Review: Basu’s Homestyle Indian Cuisine (IS THE BOMB!) »
Basu’s graciously sent us some of their make-it-yourself Homestyle Indian Cuisine to check out, presumably because every vegan blog south of San Luis Obispo has already had the chance. This is probably because they are an adorable family startup company based in the L.A. area and distributing regionally, but I am still immediately resentful of Southern California having anything desirable or good because I am a cynical, humorless Northern California native. Anyway you can already buy Basu’s at the Whole Foods stores down there. (What is up with Whole Foods in Southern California & Nevada having SUCH BETTER vegan selections than ours??)
As an Indian-food-loving single person (or, a not-single person who lives in a different apartment than her boyfriend and spends three nights a week over there so consequently grocery shops *less* than a single person), I already eat a lot of pre-prepared Indian food, in the form of takeout and vacuum-packs from Tasty Bite and the like. Because I sit down to depressing Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley for one and plain rice on a fairly regular basis, I feel entitled to the sense of totally unmitigated euphoria that comes flying out into the kitchen when you open a packet of Basu’s cheerily-labeled “Vindaloo Sauce with Basil - Vegan.” Warning:this sauce smells amazing. While I was eating it at work the next day, my coworker (a real actual Indian person) was all, “That smells amazing!”
Now, it’s packaged as sauce alone, and you add your own vegetables and proteins (unless you’re just taking a bath in it—ain’t no shame, it smells amazing!) I thought, after an initial botched attempt at adding some Tofurky sausage (don’t do that) that this Vindaloo works best with baby red potatoes and firm tofu cut like paneer cubes (it does—do that instead!) Also, some cauliflower would probably be nice, but my neighborhood market was out of it.
First, I boiled the potatoes until soft, then drained them and cooled them a bit while I cut up the tofu. Then I melted some Earth Balance in a saute pan, and threw in generous amounts of powdered cumin and tarragon. I know tarragon isn’t very Indian, I just really like it. Then I threw in the tofu and (quartered) potatoes to stir fry until brown and crusty with delicious spices. When everything was nicely browned, I threw it in a pot with the Vindaloo sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat. At this point, my house smelled (you guessed it!) amazing.*
The Vindaloo dish was fast and easy, and makes for a comforting, nutritious and really delicious meal. But, the thing that really ele
vates Basu’s above the other DIY Indian foods is pairing the curry with Basu’s own Saffron Rice and Tamarind Chutney. The rice is unbelievably flavorful, in a way that would be difficult for me to replicate at home. It’s got a delightful buttery taste, offset by some kind of curried carrot (?) that really goes the extra mile in transforming your pathetic Ikea couch-and-coffee-table dining set into a charming neighborhood Indian restaurant. The chutney is dark and syrupy, and drizzled over the curry/rice combo, it’s just the perfect thing.
In sum, that was my totally savory experience with the Basu’s Homestyle Indian Food, a really good company and makers of the best DIY Indian meals. If only I could go to my local Whole Foods and get more. Sad Face.
*I should make it clear as I overemphasize how amazing it SMELLS, that I do not mean to underemphasize how amazing it TASTES, which is AMAZING. Like, the tastiest thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time, vegan or non.