Parampara Foods, a Pune based company was acquired by US giant General Mills in 2012. General Mills already has a footprint in India with Pillsbury range of atta, Betty Crocker cake mixes, Nature Valley granola bars, Haagen Dazs ice cream and Green Giant frozen vegetables.
These ready-to-cook mixes can be a boon for busy working women with little help at home. The directions are to add water to mix, make a gravy and then add vegetables and paneer. What could be simpler. However, you should be cautious of what ingredients these mixes are comprised of.
Let’s examine the ingredients:
Edible Vegetable Oil, Dehydrated Tomato(Tomato Solids, Maltodextrin INS 551), Milk Solids, Dehydrated Onions, Spices and Condiments(Red Chili Powder, Coriander Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Turmeric, Cumin, Cardomon, Black Pepper, Cinamon, Bay Leaf), Garlic, Sugar, Iodized Salt, Ginger.
The only questionable ingredient is the oil – aren’t all oils edible? Why don’t food companies specify the oil they are using? You can bet it is lower cost oil. Maltodextrin is an easily digestible starch found in many packaged foods as a binding agent, thickener and/or filler. It’s used in small quantities and therefore harmless. There is a high fat content in this package – this 60g package has about 14.5 saturated fat. This is before adding the milk and paneer that is required for preparation. But you can expect this – it is paneer makhanwala after all.
Making this Punjabi range of foods – chicken tikka, chicken mughlai, dal makhani, etc. is time consuming, especially for non-Panjabi’s who don’t know the authentic taste (chances are that their grandmothers never made these range of dishes). When something is not familiar to you then cooking it becomes even more tedious and these mixes come in handy.
Bottom Line: Keep in your pantry and use for emergencies – the times when it is impossible to cook a meal. Keep frozen peas and paneer/chicken on hand.