Indian Food, Aldi Style, Part 1: The Regular Buys

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post contains a rundown of Aldi Regular Buy Indian food. You can find brief takes on some of their Special Buy items here. Keep in mind that Aldi sometimes shifts food from one category to another, so what is a Regular Buy might become a Special Buy, or vice versa. Also, some Regular Buys are regional, so what is a Regular Buy in one area may be a seasonal Special Buy in another.

My husband and I love Indian food, but we live on a budget and can’t always eat at restaurants. When we crave Indian food, we are mostly relegated to preparing meals at home with products from an international grocery store with an unreliable stock, from the small selection of offerings from Target, or from Aldi when it rolls out certain Special Buys. We even recently tried frozen Indian meals from Trader Joe’s, which is Aldi’s upscale cousin, and we were not impressed.

No store-bought Indian food so far has been as good as the food we get at restaurants (although Aldi’s Journey to India Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce in a jar comes closer than anything else), but we continue to try new things when we discover them.

Today we’ll look at an array of Regular Buys.

One note before we begin: at the store, another woman who was shopping asked an employee if the Indian entrees in the freezer were very spicy. I couldn’t help chiming in and mentioned most Indian food I buy from grocery stores isn’t too spicy. At most, it has a little kick. Restaurant food tends to be much more spicy, depending on the chef. After having sampled those foods from Aldi now, I can say that nothing is overly spicy, except the Special Buy Specially Selected Jalfrezi Curry Sauce.

On to the specifics:

Journey to India Flavors of the World Chicken Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce

This was a Special Buy product that recently became a Regular Buy. In my store, it’s found with a few other ethnic sauces near the ketchup and salad dressings. This is a 16-ounce jar containing a “medium spiced tomato-based sauce blended with ginger and coriander.”

The directions say to heat oil in a saute pan, add salt- and pepper-seasoned chicken (I use 1 to 2 chicken breasts, depending on how saucy I want the meal to be) and brown evenly. Then add green and red peppers and the whole jar of sauce. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve with basmati rice.

I used pre-cooked chicken, didn’t add peppers, and I only heated the sauce until it began bubbling so all the liquid didn’t cook off; I like my Indian food to have a lot of sauce.

This is our favorite Aldi Indian sauce. It has good flavor, the right amount of spice (but not too spicy), and tasted a lot more like restaurant sauce than almost any other store-bought sauce we’ve purchased, in or out of Aldi. I initially regretted that I only bought one jar because it was a limited-time Special Buy, but now that it’s a Regular Buy item I’m happy I can buy it whenever I want to at Aldi.

Journey to India Flavors of the World Korma Simmer Sauce

Journey to India

This is a new Regular Buy at Aldi, sold in the condiments section of the store alongside the Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce mentioned directly above. The Korma Simmer Sauce is “a creamy yellow curry sauce made with a variety of mild spices and coconut.”

To prepare, heat oil in a saute pan, season chicken with salt and pepper and brown evenly in hot oil. Add onions and other vegetables along with the jar of simmer sauce. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy with rice.

I used pre-cooked chicken and did not add vegetables. The jar does not indicate how much chicken to use, but I use 1 to 2 chicken breasts, depending on how saucy I want the meal to be. This sauce has a decent mild flavor, and tastes fine, but the Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce is more flavorful, tastes more authentic, and remains the winner in my book.

Journey to India Flavors of the World Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce

Journey to India

This recently showed up as a new Regular Buy at my local Aldi, sold alongside the above-mentioned Tikka Masala and Korma simmer sauces. It is “a smoky medium spiced tomato puree curry sauce with onions, garlic, ginger and peppers.”

It prepares similar to the other simmer sauces: heat oil in a saute pan, season chicken with salt and pepper and brown evenly in hot oil. Add onions and other veggies along with the entire jar of sauce. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy with rice.

As I did with the other simmer sauces mentioned above, I used two pre-cooked chicken breasts and did not add vegetables.

I had never never tried Jalfrezi sauce before, so I don’t have a standard to which I can compare it, but this was quite good. It has some small chunks of tomato and diced peppers in it and has good flavor but is not too spicy. Of all the Journey to India simmer sauces Aldi sells, the Tikka Masala tastes best, followed by the Jalfrezi, and then the Korma.

Specially Selected Naan Bread

naan

Aldi’s naan bread comes in regular or garlic flavors (my family prefers regular), is pretty authentic, and is a Regular Buy item. It arrives at the store frozen. I know this because I’ve picked it up off the bakery section shelf while still frozen. Each package comes with four slabs of bread, and each piece of bread serves one to two people, depending on how hungry you are. The bread warms easily on a baking sheet for two to three minutes at 400 degrees in the oven, and you can scoop up tikka masala or buttered chicken with chunks of bread for a good meal. It even comes with instructions for making little pizzas if Indian food isn’t your thing.

The Verdict:

As a general rule, we think Aldi’s best Indian offerings are the Regular Buys. Aldi’s Regular Buy Journey to India Chicken Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce, sold in a jar, is our favorite, with an authentic taste and lots of good flavor. The Regular Buy Journey to India Korma Simmer Sauce and Journey to India Jalfrezi Simmer Sauce are decent.

Outside of sauces, Aldi’s Regular Buy naan bread tastes authentic and is worth purchasing, and the Regular Buy basmati rice is also good.


About Rachael

Rachael is a freelance writer and editor. You can read more of her work at www.mumblingmommy.com.

17 Comments

  1. excellent review!! I’m SO excited about these news sauces. my local Aldi no longer has them in the Special Buys aisle- they are among the regular items.

    I can understand what you mean about wanting a thicker sauce. to get the most out of the simmer sauces, I’ll add a generous bit of water to the jar (1/3 to 1/2) to clean it out and pour it back into the pan with the sauce and browned chicken. I let the sauce simmer on low/med for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    it gets back to it’s original thick consistency while still giving it time to get infused with the chicken. so delicious. 🙂

  2. I just had their Jalfrezi sauce last night and LOVED IT. I still have to try their Tikka Sauce.

    • I think the Jalfrezi tastes better when cooked a little longer to allow the tomato to become sort of “jammy” but this does require you to stand over and stir frequently to make sure you don’t burn it.

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  4. I really like the Journey to India Korma simmer sauce- went to purchase another jar and there are none left- somebody must have liked it. Did you say it’s a ” regular item” thank you!

    • As far as we know, it’s a Regular Buy now. That may not be true in all regions; what is a Regular Buy in one part of the country can be a Special Buy in another.

  5. We just had the journey to India tiki masala sauce with chicken tonight for dinner. I prepared just as the instructions directed. We loved it! Even my husband who is not a fan of curry gave it a thumbs up. I plan on making it again and again.

  6. I really liked the tika masala, but not the korma (first 2 items listed). Haven’t noticed or bought the other products.

  7. Susan in Maryland

    Great review. I almost bought the Naan and regret I didn’t. Next time I’ll get it. Some ideas… use it with chicken in your Pressure Cooker or slow cooker. Cauliflower and chick peas are also nice additions. If you have an air fryer you can add a few tablespoons to toss over some chick peas and air fry. Another idea is to buy the precooked frozen Wings (we like the buffalo wings) and add them to the sauce to give it some heat. Their basmati rice is so good. A pat or two of butter and garlic is nice added when cooking the rice. I think it would also be good made into cilantro rice (look up the recipe for cilantro rice… delicious).

  8. Where can i get these speciality buys Journey to India products at Aldi naperville?

  9. I just tried the Aldi bottled Jalfrezi sauce. I used chicken and a few vegetables. I am fortunate enough to have a number of Indian markets in town and my pantry is well stocked with authentic pastes, spices and sauces, including Jalfrezi.

    After preparing the sauce I tried some with a bit of Aldi Basmati rice. The verdict? My opinion is that the sauce is not very good, it simply lacks the taste that one would expect from an “authentic” Indian dish. Simply said … it tastes bland. The reviewer rated the sauce as “decent”. This is a bit generous.

    In reality, I’m not sure why I am disappointed with the sauce as this product was sold in an attempt to satisfy a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds so it should be of little surprise that it tastes a bit like ketchup. I still enjoy most of my shopping experience at Aldi … but if I wanted relatively authentic Indian food I would go to my pantry or an Indian restaurant, not Aldi.

  10. You are absolutely correct about the Tikka simmer sauce.
    I have had it at least five times…it is delicious.

  11. Big fan of the Tikka Masala sauce. I went a little different direction. I grilled chicken thighs over charcoal then put them in a cast iron pot. Poured the sauce on, flipped them once and backed in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. I served the thighs whole with curry vegetables over couscous. Mediterranean olives on the side.

  12. i love the tikka masala…i add a can of chick peas, frozen mixed green beans, and diced tomatos and cut up sweet potatos. DIVINE

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