Last week, we were treated to a Grade A quasi-villain in Jackie Koh, but on last night’s episode, Recipe to Riches cooled down and delivered just another fairly judged competition. It was almost as though the judges decided to actually critique the product on its merits rather than filtering their opinions through a mean or sweet or cool persona—and that’s just not what reality TV is about. Merit is supposed to be secondary in this game. Perhaps Jesse Palmer could start stirring the pot a little, asking each contestant, “What do you hate about your competitor?” Galen Weston, with his family billions, could surely play the role of rich tycoon and cut someone down à la Trump. Of course, this is a Canadian show, so we’re betting the good-natured, fair-minded vibe is here to stay (the just-announced Australian edition, on the other hand…).
Competitors on R2R usually emphasize their dish’s trendiness, and we’re pretty sure that’s what Brampton’s Rick Matharu was thinking when he called his Butter Chicken Lasagna a “fusion” dish (sorry, Rick, the “f” word is yet to be fully rehabilitated). Mary Rocto was closer to actually being on trend with her Jerk Chicken Bun, nailing the fast-growing single-serve entrée market (a.k.a. stuff in bread). On trend or not, Matharu, Rocto and Stephanie Kepman, who brought her General Tso Tofu, all underwhelmed in the batch-up. The quantity required—300 portions—elicited the usual shock and awe, although aside from Matharu losing his wedding ring in a pile of marinating chicken, the challenge was pretty by-the-book. The judges didn’t have much good to say about anything, really, but the least impressive offering was the tofu; Laura Calder just outright called it bland, and Dana McCauley didn’t think Canadians would go for it, so Kepman was shown the door. The marketing competition proved the livelier of the two challenges, with Matharu and Rocto setting up directly across from one another in an empty storefront on Queen West. Rocto recruited drummers to hammer on plastic drums and woks (à la Stomp), while Matharu drew on his Punjabi roots, enlisting bhangra dancers to peddle his lasagna. People seemed to be a having a good, mostly non-contrived time, and both Rocto and Matharu sold out their inventories. The final judgement was a tough one, but Rocto made the fatal error of renaming her buns Bun-dles, which didn’t impress either Weston or Tony Chapman. Plus, the groundwork seems to be laid for the stealth return of fusion (the ’90s are finally here again!), so the judges picked Butter Chicken Lasagna to fill Loblaws’ shelves this weekend.
Best product that the judges passed on: Squiggy-bake
Best line: Rocto coming up with new names for her dish: “The bun-around, bun-around-the-world, bun-tastic; they were just things that came to me naturally.”
Just because two things taste good doesn’t mean they’ll taste better together. Oranges? Great. Mint? Tasty. Together? No, thanks. Having suffered through all manner of ill-considered fusion dishes, most of us didn’t hold out hope for Matharu’s mash-up. But an office kitchen pleasantly smelling of warm butter chicken made us reconsider, and we have to admit, unholy as it sounds, Matharu’s Butter Chicken Lasagna is actually pretty decent. There’s a gentle but distinct garam masala warmth in every bite; the tomato brightens the dish up; the noodles are… well, they’re noodly, which isn’t bad (you need some kind of starch with butter chicken, after all). The dish isn’t perfect: the mozzarella was kind of plasticky (take note: the instructed hour-and-15-minute cooking time can burn the top),* and the ricotta was a little unappetizing. It’s an ugly dish, too. But all that doesn’t really matter, because this is just straight-up tasty comfort food; with a few adjustments to the cook time, this might end up as season two’s strongest dish.
Suggested pairing: A light, fruity red. Perhaps a beaujolais nouveau?
9 thoughts on “Recipe to Riches reviewed, episode 5: Butter Chicken Lasagna”
holy crap its calorie ridden of fat. ;(
Rocto the rocket made the show so much fun! She should have won! They should bring her back as a wild card!
I thought this was really flavourful. I enjoyed it. It didn’t stay looking pretty on the plate as I started to dig in but I’d rather it be a bit saucy than dry.
I followed the directions and with 20 minutes uncovered at the end there was still a bit of unbrowned cheese in the middle. A minute under the broiler or a few extra minutes in the oven might have solved that nicely.
I could really taste the mushrooms and loved that. Not a whole lot of chicken but I didn’t feel like it was missing.
All in all, I’d buy this over plain lasagna. I will buy this again as it’s really easy and doesn’t need to thaw out first. Freezer to stove to table makes it convenient for after a long day of work.
In my opinion, I think this dish and the brownies are the best so far though I refused to try the meatballs after reading reviews as well as finding the creator obnoxious.
This isn’t something newWe have been selling butter chicken lasagna in our small retail establishment (Howard the Butchers) in Caledon East, Ontario for the last 5 years…made by a fine company from Burlington, called Prettos Pasta…owned and operated by Arvid Rimkus…come give ours a try…our customers already love it!!!!!
Followed the recipe (somewhat) and made it tonight from scratch. I have to say that the family liked it more than the usual lasagna I made.
Loved the dish, it has great flavour and just enough heat; the blending of the various spices is extremely well done.
But please, can anyone explain why this Canadian Cooking Show category winner is a PRODUCT OF THE U.S.A.??????
Shame on Loblaws Canada, I say.
I am very sad, Recipe to Riches, Food Network Canada and the great Weston family, I went into a Zehrs market today after seeing one of the last episodes, looked for even seeked out the Butter Chicken Lasagna, looked fantastic.
I am Canadian, Presidents Choice is Canadian and even the Weston’s are Canadian, what is almost as big on the box as the name of the product is “Product of USA”. I want to try the product but I will never taste it, I have nothing against sourcing production in the US, but this product or other Recipe to Riches products? On the end of the packaging Rick Matharu is from Brampton, Ontario, CANADA. Mr Weston I am disappointed.
If you followed the instructions in french you cooked it right. There’s a transaltion mistake. It says that you have to cook it for 50 to 60 mins then remove the film and put it back for 15 mins.
Hell hath no place for the fury unleashed upon the porcelain throne in my bathroom after consuming a moderate serving of said spiceaggeddon chicken lasagna. The paltry words of mere mortals can not even begin to describe what just happened to me. The only adequate way one could describe what happened has more in common with volcanic activity than with normal human digestion.
Coming from a total generalist diet, the king of omnivores, my stomach has been known to tackle things well past their shelf date, horrific loads of gutwrenching fast food, downing a glass of lemonade after eating icecream, hoovering back yogurt after eating pickles, and various other digestive dangers. Alas, nothing I have consumed to date in my life prompted such an immediate, visceral, and uncomfortable experience as President’s Choice Butter Chicken Lasagna has. From the fiery caldera of my GI tract, liquid hot magma shot from my body fast enough to break the sound barrier.
For the love of all that is holy, avoid this product. Your intestines, toilet, sanity, and pride will never be the same.
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