Butter Chicken Meal Kit - Aldi
For years I've been looking for a dupe for this discontinued Archer Farms meal kit. It was so freaking good! According to what I've read online, the general public complained that it was too spicy, so it was discontinued and replaced with a lame mild version that doesn't taste as good. BOO!
When I saw that Aldi had a few Journey to India meal kits a while back, I scooped them up, hoping that one of them would be worthy of taking the Archer Farms meal kit's place.
The meal kit I loved was Vindaloo, and spicy, and this is Butter Chicken, which is more mild. Now this flavor won't be exactly what I'm looking for, but it's more palate friendly for my spice-intolerant family, so I decided to cook this one up first so we could all eat dinner together.
When it comes to packaging, this is way fancier looking than the Archer Farm version! We've got an aged map in the background, textured faux stamping, lovely food imagery, and bold blocks of color. The typeface choices towards the bottom are generic, but if you cover that up and only look at the top portion, this is looking pretty Whole Foods-Fancy! Aldi's design team is killing it! Archer Farms and the other store brands need to step up their game!
Inside the kit are two pouches, a basmanti rice pouch, and a large seasoning packet for the chicken.
The instructions are very easy to follow, and all you need to add is chicken (or your protein/veggies of choice), 2 Tbs of butter, and 4-cups water. (2 cups for the rice and 2 for the sauce.) The rice cooked up perfectly, but I felt like the 2 cups of water for the sauce was a bit too much. If I were to make this again, I'd use less water, maybe even half a cup less, because my finished sauce was too liquid-y for my liking.
Once finished, my kitchen smelled like a delicious Indian take-out joint, and the meal looked nearly identical to the one shown on the box. How often does that happen?
Look at that! I didn't have any fresh herbs to top it with, so I used a little piece of kale to up my presentation skills. Oh so fancy!
I was hungry, so I grabbed my fork and headed to my photo set up so I could start digging in. My first bite didn't WOW me, but it was good. The rice was instant, so it has that slightly gummy texture that most instant rices have, which is always good, but not as good as rice cooker rice, which is amazing. So the rice was a few notches below perfect due to texture, but the sauce was a little too sweet and bland for my tastes. It's very sweet, and well seasoned with onion, garlic, and tomato. I like it, and I ate everything off my plate, but I miss the spiciness. Easy fix! I just shook a little chili flake on top and it was more to my liking.
On the other hand, my mother, who can't handle spiciness, gave this a try and she really seemed to enjoy it. Which is why I bought it and cooked it in the first place, I figured it'd be adventurous, without being too out of her comfort zone, and I was right.
So, if you'd looking to cook something fancy at home that will appeal to a wide variety of palettes, this is a great choice. Spice lovers like me can season our own plates, and those who are less adventurous can enjoy this as-is right outta the box.
I'd definitely buy this kit again. It's versatile and the finished product looks really fancy. It's like I slaved over the stove for a few hours, when really, it took 25 minutes tops. For the record, this is not entirely authentic Indian food, this is on-par with Americanized Indian take-out, but, if you like that kind of thing, I'd say this kit is totally worth buying.