Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review: Tiffin Trove Subscription Box

Tiffin Trove has agreed to let us do a giveaway of one of her boxes!  Go check out the Tiffin Trove Giveaway to enter!

I love Indian food. ADORE it - when I lived in West Virginia, the biggest highlight of a trip up to Pittsburgh or out to D.C. was the opportunity to hit up as many Indian restaurants as I could find.  Some were better than others, but any of them were better than none.

For most cuisines, the alternative to a nearby restaurant is to learn how to cook it, and I do have a couple good Indian cookbooks on my shelves.  The problem is that the list of ingredients is absolutely daunting! So many spices, and they aren't always the ones likely to be on the typical American spice rack.  I was always afraid that I'd wind up spending a fortune and trying a recipe once and then spend the next year trying to use up those exotic spices.  As if that's not enough, many of the recipes seem to involve a couple of dozen complicated steps and for the most part, it was just all too much to deal with.

Tiffin Trove is an ingenious answer to that dilemma!  These subscription boxes provide recipes and little pouches containing all the spices you need to make the recipes - each individually packaged, and with a few extras so that you can add more or less to suit your own tastes.

There are a lot of options - you can select a monthly box that has 2 or 3 recipes, and they can be vegan, vegetarian, non-vegetarian, or a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian!  You provide the other ingredients, so there is no rush once the box is delivered to insert these meals into your meal plan - do it whenever you've gotten your groceries and are ready for a delicious dinner for four.  The 2 meal plans cost $12.99 a month, and the 3 meal plans are $15.99 a month.

In each box she also tucks in a couple of lovelies ... little trinkets and bags from India.  As much as I enjoyed the recipes and spices, I think I loved the pretties even more! What will be tucked in will vary from box to box, and that keeps it interesting - this sort of surprise is so fun, I think!

There is no need to feel intimidated about cooking Tiffin Trove's meals - these recipes are easy to cook. There's enough going on for you to feel like you really did prepare a home-cooked Indian meal (and you did!), but not so complicated that you're too stressed by the time it's done to even enjoy it.  These are slow cooker meals - some are as simple as adding everything to to your crockpot and letting it go, while others require a food processor to blend together the spices and other ingredients, and there may or may not be some browning of meat prior to putting it into the slow cooker.

But none of that is difficult, and you'll have the heady scent of Indian spices wafting through your house in no time!  The meals are all gluten-free, with no funky additives like MSG - just good ingredients that your whole family can enjoy.

I'm going to show you what came in my box, but first I have got to share with you the story of how Tiffin Trove came into existence, because it just tickles me and warms my heart.

Anjali Bindra Patel, the owner of Tiffin Trove, and nicknamed "The Spice Guru" is an Army wife, like several of the authors here at Reviews, Chews & How-Tos.  When her husband was deployed to Afghanistan, he really missed her home-cooked meals.  He had access to local meats and produce, so she set him up with a slow cooker and began sending him little care packages with the recipes and necessary spices.

Needless to say, the delicious scents of his meals made all the other soldiers hungry for their own kits - and Tiffin Trove was born.  Isn't that great!?

So, let me show off the non-meal gifts that were in my box.   I was so excited about the bags - two of these, one pink and one blue, large enough to hold a few make up items, or small electronics or, in my case, a deck of Tarot cards.  They're so shimmery and pretty!

The cylinder is something I've never seen before - it's about 4-5" long, and if you unwind the string, it opens up like a small scroll.  A piece of paper (or paper money) can be laid out inside, and it will roll back up, concealing it and keeping it safe.  I considered briefly keeping it on hand in my purse to hold a grocery list - just for the ooh factor of pulling it out at check out!  But then I quickly realized I'd just fumble with it.

And it is just too pretty for such a mundane use.  So it found its way into my holiday ornaments and I plan to use it as a 'one line a year' brief diary, holding a page that contains one sentence for each year, to be written on New Year's Day.

There was also an adorable small drawstring bag, just right for keeping a pair of earrings safe, and a very small (about 1") round box for tiny trinkets.  A couple bags of tea finished off the extras.

There were packages of spices bagged up and attached to ring bound cards with the recipes and shopping lists for each of the meals.   In addition, there was another bag with extra packets of many of the spices, in case something went wrong or you wanted more of a particular seasoning.

The three recipes I received were Nihari Beef Curry, Lamb Vindaloo, and Butter Chicken.

