Dehydrating · Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Dehydrating 101: Trader Joe’s Indian Fare Punjab Choley

Ski posted this recently of his experiments with dehydrating shelf-stable Indian meals, found in many stores and also of the Trader Joe’s branded version. Enjoy his work – it might inspire you!

First a look at two brands – to get an idea of the nutritional stats:

Tasty Bites Channa Masala Ingredients:
Onions, Water, Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Sunflower Oil, Coriander, Garlic, Ginger, Salt, Mango Powder, Spices, Chiles, Bay leaf, Turmeric.
Serving Size: 5 oz. (says two servings per 10 oz. packet)
Calories 168. Fat 6 gm. Sodium 452 mg. Carbohydrates 22 gm. Protein 6 gm.

Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley Ingredients:
Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Onions, Water, Sunflower Oil, Ginger, Garlic, Coriander, Cumin, Salt, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove, Green Chili, Red Chili Powder, Fennel, Turmeric.
Serving Size: 5.25 oz. (says two servings per 10.5 oz. packet)
Calories 210. Fat 8 gm. Sodium 610 gm. Carbohydrates 27 gm. Protein 7 gm.

TJ’s chickpeas are twice the size of those in the TastyBites.

Results of test with Trader Joe’s Indian Fare Punjab Choley:


I used three 10.5 ounce packages.

Spread out onto parchment paper lined drying racks:


Dried fourteen hours at 130° F:


Each package yielded just over three-quarters cup of dry product:


It was pretty late, and I forgot to measure the amount of product in the pouch when I opened it. I estimated that half a cup of boiling water would probably work –


Let stand in covered bowl for ten minutes and served over couscous:


Chickpeas were borderline tough- a bit woody for my liking. Might work better if the dry product were actually cooked in water for a few minutes- I could have made the couscous in the bowl.
The Trader Joe’s product is much spicier than the Tasty Bites Channa Masala. My cheeks are sweating as I’m typing this.
I suppose this would be fine if I was up on some ridge in the snow, but for my immediate purpose it’s a bit too spicy for my liking. Girlfriend, however, thought it was just fine, although she hates couscous because of the grainy texture.

I hope everyone is enjoying reading Ski’s projects – I know I have been!