When people offer you curry, it is always a good idea to take it. This is exactly what happened when East at Home, got in touch and asked if I wanted to review their concept and cuisine. We are all familiar with takeaways and how they work, but East at Home has taken this to a new level.
Today, I will give you my honest thoughts on East at Home, how it works, and why this could be the new way to enjoy a truly authentic Indian curry at Home.
East at Home offered free samples for me to try. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own, and aside from the samples, I received no remuneration to provide this review. So you can expect an honest and unbiased opinion.
What is East at Home, and How Does it Work?
East at Home, a company based in Ashton-Under-Lyne, has developed a new concept in Indian cuisine. While supermarket curries can be a little hit and miss, wouldn't it be great if you could order an authentic Indian takeaway as a 'ready meal' to prepare whenever you like?
This is exactly what East at Home offers.
According to their website, they have been in the curry business for over 30 years, so it's safe to say they know their Balti from their Bhuna.
The way it works is as follows.
You select the Indian dishes you want from their menu and pay online. The chefs prepare it fresh, package it and then blast chill it before giving it to a courier company to deliver
Pretty neat, right?
Each curry container comes with cooking instructions attached to the label. Depending on the dish, you can either microwave it, give it a blast in the oven, or reheat it in a pan. Essentially, from opening the box to getting an authentic curry on your plate will take about 5 minutes.
And there's more.
If you want to try your hand at making your own curry at home, they also have one or two things that will make this a little easier. Namely base gravy and mix powder, both of which are key ingredients in cooking your own curry. The nice thing is that you'll know it's authentic because it is hand-delivered from an Indian restaurant.
East at Home Food | Frozen Delivered Curry Fully Reviewed
The package I was sent contained several different items (and was actually a bit of a feast). In the box, which arrived in perfect condition and lined with thick insulation to keep the food cold, I found: -
- A Portion of Onion Bhajis
- Chicken Tikka Shashlik
- A Naan Bread
- Bombay Potatoes
- Chicken Bhuna
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Pilau Rice
- Base Gravy (to be reviewed at a later date)
- A pot of Indian Mix Powder (to be reviewed separately)
Each portion came sealed in its own plastic container. A label on the outside of the container gives you details of the best ways to reheat your food. In most cases, there were a couple of methods for each dish.
I opted to try a few different methods to see which gave the best results. Here's what I enjoyed, and maybe what I think could've been a little better, with each dish: -
I must say, for what are essentially mail-order bhajis, these were pretty great and as good as anything you could order from your usual takeaway (hardly surprising, considering they are made by an authentic curry restaurant). Keeping onion bhajis crispy can sometimes be a little bit of a nuisance.
However, they didn't disappoint. I whacked them in the oven for about 15 minutes, and they emerged crispy and golden brown, which is just how I like them.
Taste-wise, the bhajis were excellent and were one of my favourites. These were far better than anything you'll get from a supermarket.
The naan bread was another win for East at Home. For those of you who are tired of bringing home those doughy, dry and lifeless efforts you'll find on most supermarket shelves, this is a refreshing change.
After being given a little sprinkle with water and baked in the oven for about 3 minutes, the naan came out soft, springy and fluffy, which is just how I like it.
Chicken Tikka Shashlik
I opted to reheat the chicken tikka shashlik in the microwave. It can be hard to stop chicken drying out, especially when cooked once already. This turned out to be a really good choice.
After a 3 minute ping, these juicy chunks came out piping hot and had plenty of tikka flavour. Again, if you'd have presented me with a plate of this shashlik at a restaurant, I'd have been none the wiser. The peppers accompanying the dish didn't fare quite so well. The cooking and freezing process and the following reheat means that they don't travel too well.
The Bombay potatoes were another of my favourites. I opted to reheat these in a pan on the hob. This took me above 5 minutes. Within about two, my kitchen was alive with the smells of oniony curry goodness.
The dish is made with onions, garlic and tomato, and some medium spices. The dish was rather nice, and all of the elements came through.
Next on the menu was chicken bhuna.
Again, I opted to reheat it on the hob.
If you've read my article on bhuna, you'll know it is a strong-tasting dish packed with notes of onion and garlic. The Bhuna provided by East at Home was pretty darn tasty. It would knock the socks off anything you'd get from the supermarket, in either a jar or as a 'TV dinner.'
Not really. As a minor point, I'd say I found the bhuna just a little on the mild side. East at Home's website states that the dish is served with a 'medium' spiced sauce, but I think people who do like heat might find it could do with touch more fire.
All that said, I tend to prefer hotter curries and my' spice scale' might be skewed a little. I know that some people find dishes' hot' that I would say is 'medium', so I suspect this could be more down to my personal taste.
With all of the above in mind, I'd say it was definitely a solid dish. The fact that all I had to do to get an authentically cooked curry was stick a pan on the hob, I think it was good overall.
Chicken Tikka Masala
The chicken tikka masala was the star of the show. On opening the container, I was very pleased with the dish's bright orange colour and consistency.
Before plating it up, I gave it a ping in the microwave (4 minutes, followed by a stir, then 3 minutes).
And the taste?
Just wow. While I don't often opt for milder curries myself, this is exactly what chicken tikka masala should taste like. A little sweet, with hints of tomato, undercut by a rich creaminess. The consistency of the sauce was spot on and was perfect for mopping up with East at Home's naan bread.
Rice can be tricky to get right, especially when you are reheating it. Anyone who's made their own will no doubt have had either rice that's gone a bit dry or ended up with a stodgy mess by adding water.
I'm pleased to say that the rice sent from East at Home was absolutely perfect. A short blast in the microwave, and it was good to go. Lightly fragrant, with the grains fluffy and separate, it was as good as any I've ordered.
East at Home | My General Thoughts
There was plenty to like about receiving a box packed with various chilled Indian meals from East at Home.
Considering that they are all cooked authentically, by experienced curry chefs, really counts for something and gives East at Home a definite edge over the mass-produced (and often unauthentic) meals you'd pick up from the supermarket.
Anything I think could be better?
Overall, I was really pleased with East at Home. They've spotted a really neat gap in the market. There are a couple of things they could maybe implement to make their concept even better.
It would be nice to be able to specify your spice level for each dish. Some may want a curry milder or hotter. With online ordering being their chosen method, this could be easily implemented. It certainly would have removed my only criticism of the bhuna in the review above.
Another thing that would be nice to see would be a few chefs' specials on their menu. With over 30 years in the business, it would be great if they added a few of their own 'signature' dishes that you couldn't find anywhere else. I want to taste those 30 years of experience!
However, the above are all minor.
On the whole, when it came to taste, they hit the mark with most of their dishes. The standouts for me were the chicken tikka masala, the onion bhajis and the naan bread… All of which were just as good as anything you'd sit down to in a restaurant.
On reviewing their website, East at Home also offers 'meal boxes' for parties of 2 or 4. This is a great idea and actually excellent value. A meal box for 4 will set you back £40. You get a selection of 4 starters, 5 curries, 2 rice and 2 naan, which is really good for the money.
A full Indian meal, for £10 per head? Try and find that at your local takeaway!
Overall, I found East at home to be a novel and wonderful idea. With home food delivery fast becoming just as acceptable as going to the supermarket, I see no reason why freshly prepared, frozen and hand-delivered chilled curry shouldn't become your preferred option. It's a very clever concept that I'd advise anyone to try.
Great job guys!
To order meals from East at Home and see other available dishes, you can find them here.