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Nasi Biriyani
You don’t have to make a curry, biryani or other international dish to go with Baji’s rices—they’re delicious with grilled meat and seafood. Photo by Su Yin Khoo | SXC.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

ELIZABET TRAVIS is an Editorial Intern.

 

 

November 2007

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Rice, Beans & Grains

Baji’s Rice Meals

Ready-To-Eat, Flavored International Rice Dishes

 

EDITOR’S NOTE 2009:
Regrettably, Baji’s has ceased manufacturing.

 

CAPSULE REPORT: Baji’s Rice Meals are a very tasty and convenient line of five international flavors of basmati rice. Highly seasoned, fully cooked and ready to eat—just heat for 90 seconds in the microwave—they can be enjoyed as a vegetarian meal or as a side with everyday grilled meat, poultry or seafood. Of course, you can incorporate them into Indian meals, or use them to build a more complex jambalaya or paella. The rice dishes are all natural, trans fat free, cholesterol free, wheat free, gluten free, preservative free and vegetarian. A portion of the company’s profits helps disadvantaged children throughout the third world.

Baji’s founder, Paul Jaggi, was inspired by his hard-working mother, who never failed to put fresh, delicious, nutritious food on the table for Paul and his 11 siblings, slaving away with a patient smile on her face. He named his company after her and other dedicated moms (baji, pronounced BAH-jee) is a term of endearment for “mom” in many parts of India, and what Paul called his mother. He then created a line of rice dishes that are very flavorful, nutritious and ridiculously simple to prepare—just microwave—so today’s moms will have an easier time of it.

Paul’s baji created wholesome comfort meals day after day, using authentic spices and natural ingredients; Baji’s products do the same. The flavorful dishes are also conveniently packaged in microwaveable pouches so there’s no mess. What mom (or dad, or single person) wouldn’t love that?

Baji Jaggi was always passionate about those less fortunate. The company named after her donates a portion of products sales to a charity that focuses on the education and nutrition of underprivileged children and women in Delhi, India, providing education, nutritious meals and job training. Another recipient is an international charity working with more than 250 organizations around the globe to help improve the quality of education for children in third world countries. So, every bite of Baji’s basmati rice dishes does double duty, feeding you and, indirectly, someone less fortunate.

Basmati Rice

Photo of basmati rice by Brandon W. Mosley
| SXC.

About Basmati Rice

Basmati is a deluxe variety of long grain rice that has been cultivated on the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years, at the foot of the Himalayan mountain. In Hindi, basmati means “queen of fragrance” or scents. It is an aromatic rice, so-called because it is not bland but has a flavor and aroma similar to that of roasted nuts or popcorn. When basmati rice is cooked, it swells only lengthwise, resulting in long slender grains that are very dry, light and separate—not sticky. This helps it to stand-up to convenience cooking, resulting in perfectly fluffy rice.

Basmati has long been exported to Arab countries, where many traditional rice dishes are cooked with basmati rice. (To learn about other types of rice, see our Rice Glossary.)

Varieties

Baji’s rice meals are packaged in 9-ounce pouches, two adult servings; at 200 to 290 calories per serving, they make a satisfying side dish. All of the flavors work well as a base or side for meat, poultry, fish or grilled vegetables. We even enjoyed them plain, with a dab of chutney. As the rices are not only vegetarian, but also wheat free and gluten free, they are friendly for almost any dinner guest—except for those who eschew spices. It will be tough to trade up people who don’t enjoy spicy food, but those who enjoy a little spice may warm up to even the spicier flavors.

An ethnic dish from a different part of the world influenced each flavor of Baji’s rice. India, Indonesia, Spain, Thailand and even Creole Louisiana are represented. While most of the flavors are not as authentic as the original rice dishes that inspired them, they are fragrant and titillating with spices, which will surprise the palate without shocking it too much.

Baji's Rice Meala

Jambalaya
Jambalaya won’t pass for real in New Orleans, but it passes for good in your kitchen.

Jambalaya. Even if you add your own meat and seafood, this is not your typical hearty Louisiana rice dish. It is spicy and full of peppers and onions, but also contains ingredients that we’d never seen in a jambalaya before, like corn and black-eyed peas. The cayenne pepper is very pervasive, overpowering the basil and oregano. You can add some or all of the following: diced ham, shrimp, tomatoes (we like whole San Marzano tomatoes), smoked sausage, your favorite chicken parts, bacon and fresh thyme.

Thai Lemongrass and Basil. The spiciest of the five flavors, this Thai rice dish has a unique crunch from shredded coconut and an added kick from green curry paste. There were milder hints of basil and lemongrass, and baby corn and bits of water chestnut noticeable throughout.

Indian Lentil Rice Biryani. An Indian classic with mild flavors of garlic and ginger and the nutty earthiness of lentils and chickpeas, this rice also had green beans. We enjoyed pairing it with chicken and vegetable dishes made with the simmer sauces from Devya.

Indonesian Nasi Goreng. Lightly spicy from the red curry paste, this is a twist on the Indonesian version of fried rice. Shredded carrots, onions and water chestnuts mingle with the rice; peanuts provide a sweet and crunchy note. Again, it paired well with Butter Chicken and other Devya dishes.

Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng: Lightly spicy.

Paella
Paella—not classic, but a good base.

Spanish Paella. You won’t find much saffron in this version of paella, but it’s still a tasty rice dish, with subtle notes of garlic, pepper, onions and peas. This particular flavor would be a great base for added protein—even simple slices of sausage or a few shrimp or scallops. We’d suggest integrating them in a pan along with the rice. You can layer additional paella elements as well—scallops, mussels and chicken are traditional. We also added slices of roasted red pepper (pimento), straight from the jar.

If you’re looking to spice up dinner, we can’t think of a better—or easier—way than Baji’s Rice Meals.

BAJI’S RICE MEALS
Jambalaya, Lemongrass and Basil, Lentil Rice Biryani, Nasi Goreng, Paella

  • 9-Ounce Box
    Suggested Retail Price
    $2.99
  • Pack Of 12 Boxes

    $28.55

Buy online at Amazon.com

 

Also available at fine retailers.

For more more information visit BajisPassion.com.

Read our review of Baji’s Snack-Size Flavored Papadums.

Package photography by Dhanraj Emanuel.

Lentil Biryani

 

Price and availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

© Copyright 2005-2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their respective owners.

 



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