Trader Joe’s Vegetable Biryani with Vegetable Dumplings. I’ve never been to India but I have always wanted to visit at some point in my life. My wife went years ago, before we had kids on her own on a trip for women studies as a part of her degree work at the university. She spent 3 weeks there and while she thought most of it was crowded and filthy, the people were beautiful and the food was excellent. Fast forward several years, I work in the tech industry outside of Seattle. Mostly dominated by Microsoft where there are more than their fair share of Indian programmers. It’s not uncommon to eat at Indian restaurants for lunch and visit Indian markets for food. I have worked with many Indians in the tech industry and the vast majority of them are vegetarians. They have known no other way and if I was every to be a vegetarian, I would eat a heavy rotation of Indian food.
I have no idea why Trader Joe’s tries to make fake meat all the time. Most of them are gawd awful and I don’t know why anyone would purposely eat them. Chicken-less nuggets? Even my dog wouldn’t eat them! Needless to say that Trader Joe’s offers up a variety of other vegetarian and vegan dishes that have way more flavor and enough protein to keep even me satisfied.
Biryani is mainly a rice dish. I can have meat or just vegetables. I am not much of an expert on Indian food, but I have had my fair share of Biryani and they can vary widely depending on region. I’ve heard that some restaurants can have many different preparations on the menu. Obviously this one is vegetarian. I think they are trying to cater to the vegetarian crowd. Probably not a whole lot of Indians eating this dish, but I could be wrong. I think it is a product of India so it’s pretty authentic, at least from an ingredient standpoint. I also don’t know why this dish isn’t vegan, there is not a bit of eggs, meat or cheese that I can find. I would definitely list this as vegan.
I think the big difference with this dish is the vegetable dumplings. I’m not sure that is a traditional preparation, but it sure looks appetizing on the cover of the box. I have to say this is one of the better “heat in the microwave” dishes I’ve ever had from Trader Joe’s! Preparation is simple. Poke holes in the plastic and stick in microwave for 4 minutes. Trader Joe’s lists this as two servings, but in reality it’s a good meal for someone like me at lunch. I really liked the flavor of the rice. Lots of good spices and full flavor. The “dumplings” look like little meatballs, but once you pop one in your mouth you’ll realize that they are more like pastry bites with some vegetables in them but savory and full of flavor. I really liked this dish and I am running out to Trader Joe’s and buying more for the freezer so I can take them to work! I am going to give this product 9 Bells!