I was Indian in a past life. I must’ve been. That’s the only explanation I can think of for my love (bordering on obsession) of Indian food. I love Vindaloo and Saag and Tandoori anything. I love the okra and eggplant at Indian restaurants. I went on Semester at Sea in college and ate my way through Southern India. I remember one of the most delicious meals of my life in a town called Mahabalipuram. We ate on the shores of the Indian Ocean as the owners brought out dish after dish for us to try. Years later, I still adore Indian food but now have slight reservations. For one thing, recipes usually call for a million ingredients (that’s what makes them so good) and the second, while I adore Indian food it can be a little rich.
I am thrilled to tell you about something I found that renders me issue-less. Maya Kaimal’s Indian Simmer Sauces. The sauces come in varieties such as Tikka Masala and Kashmiri Curry. Everything on the short ingredient list is something you can pronounce: onions, tomatoes, coconut milk, ginger etc. You simply sauté your protein of choice in a tablespoon of oil, add your sauce and as the name suggests allow it to “simmer” for 15 minutes. You can have this on the table sooner than you’d have Indian delivered.
The sauces are all vegetarian and gluten free. They can be used with chicken, salmon or shrimp but also with vegetables. One of the recipes, below, that Maya Kaimal sent us also uses the sauce as a soup base. Most recipes (there are more on their website) call for using a jar of sauce (360 calories) for 4 total servings. I use ¾ of the jar and reserve the rest for adding a little zip to veggies another day. We have the Tikka Masala over brown rice and had the Eggplant Curry over quinoa. Thanks to Maya Kaimal, my obsession lives now with a healthy twist.
If you had to pick your favorite cuisine, what would it be? What are your favorite weeknight dinner “tricks” or shortcuts? Do you ever stray from recipes based on the number of ingredients? Does that make us lazy?
Maya Kaimal’s Kashmiri Eggplant Curry
Vegetable oil in spritzer, as needed
1 lb. slender eggplant (Japanese or Graffiti work well), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 container Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1. Spray a light coating of vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add half the eggplant slices in a single layer and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a dish and hold aside. Cook the second batch in the same manner but leave in the pan when browned.
2. Return the first batch of eggplant to the pan. Add the Kashmiri Curry sauce and stir gently to coat the slices. Simmer over low-heat until eggplant is tender, about 5 minutes.
3. When ready to serve, garnish the eggplant and sauce with cilantro.
Maya Kaimal’s Kashmiri Vegetable Soup
Our sauces make excellent soup bases. This is a nice tomato and vegetable soup, but feel free to replace or add to the sweet potato and kale with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Leftover chicken or sausage makes a hearty addition as well.
1 container Maya Kaimal Kashmiri Curry
1 1/2 cups water
1 small sweet potato (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and diced
1 cup lightly packed, stemmed, and roughly chopped kale*
1 15.5 oz. can butter beans, drained (or other white bean)
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1. Combine the Kashmiri Curry, water, sweet potato, kale, and beans in a soup pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the coconut milk and heat a few minutes longer.
These sound great and you know I love a short ingredient list 🙂 I must admit I haven't had much experience with Indian cuisine. I tend to cook a lot of Italian food. I love the flavors, but it is also a cuisine that as along as you have good ingredients to work with, you can't mess it up. I tend to save following a new recipe for the weekend and end up just throwing things together during the week and keeping it simple. I am definitely guilty of turning away from a recipe with too many ingredients, but I am working on that. It's always nice to cook outside of your comfort zone.
Here in the UK I have been introduced to the idea that you can make your own Indian food at home…seriously, it never occurred to me before. It's easy to find pastes that serve as the base for a sauce, just adding coconut milk and sauteed chicken/veg. You do have to be careful about ingredients in the paste (MSG for ex) but it makes having Indian food so much more accessible and awesome. Same for Thai!
During the week, recipes with less ingredients are key! It doesn't make us lazy to steer clear of longer lists, but it does make us more likely to actually cook if it's not a huge time commitment both at the grocery store and in the kitchen. My biggest shortcut is frozen brown rice which takes a minute to cook. Can't wait to add that shortcut to this awesome eggplant recipe, thanks!
Thanks for sharing this! I too love Indian flavors and am thrilled to hear about this brand. YUMZO!
Thanks Lauren!! Its so funny, I tell people that I must have been an indian princess in my past life because I too, LOVE all things indian, I could eat it daily!! I will definately buy these simmer sauces!
Pam Bloom Wolpov
Pam- I don't know if I was a princess but maybe we were there together. Cara, thanks for the comment/welcome I agree MSG, a million ingredients lots of shortcut sauces are such a turn off.
I've seen these at Whole Foods and always wondered about them. I love Indian food and especially indian spices!!
Thank you for sharing this! Indian is one of the few cuisines that I'm afraid to cook at home. We're totally having this for dinner!
I LOVE Indian food and am always looking for easy ways to throw a meal together. Can't wait to try these. Thanks for the introduction!
LOVE Indian food! It is one of my top favorites along with Thai, and Mexican food. I find many "pre-made" sauces lacking, but I'll take your word and try these sauces :-). Maybe one night a week, I'll make something with a longer ingredient list, but for most weeknights, I like easy things to cook. Do you like the Indian cilantro, jalapeño, mint sauce/relish? That is one of my absolute favorite things to eat with Indian food. It's suer hot-really clears the sinuses!
I really really enjoy Indian food but have only had it a couple times! I am seriosuly intgrigued by this simple sauce. I think making my own Indian food intimidates me (for whatever reason) so something like this would be simple and perfect!
I try my best to pick at least 2 recipes a week that have a few more ingredients but I'm not gonna lie, recipes with tons of ingredients = expenisive grocery bill!!
Lauren these dishes look awesome and even easy enough that I can make them! And the sauces sound super delish and healthy–love it! Thanks for sharing!
These sauces sound great! Funny that you mentioned it because I recently picked up a similar tikka masala sauce that I am planning on using for the week.
cool you have been to South India where my hubby is from been many times 🙂 Brits use sauces like this all the time, but being married to an Indian this wouldn't fly he he
have a fun weekend Lauren
I like Indian food too, but never good at preparing an authentic Indian meal at home. Those sauces are pretty practical and taste great too.
Rebecca, yes I hear these are more common in the UK. Problem is so many I've seen here and there are filled with fillers and MSG. Nope no shortcuts like this in your house, I'm sure. Do you get shortcuts in other cuisines at least? Angie- see I thought you could cook ANYTHING, nice that even you have some things you're better at.
Being half-Indian I do love Indian food. I do not love all the ingredients needed to cook it though! I am going to look out for these – this is the first time I've heard of them but they look delicious!
I adore Indian food, too. Can't wait to sample these sauces 🙂
Your blog is too popular! These sauces were sold out at 3 different grocery stores in Dallas. Oh well…I'll try them next time.
I have never seen these before! I'm always looking for a great new indian sauce for quick dinners when i'm feeling lazy, busy or uninspired!
I'll keep an eye out for these! thanks!
Jenn @ Peas & Crayons
ahaha I diiiid see this post before! silly me! <3 It still looks divine =)