We tried the Nihari Beef Curry recipe first, mainly because it was the easiest of the three - this is pretty much a straightforward 'dump it all in the crockpot and cook' type meal, calling for a beef brisket.

We actually had a brisket on hand - grass fed and locally raised, and I was excited to use in in what promised to be a special meal.

An onion was the only other extra thing called for besides the spices.  Throughout the day, this smelled so delicious, I thought dinner would never be ready - the anticipation was too much!  We made up a batch of rice to go along with it, and when it was finally time to eat, there was very little conversation - just a whole lot of 'mm', and 'oohhh' and exclamations of how good it was.  It totally hit our Indian food buttons!  Best of all, even though we ate our fill, there were plenty of leftovers for the next night. (We are a family of two - these make four very generous servings)

Nihari Beef Curry & Rice

The second one we tried was the Lamb Vindaloo.   Lamb may or may not be something affordable or available in your area - I was unable to find the suggested cut, but did fine with some loin chops that were available.  If you can't or don't eat lamb, I think it would also be fine with chicken or pork.

This was a tiny bit more complicated, requiring some vinegar in addition to the onion, and inolving the use of a food processer to blend the spices along with chopped onion, to create a delicious, thick spread that coated the lamb as it cooked.

Again, we marveled at how delicious and easy it was to create a restaurant quality Indian dish here at home, and again, we had tons of leftovers to enjoy.

Both of these recipes are destined to go into future rotation - now that I know we like them, I'm less worried about stocking up on the necessary spices!

Lamb Vindaloo
The last recipe is for Butter Chicken, and I am actually going to share that one tomorrow in a separate entry - of the three it required the most in terms of additional ingredients, and takes both a slow cooker and a food processor - but it is easy enough to be pretty much foolproof as long as you follow the directions.

I not only would highly recommend subscribing to Tiffin's Trove if you enjoy interesting Indian dishes, and a selection of fun trinkets, I've also subscribed myself - I'm interested in trying out their vegetarian dishes as well as more like these.

Now for the most exciting part!  Tiffin Trove has agreed to let us do a giveaway of one of her boxes!  Go check out the Tiffin Trove Giveaway to enter!

Have fun, and good luck!

  I received no monetary compensation for this review, however I was provided with the product for purposes of review.  All opinions are my own. Click here see our full disclosure policy.

Tiffin Trove Website
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Tiffin Trove on Twitter

Shared with:
~ Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Katherine's Corner Giveaway List, Someday Crafts Giveaway Directory, Home and Garden Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.
~ Anything Goes Friday, Foodie Friday, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorites, Let's Get Real Friday, Party Bunch, Real Food Friday,
~ Get Schooled Saturday, Link Party Palooza, Serenity Saturday, Show & Tell Saturday, Weekend Re-Treat.                


  1. Hi! I'm stopping by via A Delightsome Life party :) I LOVE Indian food; we lived in England for a while and I came home with lots of Indian food cook books, but you're right, alot of them are complicated. This is such a great idea! Glad I stopped by, Diana

    1. Thanks for stopping in Diana! Trying Tiffin's recipes is actually giving me a bit more bravery about tackling some of my cookbook recipes! It really helped me understand the how and why of certain things.

  2. I agree, the goodies would be my favorite part but I know my husband would be over the moon if I surprised his with these simple indian food dinner!

    1. These are definitely 'man pleasing' meals!

  3. Wow! What an awesome box! I have only dabbled a little with Indian food but this would definitely help me expand my horizons. I'm excited to give this a try!!

    1. I hope you will! This is one of the most fun subscription boxes I've tried - I signed up to keep receiving them!

  4. I would use the scroll for my art journal!

  5. How fun! Indian food is delightsome! Mmmm

    1. It is that! Thanks for stopping in! :)

  6. great review its a great box the only reason I do not make more Indian food is because its is difficult to find spices this would solve that problem

  7. What a wonderful idea for a box! I'd have so much fun making the meals, and I love the little extras. I'd use the scroll for an encouraging note, as it would be the perfect thing to keep in my purse for when I need a little cheering up.

  8. I would put a written wish or positive mantra inside the scroll.

  9. I would probably use the scroll to store an inspiring quotes.

  10. I think I would try and store photos in the scroll.

  11. Wow these photos are mouthwatering! YUMM!!

    I think i'd use the scroll in my car, put a $10 or $20 in there and hide it in the car for emegerencies! No one would ever suspect money in there i don't think! it looks on the outside like a lipstick holder or something like that!