This week we’re looking at the interesting proposal which is Asda’s red pepper and chickpea Brazilian grills. There are a few things about them that seem intriguing right from the start: first of all, what exactly is a Brazilian grill? Why is there a sachet of sauce inside the packet? Isn’t it just a red pepper and chickpea burger?
We can answer that second question right away, as this is one of a seeming rise in sauce-accompanied frozen goods in supermarkets. The grill goes under the, well, grill, and the sauce goes into a cup of boiling water to defrost it through the sachet. When all is finished, you serve it up by drizzling the sauce from the sachet onto the burger. It’s an interesting, if unnecessarily fiddly, way of doing things. Of course, if you don’t like the sauce and would prefer some good old mayonnaise, you’re going to be in trouble once it’s already served.
Much as could be predicted, the taste is like that of a slightly spicy bean burger, with the added tang of the red pepper. Nothing unusual there. The texture is interesting but it’s also quite dry, which I presume is why some innovative soul thought of adding the sauce to the packet. Actually, compared to the burger, the sauce is really quite spicy and has a very strong taste. It’s got an overwhelming impression that I can only describe as “green”. I have no idea what’s in it and I don’t think I want to, as it was not entirely pleasant. It also looks pretty horrible and was quite greasy. To be honest, these grills are much better without the sauce. I can see why they’ve included it – but maybe they should have dedicated more time to making sure the burger wasn’t dry instead of just going with the sauce.
We’re currently trying to move house (hopefully we’ll have updates on that soon!) and the new place is going to be close by a Waitrose. Basically, this means new hunting grounds for veggie burgers! The first thing we’ve found is the interestingly named Indian spiced bhaji burger. It seems a bit like a contradiction in terms – how can a bhaji also be a burger? – so it was certainly worth a try.
First of all, I think it’s fair to say that these are definitely burgers. The name bhaji comes from the ingredients more than anything else, as to be honest they don’t actually taste or feel like bhajis at all. Maybe Waitrose are missing the point a bit with the name – it really should drop the bhaji and have the name curry burger or something similar. I’ve never understood why supermarkets will have misleading product names, as this doesn’t necessarily make it more appealing – what if you love burgers but hate bhajis? You would have missed out on this for no reason.
Anyway, after popping it in the oven we tried one each to see what they are like. They’re £2.39 for two, so really you have to hope for something quite special to justify spending £1.18 per burger – especially when competing supermarkets are likely to sell them at a lower price. I can certainly say they are very interesting, with good Indian flavours that have not been drowned out in the processing. It’s a good looking burger with bright colours, and you can both see and taste slices of carrot and peas in amongst the potatoes. It has a soft, squishy texture on the inside, which is an experience in itself. The exterior is a little more firm, but still soft to bite through.
The first thing you notice is the curry flavour, which is also mildly spicy. There’s actually no warning on this for the package, which might concern those who don’t like spice. It’s just an interesting combination overall, and though it would never replace a proper veggie burger for me, it’s good to have something different now and then.
Recently we went back to Ed’s Diner to try their second burger – a full year after the first! The chickpea and quinoa burger was the focus of this visit, but I also decided to get a plate of the atomic American fries. These are served “With chilli, sour cream, Cheddar cheese sauce and guacamole on the side. Veggie option with BBQ sauce”. As you will see below, they are absolutely huge. The burger itself was very filling too, so just with these two items it was a filling meal.
The main taste that comes through right away is sweetcorn. It is also pretty similar to a bean burger, with that very slightly spicy taste and the generally creamy texture of beans. It had a soft interior which was covered in breadcrumbs, though not crispy or crunchy ones – they were quite soft in themselves as well. There were chunks of green beans and other little vegetable pieces, and an overall rich, oily taste which no doubt comes from the way they are cooked. Overall very pleasant, and enjoyable.
It had a fair but not overwhelming amount of salad. The bread buns were good, covered with sesame seeds in a light brioche. Basically what you expect from burger buns in the current trend. Not the most remarkable buns but certainly complementary to the burger taste. They don’t distract either, which is a good thing.
The chips were pretty amazing. Well, the chips themselves were generally just normal chips, but the dips… Oh the dips. The nacho cheese was divine, as was the super smooth guacamole. Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce also matched up well against the smooth sour cream. The overall winner however was the chilli dip, which was actually a whole lot less spicy than you would think and instead just kind of delicious.
Right, I thought to myself when looking at this recipe. This can’t possibly go wrong. I love soup. I make soup all the time. Granted, normally it has less spice in it, and we’ll use the unhealthiest bread possible rather than wholemeal pittas. But it’s soup. What could possibly go wrong?
That all went down the drain almost immediately, when it turned out the packaging around the pittas had split at some point and they were already mouldy. That meant a hasty reschedule of the dinner timetable and a trip to the supermarket to replace them. I was still wishing for a nice hunk of cheesy bread instead, but I’d seen the calorie count on the back of the recipe, so I thought I had better comply.
I have to say I wasn’t fully with it when we eventually did make the soup. I managed to forget to wash the lentils until the moment they were supposed to be in the pan, and I spilled sauce everywhere while I was checking the soup. But, it turned out alright. It was not really spicy at all, to my delight and J’s disappointment, and the pittas were predictably far too small and weedy to satisfy. Still, it was the best of the batch – and it did actually thicken up after being on the heat for a while, which was a relief after last week’s watery debacle.
This is now definitely our last Hello Fresh post, as I’ve cancelled the subscription and won’t be going back. Mind you, they’ve called me twice since then to see if I’m enjoying my box, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up getting a new one through some computer glitch. Fingers crossed I don’t – I wouldn’t look forward to another high-calorie dose like the recipes we have tried so far, especially when I’m not able to control when I eat them or how far I can spread the meals out.
So, here’s our final Hello Fresh vine: