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I'm a great fan of Indian food and regularly cook my own curries from one of my preferred cookbooks. But, as much as the curry itself, eating Indian is as much about presentation and what goes with it. There's always a dhal, Geeta's chutney and, if my wife hasn't made naan dough for me, Sharwood's Poppadums. There's a choice of ready-to-eat or ready-to-fry. In either case the ingredients are the same - black chick pea gram flour, sea salt, raising agent, calcium oxide and rice flour, and at 37 calories a poppadum they don't really signify against the background of everything else you're eating. They also state that they are suitable for vegetarians. Which of the two you choose depends on how much time you've got, or whether you're worried about the extra oil involved in frying your own.
So what are they like? I'll admit that I've only tried Pataks as an alternative and I haven't yet tried making my own, although my daughter assures me that it's dead easy. In my opinion Sharwood's are by far the nicer, although the ready-to-eat ones are not quite as good as what I would expect in my favourite Indian restaurants. Nevertheless, they are crispy, tasty and go well eaten on their own, with chutney, or crumbled over your curry. I've been buying them from Sainsbury's for years and haven't had a dud packet yet, although you do get the occasional single poppadum that isn't quite as well cooked as it should be, but it's by no means a frequent occurrence. In this week's shopping they cost £1.49 for 8, making them just under 20p each. The thing you have to watch out for at the purchasing point is that the poppadums are whole and haven't been crushed in transit. The packaging is very transparent and allows you to do this with ease. Incidentally, the packaging has been improved recently, provides good protection, and is now much easier to open than it was, say, a couple of years ago.
Now to ready-to-fry. At 0.79p for 8 they are superficially a much cheaper option, but by the time you take into account the oil, gas or electric and your time, it wouldn't surprise me if they work out a bit more expensive. However, I think that they are a touch better than the ready-to-eat even though they're still not what you would get in the restaurant. They will take up the flavour of the oil so you have to be careful - I use rapeseed and they come out really well.
Overall, I rate Sharwood's poppadums highly and think that they are really good value for money.
My rating: 9/10 Now, if only I could get a decent paratha!
This review also posted on Ciao
We had sweet and sour last night, and while I know that you're 'supposed' to have poppadoms/puppadums/pippydooms/plopadinks with Indian recipes, traditionally, I know that my wife is very partial to these things no matter the dish. So, I bought a tub of these to have with our meal.
What surprised me wasn't anything to do with quality, but more to do with the price. In terms of quality, they're great. The look and brittle nature of them is classic in terms of the intended finished product, and they taste very nice, whether you get the plain ones or one of the scented ones. We had plain, but I have had the others before, and enjoyed them then.
Sharwood's is one of Britain's biggest manufacturers of Indian cuisine products, and this is only one of loads of products they have. These puppadums are supposedly cooked using traditional recipes and dried in Madras in the Indian heat, making the finish that much more firm. This means that when you break it, a chunk will come off, leaving the rest as it is and not just making the whole thing crumble.
So, in terms of quality I'm pleased. But it comes at a price, I'm afraid. Normally, if I get Tesco's brand, they come in at around £1. These cost me £1.84 from Somerfield, and while I know that Somerfield does tend to be more expensive than other places on many many items, Sainsbury's have these at only just lower in price. I found it incredible that, for the 8 poppadoms in the packet it costs over 20p for each one.
However, there's no denying the quality, and we were happy to eat them with our meal. Other poppadoms that we have are good enough, but there was a bit of a noticeable difference in quality to this high standard. Overall, I recommend this brand for its poppadoms, but it's worth trying to find them for as cheap as possible.
One of my favourite parts of a Indian take away or an actual sit down Indian meal are the puppodums and so when I found out that you can buy ready to eat puppodums from Sharwoods I was quite excited and interested to try them and see whether they were as good as authentic, proper Indian Puppodums.
Sharwoods is a British food company which has actually been around since 1889. I would say they are probably the most recognized maker of foreign cuisine products in this country. They produce sauces, breads, noodles etc for use in Chinese, Indian and South East Asian cooking and in my opinion are generally very good. Apparently, according to an article I read they hold the largest market share in Britain of these types of food goods and as of 2007 claim to have 28% of the ambient Asian market.
The puppodums comes in a see through plastic tub with a peel off plastic label on the top. The top label is orange and has an Indian type design on the front of it with Sharwoods written on the front of it. If you are feeling lazy the tub is quite handy in that you can put it on the table and eat your puppodums from it. Unfortunately it is not re-sealable but if you like these as much as I do you will probably eat the whole thing.
There are 8 puppodums in each pack and they sell for £1.49 per pack in Sainsburys. They are described as being made from a traditional Indian recipe and sun dried in Madras for an authentic flavour. They come in either plain, spiced or garlic and coriander. They are round like restaurant puppodums and are probably the size of a small dinner side plate. In my opinion they look exactly like a traditional Indian puppodum. I always feel like we are having a proper take away when I add these to the dinner table.
In my opinion they taste really good and definitely very authentic, just like proper puppodums I'm happy to report. They are definitely light and crispy and are very very moorish. I have actually only tried the plain but they have a lovely delicate flavour to them and are a great accompaniment to mango chutney or the like. You can serve them straight from the carton like I said but you can also warm them up if you like them with a bit of heat. It is very easy to warm them. According to the instructions on the packet you just heat them in the oven for 2 minutes and serve.
The other great thing about them is that in my opinion they do not have a very high calorie count which is nice. Per puppodum there are only 37 calories which is great and only 1.8g of fat.
All in all a great product that I definitely recommend.