Gallery: We Taste Every Instant Indian Bite from Tasty Bite | Taste Test

I wish I knew about Tasty Bite in college. A microwavable, totally vegetarian, and actually tasty convenience food that doesn't even require a fridge? Yes, this would have made those long work nights far more pleasant. The Connecticut-based company currently offers about 30 pouched products, mostly heat-and-eat "entrées," but also microwavable grain dishes and "meal inspirations," mildly seasoned ingredients like chickpeas that are fully cooked and ready to add to a larger meal. So which ones are the best? We found out the only way we could—by trying them all.

  • Tehari Herb Rice

    Butter, cumin, and fenugreek come through in this rice dish. If you're partial to the maple-esque bittersweet flavor of fenugreek, you'll probably like this. If not, you may want to pass for one of the more neutral-flavored rices.

  • Thai Lime Rice

    Thai lemon rice

    The musky lime and lemongrass flavors drew mixed reactions for this rice. It's strongly flavored, with some coconut sweetness for balance, but not as fresh-tasting as lime and lemongrass can be.

  • Aloo Palak

    Aloo Palak

    Potato chunks in a spinach purée. The tender potatoes have a nice tanginess, and mustard seed puts its best foot forward, but the spinach sauce is more thin than our liking.

  • Bengal Lentils

    Bengal Lentils

    A pulse of creamy, well-cooked lentils with chickpeas for texture. Our chickpeas were on the tough side, but the appealingly brusque garam masala-esque spicing in the lentils delivered.

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  • Jodhpur Lentils

    Jodhpur Lentils

    Turmeric is the loudest spice in this quiet split lentil dal. The texture is pleasantly thick, but more starchy than creamy, and we would have appreciated more flavor overall.

  • Chunky Chickpeas

    Chunky Chickpeas

    A "meal inspiration" meant for adding to other dishes, and a convenient way to kickstart a chickpea-based meal. Definitely mix it into something saucy—onions, garlic, and chili add flavor to these chickpeas, but they're subtle.

  • Mushroom Takatak

    Mushroom Takatak

    A basic creamy stew with onion and tomato warmth. The mushrooms are kind of a non-event, but the sauce is good on rice.

  • Bombay Potatoes

    Bombay Potatoes

    Potatoes for dinner is just fine by us, and we appreciate the boldness of the whole cumin seeds, but the thin sauce lacked the umph to make this Bite all it could be.

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  • Spinach Dal

    Spinach Dal

    Lighter on the spices than the other dals, and thinner to. The vegetal spinach overwhelms the subtle earthy lentil flavors.

  • Bangkok Beans

    Bangkok Beans

    The Thai-inspired Tasty Bites tend towards the sweet end, without much spice. We wish these butter beans were firmer; as is they melt into the too-mild sauce.

  • Tandoori Rice

    Tandoori Rice

    "Tandoori" typically refers to meat that's marinated and cooked in a blazing hot tandoor oven. Rice doesn't fall under that category, which is why this Bite tastes a little confused. It's alright, but the slight tomato and dairy flavors feel out of place in this grain dish.

  • Kashmir Spinach

    Kashmir Spinach

    Tasty Bite's take on saag paneer. We wish the spinach had more substance, and the paneer's pretty bland. Some hot sauce livens it up considerably.

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  • Paneer Makhani

    Paneer Makhani

    Makhani—a buttery tomato sauce that's India's closest relative to tikka masala—is a special thing when done right, with sweetness, spice, dairy richness, and tomato sharpness all in balance. This version is too thin and sweet, with paneer that's more crumbly than lush.

  • Tofu Corn Masala

    Tofu Corn Masala

    A sweeter and more mild curry than most, studded with soft tofu, tender potatoes, and crunchy corn. Pretty middle of the road; it could stand to be more assertive; as-is it's forgettable.

  • Lentil Magic

    Lentil magic

    Here's one we won't recommend—there's way too much cumin and cardamom going on, enough to make the lentils taste mentholated.

