TJ’s Indian Masala Simmer Sauce


Trader Joe’s Indian Masala Simmer Sauce makes a wonderful base for authentic Indian meals.
Masala Simmer Sauce is a Indian style spiced tomato-based sauce which can be used as the main sauce component to easily make a tasty Indian inspired dish that could come together in as little as 15-20 minutes. We made a very tasty Indian style stewed dish with chicken and vegetables using this sauce that was really tasty. We served it with basmati rice and Naan and some chutney. The sauce is concentrated so you can thin it with water as they suggest (TIP: after emptying the jar into the pot just half-fill it with 8 oz of water, shake it up and pour that into your pot). Or if you want to make a coconut milk version use 8 oz of coconut milk instead of water. I haven’t done that yet but I’m sure that would make a wonderful dish. The spices in the simmer sauce include pureed ginger, tumeric, cumin, fenugreek, red pepper, cinnamon and clove, which combine perfectly with the tomato. Naturally there’s nothing stopping you from adding some more spices, and I’m in that camp. I had added additional chopped ginger and fresh garlic plus a 1/2 chopped onion which I browned up first in some ghee (butter) before adding this simmer sauce. As they suggest on the label, this works very well to make a stewed dish with boneless chicken, either breast or thigh meat (or even tastier might be chicken on the bone which one would cook 20 minutes more). Add in some frozen veggies (peas, or haricot vert green beans, or edamame) during the last five minutes if you like. Serve the finished dish with basmati rice and some Naan for getting all that delicious sauce. We ate this with TJ’s MANGO GINGER CHUTNEY which matched beautifully. Of course one can make this strictly vegan or vegetarian. Just use either tofu and/or just vegetables (veggies, plus beans for protein like chick peas or lentils….)

TJ”s MASALA SIMMER SAUCE can be the base of a very tasty dish. A 15 oz jar was $2.69.

TJ’s RAINBOW PEPPERCORNS in spice grinder


This may seem ho-hum because we are so used to seeing it by now but come on, let’s admit the spices TJ sells in built-in grinders are one of the greatest product innovations in history. I’m serious. Since all spices taste best freshly ground, it’s a huge plus that you can buy not just whole peppercorns but a number of spices & spice blends in these plastic grinders at TJs. I particularly am fond of TJ’s RAINBOW PEPPERCORNS. It’s especially nice as it’s a blend of 3 peppercorns from 3 different continents! They come from Brazil, India and Malaysia. Packed in South Africa. Wow. Peppercorns have gone up in price and I think this used to sell for $1.99, it’s now $2.29. Its the same price as a tin TJ sells of ground pepper so I would say this is better. I buy pepper grinders in pairs, one for the kitchen and one for the table.

Trader Joe’s CUBAN SPICE SEASONING BLEND


or to be more accurate as TJ’s calls it, Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend”

This CUBAN STYLE SPICE BLEND seasoning is a new TJ’s spice blend. It’s really good. This spice blend gives a nice Sabor Latino to almost anything.

TJ says it is inspired by the classic Cuban (Dominican / Puerto Rican) “mojo” which is a Caribbean sauce mixture that includes garlic, citrus (bitter orange or lime juice) oregano, and sometimes other things like cilantro and chiles. Mojo sauce is used both as a marinade and a sauce on the side for roasted chicken and pork. I used to eat “pollo a la brasa” like this (at El Malecon up near the GW bridge. Their rotisserie chicken is famous and amazing.) The little container of green sauce is their Mojo…. lots of cilantro, garlic and jalapeño)

If you’re interested in making MOJO SAUCE yourself sometime here’s one recipe I found online: MOJO (Saveur)

Back to this spice blend: I tried this on many different foods. It’s yummy. Interesting that they’ve managed to get the citrus acidity into a powder. Dried lime and lime oil? Aha! Thats how.

