Saturday 15 February 2014

Cardamom curry

The other day I discovered a business called "Craving Curries", which specialises in providing the dry ingredients for a number of different curry-type dishes. They kindly offered me with a free sample, and I chose the Cardamom Curry kit.

The kit is presented in a bright red paper bag, inside which are the spices in little plastic bags. My kit had 3 bags, identified with the letters A, B and C. Spice Bag A contained the main spice element (in my case mostly Cardamom powder), Spice Bag B contained additional spices such as chilli, turmeric, coriander and pepper, and Spice Bag C rather superfluously contained salt! A recipe leaflet was also included.

These kits are evidently aimed at the person who wants to cook a curry from scratch, but doesn't have a cupboard full of spices. (Who is that person???). I have to point out that the kits only include spices and to make your dish you have to add all the other ingredients - in my case chicken, tinned tomatoes, yoghurt and cooking oil. At £4.49 each I think they are therefore a rather expensive way to make a curry! (Though of course if you had to buy all the spices separately the initial outlay would be a lot more.)

Anyway, I followed the instructions and made my curry...

Here are my ingredients. Note that they include the things I needed for a supporting vegetable dish as well, and that I have not illustrated here the rice that went with it all. The Craving Curries element is in the red paper bag.

I followed the instructions carefully, making Spice Bag A in to a paste and frying it in oil before adding the chicken and the contents of Spice Bag B. After another 10 minutes of sauteeing, in went the yoghurt and the tomatoes, and a little water. Then on with the lid, and simmer until done. I found that the moisture in the tomatoes would probably have been enough without the addition of the extra water. In fact, contrary to the instructions I removed the pan lid after a while in order to make the sauce reduce faster. Once reduced, the sauce with the added yoghurt was nicely creamy and very fragrant. Prior to serving I garnished the dish with chopped Parsley, because I am allergic to the Coriander which was recommended.

The finished dish just prior to serving

Here is the complete meal, including steamed rice and my vegetable dish:

The complete meal

My vegetable dish was Butternut Squash braised in coconut milk, with Cavolo Nero, flavoured with onions, garlic, ginger and chilli.

My vegetable dish
My verdict: the curry was nice. The spices were evidently fresh and the Cardamom flavour made a pleasant change from the usual Rogan Josh / Jalfrezi / Khorma mixtures.

However... I do not think the Craving Curries concept will have a very wide appeal. If you already have a cupboard full of spices then the kits are unlikely to be attractive, and if you don't, you would probably prefer a Take-Away anyway!

I also felt that the recipe leaflet left a bit to be desired. For instance, it gave little indication of how long the total cooking time would be - only this rather vague advice: "...cover the pan and simmer until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened - be patient as this can take time." Now, a competent cook will know roughly how long it will take to cook some diced chicken breast, but if I were a novice I think I would appreciate something a bit more meaningful, e.g. "cook for approx 20 - 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender."

The provision of the sachet of salt is also surely unncecessary - especially since you have to provide all the other ingredients except the spices!

In terms of value for money, I think the kits at £4.49 are over-priced, especially since you have to pay for postage too. Maybe £2.50 would be fairer. For comparison, the equivalent kits from the widely-available Geeta's range are £1.49 each.

Overall: OK. Produced a tasty curry, but the kits are just not my kind of thing.


  1. I use a chili kit for my husband (which is nice since I can't taste it to make sure it is seasoned right). But the kit is less than half that price. There is no way I'd spend that kind of money on a kit. Spices just aren't that expensive.

  2. I don;t think they would be mine either - the individual spices may be more expensive but would last more than once.

  3. Thank you for reviewing our Indian curry spice kit. The cardamom curry kit is actually priced at £3.99 which includes the postage and feeds up to 6 people depending on the size of the portion so works out much cheaper than a takeaway and is a far healthier option as there are no additives or artificial colours.
    Your right the kit isn't aimed at the established cook with a cupboard full of spices but more towards people who want to have a bit of fun cooking Indian from scratch but don't do it often enough to warrant the outlay of the amount of spices required. Our spices are always freshly ground/toasted and measured for the chosen dish, ready to be added at specific stages of cooking taking away the hassle for the customer :-)

    1. Richard; yes I know the Cardamom curry is £3.99, but the many of the kits are £4.49, and the free postage is shown as an introductory offer, with the implication that this will change. That said, your kits do have some advantages (as you state), so I'm not being hyper-critical, I'm just saying the concept is not one that appeals to me. Each to their own! I wish you success with your venture.

  4. I'm that person, I don't have a cupboard full of spices, mainly because my family won't eat anything unless it's plain. I would love to cook dishes such as this, they just wouldn't eat it. Saying that, if I were to have a go at a dish like this, I would rather pay out more for full jars of spices than buy a kit like this, it's not very cost effective in my opinion. I have to say that your meal looks delicious though.

  5. I admire how you wrote your truthful and honest opinion.


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