Friday, 20 June 2014

Product Review - Zest Byron Bay Curry Pastes and Spice Blends

When it comes to baked goods, my sister and I are like peas in a pod. Whatever she bakes I want to eat it until it's all gone! But as far as our non-sweet palates, it's like we are cut from different cloths! I love almost all cuisines, and there isn't much that I don't enjoy. But her tastes are much more mild, focusing on herbs rather than spices.

So when at the Good Food and Wine Show, I was delighted to meet Shelley from Zest Byron Bay who had a number of different spice blends out for tasting. I normally can't handle store bought spice pastes as they are laden with onion, which I just makes me feel terrible. So I've stopped even considering them after spending many trips at the supermarket analysing almost every bottle of curry paste. They are also gluten and dairy free, and free from artificial preservatives and added sugar. A dairy free butter chicken? Really! I'm in heaven, because this suits my gluten/dairy/onion free diet. Now this is a real find!

So many flavours!
I had a good chat with Shelley at the Show, who owns Zest with her husband Pob. I wondered where the inspiration for their spice blends came from. It turns out they bought the company from a Nepalese guy who started with four of his mother's recipes which he brought with him when he moved to Australia (yes! Authentic flavours!). Here is a cute little video about their company. Now Zest has expanded to include spices that cover Nepalese, Moroccan, Sri Lankan and Indian cooking. These are real curry pastes too where you can actually see the flavour, with cumin seeds, bay leaves and other bits popping out of the sauces!

So one lazy weeknight, we tried out Zest's Kerala recipe base, which is a southern Indian inspiration. This isn't something I have ever seen in the supermarkets, or even at Indian restaurants, so was really excited to try it. Below is what I created for dinner :)

The Kerala Blend is inspired by Southern Indian cuisine
1 packet Zest Byron Bay Kerala blend
1 Tbsp oil
600g chicken
1 400ml can coconut milk
400g vegies (we used capsicum, yellow squash, eggplant)

To start, marinate the chicken in the Kerala blend for at least 15 mins. In a heavy based pot, heat the oil, and then add the marinated chicken, cooking on high for 2 minutes until the chicken starts to colour up. Add the coconut milk and vegies, simmering for about 10 mins until the chicken is cooked. Serve with fresh coriander and rice. And if you have any, some chutney would go a treat, although I didn't have any!

A fresh and tasty Indian curry- easy, quick and delicious!
The verdict...yum! I've never had a southern Indian curry before, and I'm a fan. It's not too spicy, and a little smoother on the palate than other curries you might find at an Indian restaurant. I would say that it's a great curry for those that would say they don't like Indian. So, this might be a good one for my sister! On another lazy night I chucked together some beef mince, potatoes, pumpkin, carrot and tomatoes, with some Zest Indian spice paste and it was a delicious, quick and easy meal. I'd add some more chili to give it a bigger kick, but a curry paste that even a curry hater would enjoy.

Zest Byron Bay stock in lots of places across Australia, check the list to see if your local grocer does, otherwise you can order online too for $7 each.

Thank you to Shelley at Zest Byron Bay for providing me with some amazing products to review at a discounted price as part of the Good Food and Wine Show Melbourne.

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