This is good and useful to jazz up many things. Try it as a rub on your poultry, meat or fish, or grilled tofu for that matter. Or grilled veggies. BEANS! Fo’ shure. I added it to black beans and it was outstanding making the beans from bland to yummy, adding much flavor. Try a little bit on/in your eggs. Put some in your next rice dish. I cooked rice with about a teaspoon thrown into the water and it was great. Sprinkle it on top of an avocado or avocado toast (yum!) or tacos, tostadas, quesadillas!

It was terrific for making grilled chicken breasts BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS – How To Cook Them Nice and Juicy!

Was equally great seasoning for sautéed (and poached) ARGENTINA RED SHRIMP! argentinian red shrimp

I sometimes add more real lemon or lime juice too with this, for even more citrus-y flavor! You will like this blend. Cuban Style Seasoning can jazz up lots of things that you will discover it works well with.

Its worth checking out for $1.99 for a jar.

PS – Ooo, this spice was excellent with SHRIMP (marinate 20 mins) Or any fish for that matter….

Trader Joe’s Cuban Style Citrusy Garlic Seasoning Blend is essentially a blend of garlic, lime oil, lime juice, onion powder, salt, and red pepper—plus bay leaves, coriander, cumin, cilantro, black pepper, oregano, cilantro, basil, lemon oil, marjoram, and parsley to round it out. It’s all the essential flavors you’d find in common Cuban cuisine, packaged in one little jar…

RAVE

TJ’s TACO SEASONING MIX spice blend


My headline: “Its not just for Tacos”

This little bag is possibly one of the cheapest things in the store, but I’ve discovered this is a great thing to have on hand. It’s certainly worth buying for 79 cents. “Taco Seasoning Mix” is a spice blend of a seasoning that is really good and very versatile. Is it just for Tacos? Well, this is a spice blend… You know like the ones you see in some fancy shops for $10 for a little bag? Even if you have some or all of these spices in your spice rack they are probably not as fresh as whats in this foil package from South Africa (!) The blend of spices and ratio of all the seasoning are spot on. This “taco” seasoning blend is better than any I’ve tried. The spices are :

Sea salt, cumin, cayenne, paprika, onion, garlic, black pepper, oregano, dried bell pepper, dried chile pepper and smoked paprika.

An excellent spice blend thats packed with flavor with a bit of chile heat, but not massive heat. I’ve used it with ground beef, ground turkey, ground pork, as well as to marinate and grill chicken breasts, or frankly practically anything you can think of, even to season steaks or other things. Try it and see if you like a sprinkle or a nice amount. I am pretty generous, especially for “Mexican” things.

This little bag of spices can makes it super easy to come up with something tasty for dinner or lunch, or make something a little boring more exciting and flavorful. For example, Ground Turkey can be boring, right? Try giving ground turkey a nice coating of this seasoning the next time you are grilling up turkey burgers or tacos. Brush a little olive oil on your meat, season it (this has salt so you may not need any or much). Throw the seasoned meat into a very hot cast iron pan, or non-stick pan with some olive oil. The lovely aroma of the spices will hit you immediately. Your old boring turkey burgers or tacos are now mouth waveringly exciting and spicy delicious. Seriously! I make great turkey tacos with this, or use ground beef. Cook it up. Warm some corn tortillas, and you have the makings of Taco Night at your place. On steak? Why not? On some Tofu? Ditto.

Spiced Chicken Breasts: Brush them with oil, season with this mix, marinate for maybe say 30 minutes. Grill in a hot pan till one side is well browned, flip and sear the other side. COVER THE PAN AND TURN HEAT OFF. LET IT SIT COVERED FOR 10 MINUTES. This method will make the juiciest chicken breasts you ever had. If you don’t use gas but have an electric burner, probably 5 minutes as the resident heat on the burner will continue the cooking more than a gas burner.

“PRODUCT OF SOUTH AFRICA” – where they know a good barbecue and how to grill with spices.

Vegetarians: Did I mention it will even perk up your beans?

This is worth a try!