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Reviews > Food > Packaged Meals > Ashoka Dal Makhani > Owner Review by joe schaffer

Ashoka Dal Makhani

Owner Review by Joe Schaffer

January 5, 2018
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 70
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: packageDal Makhani

Manufacturer:  ADF Foods, Ltd.
        Net Weight: 10 oz (280 g)
        Ingredients (from website): Water, black gram, cream (milk), onion, red kidney beans, tomato paste, sunflower oil, butter (milk, salt) cashew nut, ginger, salt, coriander leaves, garlic, chili powder, spices (anistar, black cardamom, black pepper, caraway, cassia, chili, clove, salt, coriander, cumin, dry ginger, fennel seeds), green chili, turmeric powder, cardamom, cinnamon, clove.

        Nutrition Facts: per serving, 2 servings per container
       calories from fat: 90
       total fat: 10 g
       saturated fat: 2 g
       trans fat: 0
       cholesterol: 20 mg
       sodium: 500 mg
       total carbohydrates: 18 g
       dietary fiber: 2 g
       sugars: 0
       protein: 6 g

       100% vegetarian
       No preservatives
       Gluten free
       Ready to eat

MSRP: $8.99 US

My Specs:
    Box alone: 0.8 oz (22 g)
    Empty foil pouch: 0.4 oz (12 g)
    Total weight: 11.1 oz (314 g)
    Box: 7 5/8 x 5 7/8 x 3/4 in (19 x 15 x 2 cm)

   Internet research indicates this is a Punjabi mixed lentil curry generally made with lots of butter and cream. I'd call it a soupy mix of beans with lots of spices. The package says it's a traditional slow-cooked rich curry with black gram (a bean) and red kidney beans.

mugField Conditions:
    I packed this in about 8 mi (13 km). If I'd read directions at home I'd have known I could have left the box at home and saved nearly an ounce (22 g) on the round trip. I plopped the unopened pouch in my coffee pot and campfire-boiled it for about 12 minutes at 8,600 ft (2,600 m).

The pouch was a little too big for my 40 oz (1.2 L) pot and I had to set a rock on the lid to hold the lid down and keep flames off the pouch. No problem. I did read directions by headlamp, but I ignored them and boiled the pot until my mug got empty of hot chocolate and ready to receive the food. It was hot enough, but not nearly as hot as I would have expected when the directions say to boil 3-5 minutes.
    My next impression was that for what amounts to a large and heavy package, it didn't seem to put much in the mug. (The picture isn't fair for volume as I'd already eaten half of it.) I'm not a big pig in the outback, and I know suggested serving sizes are most often highly optimistic, but I'd rate the product volume at about a half-serving. It would be enough to flavor a ramen package and then could provide a satisfying meal. I downed it with a mini-loaf of ciabatta and felt I'd just had a very scrumptious appetizer. I'd made the assumption that the pouch contained a base to which water would be added. Not correct, and the package does say 'ready to eat.'
    I don't know how this product got in the kitchen shelves, but it was there long enough to be 23 months past code and I was tired of looking at it. I thought I should either eat it or toss it. My upbringing says throwing out food is a ticket straight and deservedly to Hell. If I suffered to carry it and then had to toss it, at least I should earn a side trip to Purgatory while my other sins are tallied. My tastes are rather simple and the ingredients for this product complicated, but I liked it first slurp. It's pretty soupy, but the taste delightful. I noted the creaminess contrasting with all the spices. I'd put it in the genre of chili, but with a much more complex flavor. The package notes the spice heat as mild, and I'd rate that description as accurate.
    I think it could have a lot less salt with all the spices, but otherwise the nutrition facts suit me for a backpacking diet.
    I'd like more beans. I was solo on this outing and hoping for a bean charge approximating the teaser on the package. (How did they get all the beans to float to the top? And now that I study the picture, I see cucumber slices in the background. This tells me the vessel they used is somewhat larger than a shot glass. Kudos to the tricksters in the marketing department.) As a backpacking meal I'd rather the liquid be condensed for a smaller and lighter package; probably not a fair nit as nothing on the packaging suggests the product is intended for backpacking.
    This is tasty stuff suitable for short hikes where the weight and bulk won't matter;
when I won't feel at risk with a messy package to carry out; where I can rely on campfire for the boiling time; and where I won't mind dumping a pot of water that I don't think I'd want to drink. I could easily eat it cold, but I think it wouldn't be as good and I'd want to get my full nine bucks' worth from it.

Quick shots:
    a) heavy
    b) bulky
    c) easy
    d) flavorful

Read more reviews of Ashoka gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Food > Packaged Meals > Ashoka Dal Makhani > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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