“ Brand: Innocent / Type: Other Ready Meals „
Firstly, I would like to state that I am aware this is a ready meal, so I wasn't expecting phenomenal things from this. However, Innocent are a brand that claim to be 'here to make it easy for people to do themselves some good (whilst making it taste nice too).' [Taken from their website].
I picked this up from my local Tesco on the way home, it was reduced to 39p from usually costing about £4, so I thought I would give it a try. I quite like vegetarian indian food, having two vegetarian housemates we have eaten recipes similar, so this was nothing new to me.
The instructions are on the underside of the packaging and really simple to follow. The packaging on the product is fun, and Innocent seem like a brand who seem to have good marketing and customer relations. You are able to heat this in the microwave or on the hob. Being marketed as a ready meal type product, I heated this in the microwave.
However, I have to say that this product was only just about edible. The whole meal tasted really bland. It smelt good to start with so I had high hopes, however the taste just did not match. I was apprehensive of this at first as one of the first spices/herbs listed in the ingredients list is coriander, which I am not overly keen on, however I need not of worried as there was not much taste to this meal at all. I would not purchase this again, or recommend this product to anybody with remotely working taste buds. You could honestly quickly cook up a much more flavoursome version for perhaps the same, if not less, cost at home.
This is not an overall review of Innocent Products as I haven't tried all of them, just this product in particular. For this product there are probably a lot of others similar on the market that have been far better executed.
Cost: At £3.79 this pot is not cheap, but then again you can pay close to that for a sandwich so it's bearable. They're also on offer a lot (I got 2 for £6).
Nutrition: This dish is high in fibre (9.9g) and low in calories (319). It's maybe a little high in carbs for people who're watching those (36.9g). Not to mention those 3 portions of veg that make you feel like you've been good. The nutritional labelling is easy to find and nicely laid out (100g, per pot and %).
Cooking instrutions: Bizarrely, the instructions are hidden on the underside of the carboard wrapping, and it's easy to miss them. That being said, the instructions are clear and give a good even heat result. And as an added bonus the underside of the cardboard has some "exercises" and "things to do with your pot". At least it's something to read if you're in the canteen at work without a paper!
Appearance: A nice bright colour, and the spinach leaves look really fresh.
Smell: Gives off a delicious carrot-coriander smell.
Ingredients: Although the packaging seems to put a lot of emphasis on the cauliflower, it's the chick peas, potato and carrot that stands out most when you eat it (or did to me). The rice and peas are good for texture and colour but aren't overpowering flavour-wise.
Flavour: Smells exaclty as it tastes - delicious! The sauce is mild but full of flavour, very strong on the carrot-coriander combination. The cumin is strong enough to give an authentic daal flavour without being overpowering.
Texture: As with all innocent pots, the veg is the perfect texture, just enough bite to make it interesting. The sause is perfectly creamy.
Quantity: Remarkably filling, and leaves you feeling full for hours.
I have seen the Innocent meal pots around for quite a while and always thought they would be nice to try. However at £3.48 a 380 gram pot, I feel that is far to much; so I jumped at the chance to buy some when they were £1.81 in Tesco recently. My chosen one to review this time is the Indian daal veg pot.
The label is a piece of cardboard which fits around your pot. On the top is the innocent logo, a sort of smiley face with no mouth and a halo, with what type of meal pot you have chosen underneath and the expiry date. Around the edge are miniature vegetables which correlate with some of the ingredients inside, which I think is a great idea for both looks of the label and marketing. It also shows you how many portions of your daily five it contains, in this case 3, very good for a small pot.
On the bottom of the label gives you a nutritional content list for 100grams, the whole pot and the guideline for daily amounts. There you can also find an address to contact them, which they make light hearted fun of it being called fruit towers and using the banana phone.
Under this is the interesting points that all of the veg pot was made in the UK and therefore doesn't use any air miles to transport the food and the sleeve is made from recycled cardboard.
Onto the back are the ingredients list, with no artificial colourings or flavours, maybe that's why they call it innocent. This pot is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
At the top are two little symbols - a fridge with keep me cold written in, and a microwave with heat me to eat me inside. I like these catchy little quotes they write as it make s the pot seem fun and you get the feeling they have really thought about the marketing for there consumers.
Peeling off my cardboard cover I was shocked to see inside the cardboard was completely covered with more writing! I quickly put my work tea in the microwave for two minutes. Then acquired a bang - (oops) as I forgot in my hast to read the label finished reading the instructions - doh. Pop the lid off and rest on top before setting your microwave off! While we are cooking - when the two minutes is up stir and heat for another two minutes.
You can also heat on the cooker or a campfire as they suggest (obviously taking out of the plastic pot) and they give simple clear instructions for this too.
So back to the inside of the label! - a funky little picture to look at, then move onto the veg pot gym! For a lunch workout so they say. Three simple little exercises you can do at work or at home. A very good idea to give you a little exercise and stimulation especially for those who sit a lot at work probably. Finally 101 thing to do with your pot - what a fantastic idea! Mine is number 56 mini desk golf using your cleaned empty pot on it's side, use blue tack for a tee and a ruler as a golf club! Some people at innocent have really gone the extra mile to make there products more interesting than some others, and I have to say it works they have me hook line and sinker and I haven't even tasted the veg pot yet!
**MY INDIAN DAAL VEG POT**
Resting on top of my daal is a lively looking piece of spinach leaf, which I munch first and then stir my pot. You can immediately see the wealth of vegetables inside and the smell is lovely. Fresh and just like an Indian daal you would expect from a curry house, except it seems and looks more healthy.
The daal is quite spicy I am normally a Korma sort of person and this was quite hot for me but I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same. Although there is garlic and ginger in here they both seem to complement each other and don't override the taste, the strongest of them all is the chilli but even that is not overly significant in comparison to the others.
The liquid is brown in colour and you can see the spices generously mixed through it, giving the dish a more interesting feel.
The cauliflower is spiced but you can still tell it is cauliflower from the taste. Very crunchy, probably steamed I would think, which is great as it doesn't mush into the rest of the dish. Chickpeas are abundant in this dish as you would expect. Very nice and well cooked, which I have found a problem in some other makes. Small squares of potato are a nice gentle touch which gives a softer bite now and again and mixed with the basmati rice is a joy to eat.
The pot was very filling and adequate for my dinner time meal as I work shifts, I probably wouldn't eat this for my lunch as I think it would be a bit heavy.
The curry taste did linger in my mouth for quite a while afterwards as I am sure the garlic may have, but none said anything!
I have recycled my plastic pot and use it to take salad to work in too!
I am totally hooked on this product now and will defiantly look out for them when they are on offer - if only they were slightly cheaper most of the time; which is why I can only give it 4/5.
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username.