Jim Gaffigan has already said much better. As if I needed to remind myself, for whatever reason, a few months ago I was at Target and saw some pretzel/turkey/bacon/cheese montrosity that somehow looked, well, "appealing" isn't exactly the right word. It was more a word that somehow means "If such a thing as tasty Hot Pocket is possible, this would be it." Nope. Fail. Gross. Pretty much the cheese's fault. Maybe Archer Farms could take a better crack at it.
Anyways, despite the name of this particular product being Trader Joe's Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches, I will refer to them the rest of this post as being Trader Joe's Indian Hot Pockets, because you cannot tell me that they're not. They even come with crisping sleeves. They even call them "crisping sleeves." This is a Hot Pocket, through and through.
And, in stark contrast to most of our TJ's Indian food experiences whether current or past, they're a major disappointment. Chief reason: Look at the picture on the box. Looks like crispy, buttery, samosa-inspired crusty-carb incarnation. Then look at this picture, taken of my Indian Hot Pocket, after a few strategically placed bites:
Looks nothing alike. Furthermore, this particular crust? Uggggggggh. What comes to mind is stale Chuck E Cheese pizza crust flattened via steamroller. It's tough and chewy and not even remotely crusty. It's nasty. Granted, it could be better if baked, but I'm not going to eat these at home where I'm trying my best to eat meals without barcodes.
The rest of the filling is okay, I guess. To be honest, I wasn't much of a fan. Between my two IHPs there were about three discernible chickpeas, a whole bunch of mush, some typical Indian spices, nothing that really said "chaat masala" or "tamarind chutney" to me, and whole bunch of big ol' chunks of onions. Now, I like onions, quite a bit actually, but there were too many of them and too little of the other stuff. It was enough that my breath literally and tangibly felt funny until I could come home and brush. Plenty hearty and filling, though. It wasn't enough to dissuade me from being interested in an aloo chaat dish the next time I go to an Indian restaurant, especially if they look something like this, but I won't be running back to these, especially after gandering at the nutritional info. Forgive the Frankenstein Photoshop job, it's been years since I've messed with it.
Wisely, Sandy avoided these. Sometimes she misses something great, but other times she's absolutely right. I cannot even imagine her reaction if she tried one of these, but if the uncrusty crust wouldn't turn her off completely, the filling would. Fortunately, I made a call to the bullpen, and one of our Facebook fans, Martha, gave us a pretty complete rundown, which I'll copy here in its entirety: "I
have tried them. The filling is delicious (and vegetarian, for the
person who was asking). The crust, however, leaves a bit to be desired. I
wanted the pastry to be delicate and buttery like a samosa, because
that's how it looks on the box, but it's actually more like the crust on
a hot pocket. If it had a better crust it would be an 8 or 9, but I
have to give it a 5. Too bad." So I read that as her giving it a 2.5. That's more generosity than I can spare. There's just not that much good I can say here.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Indian Hot Pockets...err, Aloo Chaat Kati Pouches: 3.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons