"Frying frozen Asian snacks makes my life a little less stressful"
British Asians are throwing away the rolling pin and rolling down their sleeves. This is because Asians, especially women now have busier lifestyles and therefore, spend less time in the kitchen.
With the wonders of frozen packaged foods that are commonly available in our local stores, it makes life a little less chaotic for mother’s on-the-go and for independent individuals.
For many years Asian women have been prone to be known as the typical ‘housewife’ who kept herself forever busy in the kitchen. This continued with endless chores and buying sacks of flour and kneading dough with their hands to make parathas and fillings too.
These days this is no longer the norm. Many younger Asian women find taking parathas out of plastic packaging from their fridges straight onto a pan mess free and much tastier.
Even throwing parties or having a small get together has become stress free by frying ready made Asian snacks such as frozen samosas and spring rolls. Frozen snacks are a growing popularity in the Asian community.
On the other hand, some people prefer to be ‘less’ lazy by buying fresh cooked snacks from their local Asian sweet centre. Despite the fresher the better, it is far cheaper to buy frozen snacks from your local Asian stores and supermarkets.
There may be three reasons for this change of attitude towards using frozen foods instead of making them fresh.
One: Asian women are now a lot busier with their careers and children.
Two: Young British Asian girls don’t feel the need to learn to cook because of ready made frozen foods.
Three: possibly a key reason, laziness!
Satti, a 40 year old mother argues that her lifestyle is now hectic as ever compared to 20 years ago. So, buying frozen snacks is a great advantage.
Satti says, “Frying frozen Asian snacks makes my life a little less stressful not having to slave away in my kitchen when I have guests over. Simply fry and serve!”
Independent individuals such as university students living miles away from home regularly live on frozen foods. Manisha, a business student says, “Attending lectures to studying long hours in the library tires me out.
Hence, the carefree advantage of heating up frozen meals in the evening gives me sometime to eat and relax.”
However, it’s not just Asian women feeding on Indian frozen foods, men are too! Asian men who simply miss their mother’s traditional cooking, live alone, or have a busy-bee wife, find heating up frozen parathas an absolute doddle!
Ricky, a 30 year old bachelor says, “When living away from home and missing my dear mother’s cooking, frozen parathas is the next best alternative.”
The health properties of Asian frozen foods are questioned.
Ingredients of frozen foods are not going to be the same as freshly made food. For example, use of Wheat Flour, Water, Palm Oil, Margerine (Contains Hydrogenated Palm Oil), Sugar, Salt in plain frozen parathas, compared to Wheat Flour, Water, Butter and Salt in fresh parathas shows the difference.
A concern would be the use of Palm Oil. The Mayo Clinic lists Palm Oil as one of the fats to avoid in a heart healthy diet. The clinic warns that labels reading “partially hydrogenated” Palm Oil may have hidden, dangerous trans fats.
Indicating the Asian frozen foods can be unhealthy food in comparison to cooking from scratch. That’s why some Asian traditionalists strongly urge others to cook rather than binge on unhealthy frozen goods.
Asha a traditional mother of two teenage girls argues:
“Mothers should teach their children how to cook, especially daughters who are expected to prepare food when they get married.”
Asha claims it’s still important for girls to know how to cook even in this day and age. After all, that’s said to be one of the ways to gain approval from future in-laws!
Asian frozen food manufacturing has grown exponentially and new brands are constantly appearing in the market. Majority of the manufacturers are of South Asian background.
Therefore, showing that the move towards Asian frozen foods is not of ‘Western’ origin but from within the community. Revealing that the demand for such foods is growing too.
Shana are a well known brand of frozen Asian foods. One frozen Shana paratha original consists of 280 calories per serving and consisting of 14g fat (21% of Daily value), 34g carbs (11% of Daily value) and 4g protein (8% of Daily value), according to ‘Live Strong’ (www.livestrong.com).
Livestrong statistics state that Shana parathas are frequently eaten in the evening for dinner.
Thus, this may suggest that many individuals come home too late in the evenings and are too tired to cook, and therefore, find them a quick, simple and satisfying substitute.
Frozen Asian foods have grown dramatically over the last decade and the trend is continuing with all kinds of new products arriving in the freezers of stores.
Many may argue, this is no different to eating other frozen products such as Pizzas, Chips, Fish etc.
Therefore, why would eating frozen Asian foods be a problem? Surely, at least it still shows the popularity of Asian foods.
A cake decorator, Sangeeta proudly says, “It is better to eat fresh food as it is healthier and much fresher than eating frozen packaged foods, which contain too much fat and chemicals. Eating fresh is the best!”
It does seem that the old tradition of cooking and making every food fresh in the Asian household has long passed because of the wide availability of frozen foods, frozen ingredients and fast food.
There were times when Asian women even produced home-made spices from scratch and grinded ingredients for their dishes. Which is definitely not common practice today.
So, it looks like the era of Asian frozen foods is here and the idea of cooking fresh is being seen as a tiring and time consuming activity when there’s so much to do.
Individuals having less interest in healthy eating due to their busy lifestyles is making way for such alternative foods. Or, is it that are they are simply too lazy to cook fresh and choose frozen for convenience instead?