  • Malaysian Lodeh

    Malaysian Lodeh

    Another skip—the sauce is sweet but not much else, and the tofu and vegetable medley are pretty flavorless.

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  • Channa Masala

    Channa Masala

    We could easily see getting this at an Indian restaurant. The chickpeas have skins with a little bite that give way to tender legume, and we dig the gentle sweetness and jolt of garam masala.

  • Punjab Eggplant

    Punjab Eggplant

    There's a fine line between really tender eggplant and mushy eggplant, and this gets it just right. We love the sweetness balanced against the fairly complex spicing, which doesn't shy away from heat. Boldly flavored, nicely textured, all around pretty great for three bucks.

  • Jaipur Vegetables

    Jaipur Vegetables

    Carey described this Bite as "sustaining," and I agree—you feel full after finishing one, and relatively virtuous. The mix of paneer, potatoes, peas, carrots, mushrooms, and green beans is soft and comforting, with a sweetness and creaminess amplified by cashew paste in the sauce. The warm spices are bold and assertive, and though the paneer is fall-apart soft, the rest of the vegetables retain their textures well.

  • Madras Lentils

    Madras Lentils

    Another Bite that could pass for a steam table selection at a quick service Indian restaurant. A thick starchy gravy that's heavy on onion funk and sweetness. These are lentils to rely on.

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  • Barley Medley

    Barley Medley

    This mix of barley and lentils cooked with raisins and ginger is one of Tasty Bite's "meal inspirations" (or as I think of it, "Takeout Helper"), but it's wholesome enough to be a dish on its own. The firm and chewy barley and lentils are clean-tasting, slightly nutty, and overall a virtuous-feeling way to get your grains.

  • Zany Multigrain

    Zany multigrain

    Name aside, we quite like this. It's a grain dish of millet, bulgar, and soybeans, each cooked well. There's a lot of textural contrast going on here, with mild but clean flavors and a fair amount of nuttiness.

  • Vegetable Korma

    Vegetable Korma

    Kormas are traditionally rich stews from northern India thickened by cream, coconut milk, and/or nuts. In American restaurants they're usually larded with fat but not much flavor. The calorie count on this korma is on the low end for Tasty Bite, but that coconut milk creaminess comes through loud and clear. The spices are gentle and the mixed vegetables are pretty soft, but if I encountered this at a curry-in-a-hurry steam table joint, I'd be pretty pleased.

  • Ginger Lentil Rice

    Ginger Lentil Rice

    Tasty Bite's rices fair pretty well: they're not overcooked in the least and carry some of the fragrance of freshly made rice. This one is clean and slightly nutty, with a nice fruitiness from chilies. Good rice to supplement any home cooked or takeout meal.

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  • Spinach Channa

    Spinach Channa

    One of the better spinach-based bites, less vegetal and more balanced. There's onion sweetness, solid heat, and more of those well-cooked chickpeas.

  • Peas Paneer

    Peas Paneer

    Paneer and peas in a relatively thin and sweet sauce. We wish the spices were more bold and that the sauce had more body, but the paneer has a nice chewiness and the peas are creamy-soft. Best over rice.

  • Jasmine Rice

    Jasmine rice

    Another solid rice pouch. Not as floral as fresh jasmine rice but with a notable buttery flavor.

  • Garlic Brown Rice

    Garlic brown rice

    Nutty and clean with subtle garlic flavors, a fine upgrade on plain brown rice.

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  • Basmati Rice

    Basmati rice

    Basic 90 second microwavable rice, and much better than most instant rice out there.

  • Brown Rice

    Brown rice

    A little on the dry side, but hey, decent brown rice in 90 seconds. We'll take that.

  • Zesty Lentils and Peas

    Zesty Lentils and Peas

    Tender chickpeas—not lentils—and large peas made for adding to other dishes. We'd like them with a coconut milk and tomato sauce for a korma-style curry.