frozen kababs, seekh kababs and sausages from Chevon. Are they good?

 I get a lot of questions regarding what meats are safe, where to buy and if chicken is better or mutton for everyday consumption. While it is a dilemma of sorts because in theory only free range animals and birds are good but we are fast loosing our grazing pastures so it's not a very practical idea to go find free range everything for everyday consumption.

I get very happy when I get to eat fresh fish caught from the rivers or lakes or free range chicken or goat meat but those kind of opportunities come by rarely for a city dweller. Life in villages is far better in terms of food security and nutrition quality I feel, city folks are spoiled by the packaged junk on one hand and do not get any good fresh produce at affordable cost on the other hand.

Most people are confused or ignorant about the types of ready to cook or ready to eat options of sausages, kababs and salami etc. While those suspicious 'chicken salami' is best avoided one can have bacon, prosciutto, ham and good quality sausages, salami and pepperoni made with the kind of meats it is supposed to be made from. Never ever believe in a 'chicken salami' and do not touch a veg sausage or salami even with a barge pole.

I was hesitant when folks from Chevon contacted me for my opinion on the goat meat products they have introduced recently. Not because mutton is bad meat in my opinion but because I have rarely come across good quality frozen mutton products. I am not the one who thinks cholesterol comes from animal fats, cholesterol is synthesized right inside our own bodies in response to inflammation caused by various reasons. Meats are not to be blamed for that.

But when I tasted their Turkish kofte kababs, Turkish seekh kababs and kofte kababs, I could see the quality was well comparable to the home cooked meatballs and seekh kababs. The Moroccan sausages were as good as the ones we get at Keventer's Darjeeling.

The good thing is, this Chevon range is a frozen ready to eat/cook category of kababs, seekhs and sausages and the taste and texture is as natural as you would cook at home. The packaging is good and practical, you can use half of the contents of the pack and put the remaining half back into the freezer if required. The contents need to be cooked for a couple of minutes in a greased pan for a recipe of choice. I cooked them on low flame for a little more time as I did not thaw them but the texture and taste was good even then.

I was a bit apprehensive about the binders used for the kababs and sausages and talked to Rizwan Thakur, Director of Chevon regarding this. He told me they do use some soy protein isolates which is stated on the label too but in minimal amounts. It was believable as the texture of the kababs is quite natural. Mr Rizwan told the products are made of tender lean goat meat and there is no offal added to them. I communicated my concern about the requirement of nutritional information being prominently placed on the pack etc. But I do agree the Chevon kababs would be a better option on the shelves if you want something ready to cook.

We tried the Turkish kofte kababs with steamed broccoli first and did not bother to take pictures as I was not expecting anything great to be honest. But the taste of the kababs converted me. Although all these variants were cooked for a quick dinner and pictures are poor quality, but they do communicate how the kabas and sausages are.

These Turkish seekh kababs are nice and spicy. I stir fried some pumpkin, carrots and zuchhini with butter, garlic and loads of fresh thyme. Served it all with a sour cream dip sprinkles with sumac and roasted chilly flakes.

Always eat loads of vegetables with any processed or fresh meats you are eating. Balancing act.

The next was a breakfast for dinner kind of day and we had the Moroccan sausages with fried eggs and grilled tomato and stir fry vegetables. This was to see whether these sausages are as good as the ones at Darjeeling Keventers. We would want to compare these with an Indian origin sausage only, as the quality of meat is different in other countries.

The Moroccan sausages passed this test. Nicely smoked and mild spices, good taste.

The next was a Moroccan pilaf made with chopped Moroccan sausages, chopped bacon, loads of minced cabbage, red and yellow bell peppers and fresh pomegranate seeds. This pilaf was spices with star anise, cinnamon, cumin, pepper and turmeric and the taste was quite good.

The sausages didn't disappoint here as well. We loved this Moroccan pilaf with all the textures and loads of vegetables, cooked with short grain rice. The pilaf was made within 15 minutes, I had cooked rice in the fridge, just had to chop and cook the pilaf briefly.

The Chevon range would not be suitable if you are looking for nitrate free processed meat. I don't have a problem with added nitrates as we consume nitrates in some other ways too, even naturally. A few convenient meals made this way wont harm if one is not dependent on such products for each meal.

Eat loads of natural fresh foods and try and learn conventional cooking every day, bring the convenience of good quality packaged foods whenever required.