None of the sauces rated much better than OK for taste, and most failed to evoke the cuisine they’re supposed to represent. This is quite damning given the tasters were ordinary consumers, not professional foodies who may have had unrealistic expectations.
Simmer sauces are formulated to have a broad appeal; as one of our tasters commented (about Indian Chicken Tonight Butter Chicken), “a bit bland for Indian, but my kids would eat it”. So don’t expect a gourmet meal – these sauces don’t necessarily contain all authentic ingredients, and are often artificially thickened and coloured. See What we found.
We also found price is no guide – on average, the more expensive sauces tasted no better, or were any more likely to taste authentic, than cheaper versions. And the more expensive sauces in sachets were no more likely to impress than the cheaper options in jars or cans.
That said, none of the sauces is outrageously expensive and they’re definitely convenient, as unopened they’ll keep for more than a year without refrigeration. Our tasters found a few worth having in the pantry for when you need to whip up a quick meal (but some have too much sugar or sodium for regular eating – check the Results table for details).
Dragon & Phoenix $2.37
Sweet and sour