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AlpineAire Spicy Grilled Chicken Curry

rated 2.5 of 5 stars
photo: AlpineAire Spicy Grilled Chicken Curry meat entrée

Not completely terrible, but very watery and insipid flavor if you follow the package directions and use the specified 2 US cups (16 fl oz) water. More like an Anglo-Indian Curry than the Indian curry they advertise, containing currants and apples, so the taste is very sweet, almost cloyingly so. Very little chicken, almost no chicken flavor. Not very spicy, at all, more savory. Probably rescuable, with less water and/or additions.

Pros

  • Probably rescuable, if you use at least a third less water than the package directions.
  • Doesn't taste terrible.

Cons

  • Very watery, weak flavor. Package directions call for far too much water.
  • Very sweet, not very spicy.
  • Almost no chicken flavor, almost no chicken.

It wasn't inedible, but it was a little disappointing. A lot of the reason for this is probably because against my better judgement, I followed the package directions and added 2 cups of boiling water (16 oz, 474 mL or g).

I could tell visually that this was going to be way too much water, but I figured that since this was my first time testing a meal from this brand, I would do as they instruct. The result was basically soup, not sauce, with not much flavor, because it was too watery. Had I followed my instincts and cut the water by at least a third, to perhaps 320 mL, I'm sure it would have been much tastier.

I poured the water in, stirred it well (this one has a lot of powder in it, so it's important to stir it very well, or you will get clumps that won't rehydrate), sealed it, and put it in my meal cozy made of three Amazon bubble mailers, and waited 20 minutes. Quite soupy at the end of 20 minutes, but the contents were mostly fully rehydrated (slight crunchy bits of beans and rice) and still a bit too hot to comfortably eat.

About that taste, well...it's definitely not "Indian style" as it says in small print on the package. It's not got a lot of chile in it, and with the currants and apples, I'd call it an Anglo-Indian curry style, at best, definitely catering to average Western people's idea of "curry". Although the label says, "spicy", I think it falls more in the category of "savory" than "spicy".

I know that Anglo curries sometimes have raisins in them, like the Heinz UK Curry Beanz, and actually, it's not terribly bad, but with this freeze-dried meal, because of the currants and apples, the most prominent taste in the package is sweet, followed by a mild capsaicin burn, followed by the savoriness of the spices, and salt is a distant fourth, with chicken flavor almost nowhere to be found. I think I detected maybe two chunks of chicken in the package, while eating it.

The good news is, I think this one is probably rescuable, on the trail, though I really feel like for the price they charge for these things, you shouldn't be forced to carry additional seasonings to make them taste really good. Cut the water, maybe add a handful of cashews or pistachios to the bag, if you don't have dehydrated or freeze-dried chicken bits, separately, or a packet of chicken chunks, if you can spare the extra weight. Maybe add some chicken bouillion powder or a packet of chicken broth concentrate (Savory Choice makes single-serving packets of liquid concentrate that are very good), but after cutting the water, this might be too much salt.

I'll give it a 2.5 out of 5. Needs help to be truly satisfying, but not completely terrible. Would buy again if on sale and nothing better was available.

Background

This is my third freeze-dried meal after not using them for many years, and my first from AlpineAire. I am an Asian American woman with advanced cooking skills, so I am fairly critical of food, especially food that purports to be Asian. I'm on a quest to taste-test freeze-dried meals at home before I begin relying on them in the backcountry, because I am middle aged with some chronic injuries that mean I can no longer carry as much weight as I did in my younger years.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $10 USD

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Specs

Price Current Retail: $9.95
Historic Range: $5.58-$9.99
Product Details from AlpineAire »

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