Last week I wrote a blog about Fiona Cairns. I wasn’t really sure if people had heard of her or not, but I suspected they hadn’t. This week I have gone even more obscure with a lady called Meena Pathak. Until I saw the jar with her face on it I hadn’t heard of her myself but I now know that “Meena Pathak has published 3 recipe books and was awarded the OBE in 2001.”. I am not sure if these things alone make her a celebrity, but I thought someone must have heard of her if she has been given her own range of sauces.
On closer inspection it turns out that Meena is actually part of the Patak empire and the extra “h” she has slipped into her name is just a red herring. It looks like I have been duped into buying a spin off of a huge brand. I feel so violated, cheap, dirty and used. How was I ever going to enjoy Meena’s sauce after this abuse of trust?
Nowhere on the jar do they mention Patak’s so maybe they are aiming to keep the two brands separate, even though they are both made in a warehouse near Wigan. I think Meena’s sauces are an attempt at a high end range of curry sauces just read this cringe worthy copy ” Just up towards the Himalayas we found food heaven. An aromatic blend of tangy tomatoes, sweet onions and chillies merged to awaken every sense to the sights and sounds of Kashmir. All the spices and history of the region in a single dish!”. You may notice that nowhere in that copy does Meena claim to have recreated the sauce for us. It seems she just found food heaven in the Himalayas left it there, came back, told us about it and then made her own version. For all her talk of “tangy tomatoes” and “sweet chillies” the lead ingredient in the list is water, yes WATER and chillies don’t get mentioned until right at the end as “Dried Crushed Chilli”. Also thrown in there is “Acetic Acid” and “Modified Maize Starch” which you can find in any corner shop up towards the Himalayas I’m sure.
Anyway enough preamble, I browned some chicken poured over the sauce and cooked it through for 15 mins or so. It tasted like a typical curry sauce in a jar, cloying, lacking in complexity and rather greasy. It was sweet and there was a bit of heat that came at the end, but nothing really worth bothering with. The sauce managed to merge and awaken every sense to the sights and sounds of a warehouse in Wigan, poor old beautiful Kashmir could not have been further from my mind.
I’m sorry Meena but if you really are “an expert in herbs and spices with an absolute passion for food” then I struggle to understand why you have created this boring, stereotypical, unadventurous jar of mush.
Meena Pathak’s Tangy Rofan Josh Sauce £2.19 for 425g