“ Brand: Schwartz / Type: Other Spices „
In our house it is fair to say that we enjoy our fair share of Indian Food, some I will make from scratch and some I will cheat a little along the way. It is for this reason that I purchase packet mixes as they can be quick, convenient and ideal after a long day at work. These mixes are available from most good super markets for around 80 pence but there are frequent special offers, such as two for £1.00 or three for £2.00. I usually keep a stock of these for the nights when I just cannot be bothered to cook from scratch.
This packet mix is very simple, cheap and reasonably quick to make. While par boiling some potatoes, fry some onions in olive oil, mix this with the contents of the packet and once cooked add with some water and some tinned tomatoes. Then allow the potatoes to simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. I find that this depends on the size of the potatoes and the heat that you have them on. I like to leave mine cooking until it's almost a mush as there is nothing worse for me than finding a hard bite of potato.
This bombay potato mix is absolutely delicious once made. Including the cost of the packet mix I can make this for around £1.20 which is fantastic as it easily serves two people as a side dish and takes just a couple of minutes to prepare and wash up from afterwards. There are lots of herbs and spices within this mix and it's so simple to make, it tastes authentic and is a firm hit in my household. I have made in this past when we have had guests over and they have always been very impressed with it's authentic taste when I reveal it's a packet mix.
Ingredients: Mustard Seed,Coriander Seed (12%) ,Cumin (10%) ,Salt ,Garlic Powder ,Sugar ,Fenugreek ,Turmeric ,Ginger ,Allspice ,Dried Chillies (3%) ,Bay Leaves ,Paprika ,Black Pepper ,Coriander Leaf ,Flavouring ,Spices ,Cayenne Pepper.
If you are looking for something that is quick and simple to make for your guests then why not give this a try? Even my husband is able to make this kit it's that simple! I would firmly recommend this to anybody who is looking for an authentic Indian taste and you can buy this and leave it in the cupboard for a rainy day when you're lacking inspiration or time and want some delicious and tasty.
I'm not really one for packet sauce mixes but Tesco had a two for £1 special offer a couple of weeks ago so I thought I'd give a couple a try. Current retail price at Tesco is 99p per packet.
I chose the Bombay Potato recipe mix as it is suitable for vegetarians - my partner is vegetarian and I often struggle to come up with different ideas when cooking, he is also a fan of Indian food so I figured I couldn't really go wrong with this one!
The mix is sold in packet form and contains enough for four servings and is described as 'a hot and spicy sauce mix with coriander seed, cumin and chillies'. Other ingredients include mustard seed, salt, garlic powder, sugar, fenugreek, tumeric, ginger, alspice, bay leaves, paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Each packet contains 91kcal.
Easy to follow instructions can be found on the reverse of the packet. In a nut shell, potatoes must be parboiled and then added to an onion that has been fried in oil with the packet sauce mix. 4 tablespoons of water is then added along with a tin of tomatoes, the pan is then covered and simmered for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. What could be easier?!
The sauce certainly creates an Indian type aroma whilst simmering and surprisingly has a hot and fiery kick to it. The packet does state that it is extra hot but being a lover of hot and spicy curries I didn't expect such an effect from a packet mix! Having said that the flavours are quite gentle and not overpowering, sensitively spiced I like to call it.
My partner at first disbelieved that the dish derived from a packet mix!
In order to make the dish into more of a meal as opposed to a side dish, I added some vegetables and four meat free sausages (sounds awful but he seemed to enjoy it - I can only comment on the dish prior to adding the sausages!) and would imagine that the mix could double up as a quick emergency curry sauce.
An excellent find - I'll definitely be trying others in the range!
In my opinion Bombay potatoes are the best side dish to accompany a curry however, with the credit crunch biting at the end of last year and turning to a full blown recession I have found that the trips to the local curry house have cut right back to virtually non existent. Like many other consumers my partner and I are finding that eating in is the new eating out, although there are many disadvantages in this, and the one that annoyed me most was not having a side order of Bombay potatoes..... that was until we discovered this handy little packet mix in a local Tesco.
The Schwartz spice mix comes in a very attractive packet that consists of an appetising picture of the final dish with "Bombay potatoes" written above in block white writing on a purple background. The marketing team at Schwarz have done a fantastic job with this product as the packaging definitely shouts "look at me". It is very distinguishable from rival products.
The packet contains 33g and, once combined with the additional ingredients, should serve 4 people. Personally I struggle to get 4 sized portions and can get 3 nice sized portions out of it although it does feed me and my other half very well.
The 33g packet of Schwartz Bombay potato mix costs 82 pence from Tescos, although it is frequently available in the 3 for £2 offer. When you consider the amount of different spices included in this mix (as detailed below) it is clear to see that even at full price this spice mix is an absolute bargain and well worth a purchase.
This Bombay potato mix is rammed full of very potent and powerful ingredients including cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger, dried chillies, paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper amongst many others.
As with many other spice mixes there is also an ingredient called "spices". I would love to know what this is but I guess it is the secret ingredient and unique selling point that differentiates this product from its rivals.
