Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: Street Kitchen spice set

This is one of the spice mix packs that my parentals-in-law sent me for Giftmas last year that I am finally getting around to covering. They know I have a love of exciting kit foods, cooking, camping and the like, so it's ace that they think to send me tasty treats to try. This is one of them. You might ask yourself, what is the point of putting spices and spice-kits into a blog about Apocalypse Equippedness?

I know it's not the same as me covering the MRE-style Mainstay Survival rations, or the just-add-water dehydrated meals from Back Country Cuisine or Outdoor Gourmet but there are some good reasons. One is morale. Food fatigue is something we can all avoid day-to-day, but in a disaster situation, where resources are limited, having something to spice up an otherwise boring meal is a much needed booster. The other aspects of having a pre-packed spice kit like this are that they can be used to improve otherwise unpalatable foods. I certainly don't advocate eating contaminated or tainted food, and the dangers of eating spoiled foods are well documented.
However, it is commonly held that heavily spicing meals can mask and even possibly improve the spoilage rates of food by killing microorganisms responsible for food going off. These studies however don't suggest anything more than heavily spicing food -may- assist, and that for the most part, the effect is to improve the taste. Be safe. Don't come crying to me if you give your self Bali-Belly, Tutankhamen's Curse or Masai Malaise.

So with that in mind, I'd like to tell you about one such spicing kit, the Street Kitchen "North Indian Butter Chicken" kit, which comes in three sealed plastic retorts, one for a dry-spice mix, one for the ginger and garlic marinade and the third is the tikka simmer-sauce.

These are all contained in a very easily packing flat pack with instructions.

You marinade 600g your meat (chicken, donkey or rat, what-ever) in the garlic and ginger, till it is well infused, softens, or as long as you can manage.

The spice pack gets flash fried in hot oil, to release its aromatics, and then the meat goes in the heat as well. Once browned, the simmer sauce goes in over the top and cooks down for even further softening. The recipe states this is a 3-4 serving kit, which will cook in 20 minutes, but you could stretch that if you're luck enough to have more main-protein than that. You could also substitute meat for beans, potato, rice or other dry-storable staple that comes in long-term survival bunker stores.

I used chicken, and fed the family of four adults and one Tactical baby happily with several chicken fillets and rice.

It was delicious and really easy to use. At 225g (8oz) it was a really lightweight way to significantly improve a meal that would otherwise could have been "grilled/boiled chicken" and white rice.

You can imagine the difference this would make after having to contend with basic rations for a while, and perhaps aging and degrading flavours in stored supplies, or at the worst, less than ideal meats, be they from unpalatable sources, or not as fresh as you might otherwise be used to.

People in hot climates have been spicing their foods for millennia. People have been fighting against microbial spoilage of supplies for even longer. With these long shelf-life spice kits, you can make use of those advances on the go and make an enjoyable meal!

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