal was simple, I popped it into the microwave for 2 minutes on high heat and then gave it a mix and put it back in for a further 1 minute to finish heating, by this time it was lovely and pipping hot, ready to eat.
My mother and I began to eat this and straight away she said to me how she really liked the taste, however she wouldn't have said it was a butter chicken if she hadn't of known, to her it tasted more like a stew with a hint of spices, her reasoning was due to the thickness of the dish and the fact it was jammed packed full of vegetables. I could get a taste of butter chicken from this dish, however I would have loved to have had more pieces of chicken it it as this was very hard to come across while eating, the flavours were good just a mild spice and nothing to spicy, and I loved that it contained both rice and vegetables to create a very hearty meal, which was plenty for us both with the pita's.
I can see that these would be great meals to have a few of in the fridge if you are someone who gets home late from work or doesn't have much time to prepare a well-balanced meal, not only would these be great for dinner but also as a lunch to take to work and heat especially on a yucky, cold winters day. This is one product I will happily buy again, I can't wait to try out some other flavours in the range and would love it if more meat could be added to these.
As a fan of butter chicken, I welcomed the opportunity to try this pre-packaged and pre-cooked version. It was one of those occasional evenings when I was dining alone so it seemed like a good time to try it out. I was also intrigued to see that, although it was labelled "butter chicken", it was also described as "butter free". Not sure if that combination of descriptors works for me, as I thought butter chicken needed at least a small amount of butter to make it authentic, but never mind - I would reserve judgement till I had tried it.
Not being sure as to whether the pot would yield enough for a meal on its own, I served it with some leftover garlic bread pieces (in lieu of naan bread). I was glad in retrospect that I had done this as the helping was not quite enough - pretty good, but it did need a little something else to go with it. The bread was fine; and I have to be honest, I did not actually finish the bread as there was too much of it. The chicken, on the other hand, was completely demolished as, despite the absence of butter, it was very tasty.
The calorie value of the meal is quite low so it scores over traditionally cooked butter chicken in that respect; the usual version is very rich and probably not particularly good for you if eaten too often. I did not really miss the butter taste in this version; it was sufficiently creamy, thanks to the presence of both coconut cream and yoghurt, and the effect was pleasant enough.
The rice was included in the meal; I normally prefer my rice served separately as the sauce seems to disappear into the grains, but because this recipe was made with brown rice it did not seem to soak up the liquid in the way that white rice is prone to do. I was pleased that there were vegetables included as they rounded off the meal and meant there were no extras needed if the cook was in a hurry. Naan bread (or in my case, garlic bread!) would be all you need to present a self-contained meal, and even that is optional.
I do like spicy food so this was not quite spicy enough for my taste, but I also appreciate that some people (and many children) prefer a milder version. I added a couple of drops of Frankton Heat Hot Sauce because this sauce is quite creamy and easy to stir through. This added just a little more spice without detracting from the flavour so I ended up with a personalised curry meal with the minimum input from me. And best of all, the time spent in preparation was four minutes from start to finish!
As far as heat and eat meals go, this product has a nice weight to it. It feels reasonably dense, which makes me feel rather confident that I will be full and satisfied once eaten. The packaging is nice to look at, and pretty easy to read (the bright colours can make it a little hard to read in low light conditions). As with the other meal-for-1 varieties, the tub of food comes with an easy to remove lid, and a plastic film that needs to be removed before heating. Again, the film is secure (I have no concerns of the food escaping during transport) but is also easy to remove, and comes off in one piece, so I don't have to worry about thin plastic burning up in the microwave and ending up in my food.
With the simple heating directions of heat for 2 minutes, stir and heat for 1 more minute, it's a very quick way to get a hot curry. Putting it in the microwave, it does not take long before that gorgeous curried chicken aroma fills the room. It smelled delicious, and like it had a robust spice mix' not just the basic flavours.
After heating comes eating, and it quickly becomes obvious as to how the meal can be heated so quickly; the chunks of chicken are tiny. That is not to say there isn't much chicken (the ingredients state 10% of the meal is free-range chicken), but the chicken has been split into tiny pieces, which would be rather necessary to ensure the meat is cooked all the way through. Personally, I would have preferred some larger pieces, even if it did mean an increase in the cooking time.
Looking at the consistency, it is reasonably thin. To the point that I would rather have a spoon than a fork (or spork in this case). The small size of the spork, and the fact that it is a spork, means it takes a while to eat, and you end up missing some of the last bits of it, as it keeps avoiding the spork tines.
I was quite impressed to see the meal had two servings of vegetables in it, as most curries I have had, tend to only use onions, capsicums, mushrooms, and/or potatoes. But here we have the less common pumpkin and carrots (I normally hate pumpkin and avoid it like the plague, but I didn't mind it in this meal.The carrots, combined with the brown rice, provided a nice texture that would have otherwise have been provided by the chicken.
It's definitely mild. And while it has the flavour of an authentic curry, it doesn't have any heat to it. If I were to have to it again, I would certainly add a little bit of chilli (or if at work, just a dab of chilli sauce) to give it that extra little kick. But of course, heat isn't everybody's cup of tea; it's easier to add heat, than it is to try remove it.
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