Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: Patak's Original Dopaiza Curry Simmer Sauce

One of the things that I intended on doing when I started this blog was reviewing ethnic foods.  Fifteen months later, I haven't reviewed a single one (I don't consider frozen food enchiladas to be that) so that FINALLY leads me to my first review of an ethnic food, in this case Indian, with this review of Patak's Original Dopaiza Curry Simmer Sauce that I picked up at Kroger for $2.99.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an expert when it comes to Indian food.  I've tasted a lot of it and I've liked a lot of it, but if a person were to ask me what my favorite dish in Indian cuisine was, I would have no idea how to answer.  I just don't have the knowledge.  That said, I do have the knowledge to determine whether I think something is good or not and to somewhat accurately describe the way something tastes, so that's how we'll approach this review.  It's as much of a learning experience for me as it is for you.  By the way, this jar was fifteen ounces and has three half-cup servings at 140 calories per serving.

I have no idea what Dopaiza is, so let's let Patak's website describe it:  "'Do' translates as 'two' and 'Piaz' translates as “onion,” so “Dopiaza” is a tomato-based sauce with lots of onion. Legend has it that Dopiaza was first created when a courtier of a Mughal Emperor accidentally added too many onions to a dish. If this legend is to be believed, it’s no surprise that this mistake evolved into one of the tastiest dishes in Indian cuisine, since the onion is prized for the strong flavor and aroma it brings to a wide variety of meals. Its pungent, sharp and sweet taste is complemented by the richness of this tomato-based sauce, and makes for a delicious, memorable curry."  Well, based on my examination of the spoonful above I can definitely say there were a lot of tomatoes (pureed) and lots of onion.  It also had a very strong aroma that was a mix of paprika, cumin and garlic which are probably three of my favorite spices (basil and oregano are about the only two I can think of that are missing).  Based on just those smells, I could have eaten this straight out of the bar with no mix-ins in which to use this as a simmer sauce, but that would defeat the purpose of this, so I soldiered on by added some vegetables and ramen noodles (I know those aren't Indian, so sue me for crossing cultures).  As you can see, the color of this was more of a brownish-red, but that is easily attributable to the amount of cumin that is in this product, which was not at all a shock based on what I was smelling.

Without adding in any of my additions, I took a spoonful of this curry and tasted it on its own and what I was met with was a delight of the three aforementioned spices.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cumin and to my taste, it was the most powerful of the spices and I very much enjoyed that.  The paprika and garlic also had incredible strong flavor, so what I was getting was almost something resembling and Indian chili powder-type mix.  The tomato and onions flavors only added to that chili analogy as they both brought a bit of sweetness and additional tangy flavor to the spoonful.  I hate to go back and hammer home the chili analogy and cross cultures again, but that's really what this reminded me of.  Well, my chili at least since when I make my chili, I load it up with cumin and paprika, so the similarities were striking.  The nice thing about this was that while it was heavy on paprika and cumin, it was a mild and not overly spicy flavor.  Again, take that with a grain of salt though as Indian food tends to be spicy and while this may have been mild compared to other Indian food (or spicy food in general, which I prefer), it may be a bit too spicy for the typical American palate.

Buy It or Fly By It?  If cumin and paprika are your thing, as they are mine, this absolutely gets a BUY IT rating because it was unbelievably delicious.  The fact that it was only a mild spice (in my book) made it even more delicious to me because I could taste the flavors without having my mouth burned out, which can tend to be a problem with some foods.  Now, if cumin, paprika and even the faintest hint of spice aren't your thing, you'll want to stay away from this.  If you can deal with it though, you will love this because of its vibrant explosion of flavors.  I know I did and I kept on loving it for several days afterwards as the wonderful smell of cumin just lingered in my house.  Yum.



  1. Thank you for this! I was debating which jar of curry sauce to take camping and didn't want to open the jars to taste them. I'll be taking this one!


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