Chicken Tikka Samosas - Aldi $3.99
Having a freezer meal on a work night is a necessity for my weekly survival. I always start out healthy with good food choices and making my own meals from scratch, but after a few days of getting slammed at my day-job and doing all this stuff online after-hours for my clients, various blogs and online shops...I'm on the brink of eating an entire box of banana Twinkies and telling myself it's healthy because bananas are a fruit.
I do all of my weekly grocery shopping at Aldi, and they have a decent variety of unique frozen entrees that are always changing. Every week it's something new! (Which can be a good or a bad thing. Sometimes you find something you love, but it's only available for a few days, then it disappears forever.) Aldi usually has a theme to it's weekly circular and offerings. Sometimes it's an upcoming holiday, or sporting event, or specific flavor profile (like spicy foods), but they also have this "Around the World" series where it features a bunch of products from a particular location. They've done Italy, Mexico, Germany, and even India. In case you didn't know, Aldi is a European company (more specifically German), so this is a German company, making Indian food, and selling it in America. It sounds like a bad idea, right? Guess again!
Aldi has released a few "Journey to India" products, and they all follow the same design guidelines. The packaging is a faux-textured beige-y color that looks like sandstone, or some kind of aged map, and the logo is bold, colorful, and pretty nicely done, especially for a grocery store branded item at such a low price point. I feel like the top portion of the design is really strong, while the lower half is a bit weak. If they extended that red band all the way to the bottom I think the overall design would be a lot bolder and stronger, plus the typefaces towards the bottom look really modern and stand out against the faux aging of the rest of the package, but really, this is very nicely done. Aldi is stepping up their game! I like this box a lot more than some of the Indian style frozen items I get at their fancier sister-store, Trader Joe's! (That's right! Aldi and Trader Joe's are related, and sometimes they even carry the exact same products, but they're always cheaper at Aldi. Take that snooty name-brand loving foodies who look down at Aldi!)
Enough package talk, I'm hungry! Time to cooke these things up! All I have to do is preheat the oven, line my baking sheet with foil (which is optional, I'm being lazy about cleaning my pans), toss these little triangles inside, and wait for the sauce packet to thaw. Twenty-five minutes later my food was ready and my kitchen smelled like I had just ordered Indian take-out. So far everything is coming out
I didn't have any cool India-themed dish wear to serve these on, you know, to make it look like I put some effort into my freezer meal supper and did more than just toss something into the oven, so I just used these black sushi-style serving platters I bought at Aldi. (Oh Aldi, I love you so much. Where else can I can buy fruit flavored applesauce, a snow blower, Asian themed dish wear and frozen Indian food all in the same store? You're like Amazon, but yummier. Never ever change!)
Once cooked, the outer layer of the samosa gets really flakey and crisp, and they smell kind of like my usual to-go order of Chicken Tikka Masala from the local Indian take out place. Savory, well spiced, with a hit of roasted onion.
I tried it without the tamarind sauce to see how these tasted on their own first, and they're awesome! The pastry layers are flakey, similar to a fried egg roll wrap, or fried Filo dough (because of the layers), and the inside is filled with a seasoned shredded chicken, bits of white onion, and a slightly spicy sauce. The sauce is very well seasoned, and it's pretty on-par with my take-out order I usually get, but due to all the layered dough it's a little on the dry side. I can see why they gave you a dipping sauce.
With the added tamarind sauce, these are freaking amazing! I already want to run back to Aldi and stock up before they disappear! The sauce has a bit of spice it to as well, but it's also sweet and fruity. (Which makes sense with it being tamarind and all.) When everything is combined, you get the crispy texture of the pastry, sweet sauce, savory chicken and onion, and an added spicy kick at the end. These are maybe a 4/10 on the spicy scale, so me and my sister really liked the little kick of heat and could easily handle it, but my mother (who can't handle spices) couldn't even try these. It satisfies all my cravings and I can easily eat this entire box by myself in one sitting.
This is a really awesome Aldi offering, and I really really hope it comes back, and if it does, I'm stocking up my freezer. If you're like me and you need to rely on freezer goodies to get through the week, and you like Indian spices, you have to try these. I really love them, and they taste way fancier and more interesting than a lot of the other frozen dinner entrees out there. (Trust me, these make you feel much fancier than sad microwave mac & cheese on a Thursday night.)