Korma Fish Curry
Who knew that a frozen fish dish that you heat in a microwave could be good? But the fish korma is one of Trader Joe’s most brilliant Indian dishes. The flavors are well-balanced and the fish is tender. This is also a great dish for people who like Indian food but aren’t big fans of heat. Korma tends to be more gentle and mild and leans slightly sweet. It pairs well with the basmati rice that it is packaged with. I would keep several of these stocked in my freezer.
To call this biryani is a bold move by Trader Joe’s, because traditionally biryani takes hours and hours to make as the layers in the beloved rice dish meld together. Still, this vegetarian entree is flavorful and comforting, and even features little flour dumplings that add a nice dimension of texture to the meal. For a microwave dinner, it’s easy to do worse than this.
Paneer Tikka Masala With Spinach Rice
This is my favorite frozen meal at Trader Joe’s, period. The paneer tikka masala is tomato-y and creamy, but not overly so. The paneer is cut into perfect bite-sized chunks. And then there is the wonderfully herby spinach rice, which is such a brilliant move. So brilliant in fact, that now when I make paneer tikka masala from scratch, I also make spinach rice to go with it instead of just plain basmati.
I almost screamed when I saw this in the frozen section at my local Trader Joe’s. What a rare and unexpected treat. Malabari paratha are super flaky flatbreads that are common in the Malabar region of South India. They are almost like croissants in that the dough is folded over itself many times to create several, thin, almost translucent layers of buttery dough. These heat up amazingly well on a skillet and are great with every Trader Joe’s Indian dish, or just on their own. They are also insanely cheap -- I paid $1.99 for a package with contains five parathas.
Tandoori Naan (Shelf Stable)
I was so skeptical about this naan when I picked it up from the bread section of Trader Joe’s. Most shelf-stable naan tends to taste like bad pita bread. But when I heated it up on a pan at home and threw on a layer of ghee, the texture of these naan was incredible and the best of the bunch.
While the best deal on basmati rice are the large burlap sacks found at your local Indian grocery store, Trader Joe’s dry basmati rice is actually quite good. When cooked, the grains are long, fluffy, and wonderfully separated -- the signs of a good basmati rice. The rice is fragrant too, and is a welcome addition to any meal.
It’s hard to mess up palak paneer, which are cubes of cheese in a base made from blended spinach and spices. It’s one of the most satisfying meals Indian food has to offer, especially spooned over a scoop of basmati rice and Trader Joe’s makes a pretty great frozen version. It’s verdant and the paneer retains a nice texture.
Butter Chicken With Basmati Rice
It’s pretty hard to mess up butter chicken, the General Tso’s of the Indian food cannon. It’s basic and boring, but it’s exactly what most people want when they crave South Asian food and it hits the spot. The chicken is tender, the sauce has deep tomato notes, and the basmati rice is shockingly fluffy for a meal that takes about five minutes to prepare in the microwave.
Vegetable Masala Burgers
While masala veggie burgers aren’t exactly the most traditional of foods, maybe they should be, because these are excellent. Unlike many veggie burgers that taste mostly like mush and salt, these patties -- which are best heated in a pan with a slick of oil until crisp -- are potato based and heavily spiced with things like turmeric and mustard seeds. The result is somewhere halfway between a hash brown and a vada pav -- which is better known as “bliss.”
As far as frozen naan goes, these are good! They are great to have on hand, and taste much better if heated up on a pan and doused with ghee.