The packet states that there is no hydrogenated fat, no added preservatives, no artificial colours and no added MSG. All in all this mix is not that bad for you, even when mixed with the additional ingredients, which is good.
When the packet is opened the smell hits you like the proverbial steam train. It is very intense but given the powerful ingredients it is not that surprising really. Despite being 10% cumin the contents of the packet has no particular smell and there isn't a single ingredient that overpowers all the others.
The smell is difficult to describe since it is just so unique. It definitely smells 'curry' like although it is not possible to identify a particular type. This mix smells like it is going to provide a bit of heat and give a good kick, which is good.
****Using the mix****
The back of the packet clearly explains the ingredients required and what to do with them. Directions are in layman's terms and clearly set out. Making the Bombay potatoes is very easy and it is something that anyone can do, regardless of whether they can cook or not.
To make the Bombay potatoes the additional ingredients needed to accompany 1 packet of the Schwartz spice mix you will need:
i) 450g (1 lbs) of potatoes
ii) 2 tbs oil
iii) 1 onion
iv) 1 packet of spice mix
v) 4 tbs of water
vi) 400g tin of chopped tomatoes.
Making the Bombay potatoes involves four easy steps and the directions are as follows;
i) Par boil the potatoes and set aside.
ii) Roughly slice the onion and brown off in a pan. Add the spice mix and cook for one minute, stirring all the time.
iii) Add the potatoes, water and tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes to allow the potatoes to finish cooking.
Whilst the packet suggests frying the onions I find that cooking them in a non-stick pan without oil works just as well, and is a bit more healthy. If you don't use oil you run the risk of burning the spice mix when you add it to the onions, which ruins the dish. To overcome this I add the water with the spice mix and this works very well.
The packet does not specify the type of potatoes to be used, and in reality any type of potato can be used. That said, I prefer to use small new potatoes since these seem to be quite sweet and adds that little something to the overall taste. Due to a bit of a shortage of normal potatoes I once had to use sweet potatoes. This was an absolute disaster and they tasted awful so I would recommend not using sweet potatoes with this spice mix.
Using premium tinned tomatoes in this dish is just pointless as the spice mix is so potent you won't actually taste the tomatoes. Because of this I use Tesco value tomatoes and these work brilliantly. They are a perfect consistency as well as being very cheap.
Bombay potatoes cooked with the Schwartz spice mix do not taste like the ones bought from a curry house and they are not that authentic. Whilst some may see this as a major problem I kind of thought they would be different since I have never had a homemade Indian dish that tastes the same as one bought in a restaurant. I'm afraid that is all part of home cooking.
The above is not a problem since these Bombay potatoes taste absolutely fantastic. Whilst it is not possible to smell the individual ingredients in the spice mix I could certainly taste them and all the spices really complement each other perfectly. The cumin, chilli, cayenne pepper and garlic flavours were easily identifiable. There wasn't one ingredient that overpowered the others, which was good.
If the packet is followed to the letter then the end dish is very hot. If you prefer a more fragrant, as opposed to spicy dish, then you can reduce the amount of spice mix used. If, however, you prefer a bit of a hotter dish then the only way to achieve this is to reduce the amount of potatoes and tomatoes or use multiple packets. In order to spice the final dish up a bit more (although there is little need to) I did try adding additional chillies, additional cayenne pepper and more garlic powder. This was a big mistake since I ruined the overall taste and the final dish was just too hot.
Since I make nearly all of my curries from scratch I have managed to accumulate all the identifiable ingredients in this spice mix (obviously the "spice" ingredient is a bit difficult to identify and obtain) I thought I would have a go at replicating the spice mix. Despite trying a few times I have never managed to get anywhere near the taste and all my attempts have been awful with some ingredients being too overpowering and ruining everything else. There are so many different types of spices that it is really difficult to know the ratios and how much of each one to include. Because of this I have given up and it is much simpler, and cheaper, just to buy a packet of the spice mix.
The packet states that the typical values per 33g pack consists of 91 calories, 5.2g of protein, 16.7g of carbohydrates, 3.3g of sugars, 4.6g of fat, 9.3g of fibre and 1.4g of sodium.
I am guessing that these values are correct in respect of the finished dish, i.e. once the potatoes and tomatoes have been added since I am struggling to see how spices can contain 16.7g of carbohydrates. That said I note that a 400g of Tesco value tinned tomatoes contains 11.6g of sugars, which is far higher than the stated amount! The exact nutritional information appears to be a bit of a grey area and is not clear at all.
Maybe I am getting too hung up on the nutritional information because no matter how you look at it the finished Bombay potato dish is not that bad for you.
This is the only way that I have found to make Bombay potatoes at home and as such I think it is a great product. Whilst the taste is not that authentic (but then that is usually the case with home cooking) the finished product tastes great and is very spicy. It really does pack a punch. Using the product is an absolute doodle and with the instructions, clearly set out on the back of the packet, you don't even need a cookery book. It couldn't be much simpler.
At 82 pence per packet (and quite often available in cheap multi buy deals) it provides a cheap solution and represents great value for money, something we are all trying to achieve in these tough times.
If you like a spicy side dish to go with your curry, or even as a main meal in itself then I would highly recommend this product.