Monday, May 30, 2011

Punjab helper

What to buy: Trader Joe's Indian Fare – Punjab Eggplant
Where to buy: Trader Joe's 

When I picked up this Trader Joe's box, I assumed it would be more of a side dish. I got that idea based on the box's picture, which is a bit misleading. The photographed dish looks chunky and thick and delicious. It is not chunky, but it is sorta thick, and it is delicious. Very.

Is it the side dish you really want and need? Not really. It's not quite satisfying enough for that. But, because of it's sheer deliciousness, I feel the urge to buy this stuff again and again. ...and cook with it.

Like most of the Indian Fare at TJ's, this stuff is pretty tasty and full of pretty healthy ingredients. My only quibble is the use of sunflower oil, and with 18g of fat per package, that amounts to a little over a tbsp of omega-6 rich oil. Not so good, but since this is going to be spread over a meal for a family, not all that bad. So, should you allow yourself to overlook the evils of yet more omega-6s, read on and remember to minimize omega-6s (soybean oil, corn oil, etc.) as much as possible, because it's everywhere.

Punjab helper

Most of us remember the nastiness of Hamburger Helpers, and while certainly easy, they are also decidedly nasty and unhealthy, too. The beauty of this Trader Joe's boxed food is that it can take a pound of ground beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, or even cauliflower, and make dinner easy and delicious.

Choose your own adventure

  • In a skillet with a cover, brown your chosen meat, and drain it. Vegetarians and those who just want eggs instead of meat tonight should skip this step and look for the egg option, below.
  • Chop up enough cauliflower, carrots, peppers, etc for the family. Cut them into bite sized pieces for ease of eatage.
  • If desired, cut some peeled potatoes into bite sized chunks or cubes.
  • Add your chopped veggies (and potatoes) to the pan.. Add the Punjab Eggplant and stir to coat. Cover and simmer until the veggies are tender. 10-20 minutes.
  • If you didn't use potatoes, you might want to serve over rice. ...or not.
  • Eggs. If going the egg route, I recommend topping your finished Punjab helper with some poached or fried eggs, with the yolk still slightly soft and runny.

Note: It's beyond the scope of this article to describe how you might make a layer of egg over the entire dish, then bake it into a delicious casserole, but suffice it to say that it was would be delicious!

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