46 Best And Worst Buys Of 2021- Mishry
Ta-da! Here are the best and worst products of this year related to the kitchen and dining space by Mishry.
Our reviews are research-based, and all trials and testings are conducted in-house over days and weeks. We have a strict no-free-sample policy to ensure our reviews are fair and impartial.
December, the year-end, the season of lights, is the best time to look back on the year and be proud of yourself for all you’ve achieved. And for the things you didn’t, let the New Year be a new opportunity for you!
Be it the year-end or the beginning of it, good food and products are a part of every occasion, from the grandest parties to the coziest get-togethers.
And doing what we do best at Mishry, here’s the recap of some of the best products we reviewed, some essentials we just can’t do without, and some big no-nos. So here’s the 2021 recap you didn’t know you needed, get ready!
Table of Contents
BEST OF 2021
Amul Cheese Spread Punchy Pepper
Unsweetened crackers, untoasted bread slices, or a fiber-rich vegetable sandwich, our Top Pick from the Classic category- Punchy Pepper offers wide versatility, uplifting the taste of various base ingredients. Visually, this is a rich and creamy-looking spread with just the right amount of crushed black pepper specs. SPOT-ON!
The overall flavor delivers beautifully on the ‘punchy pepper’ claim. In addition, the typical peppery heat pairs exceptionally well with the flavor of cheese, making this variant one of the collective favorites!
Sleepy Owl Hot Brew
Not just taste, the packaging and convenience this ‘instant’ coffee offers are commendable too. Sleepy Owl Hot Brew comes packed in eco-friendly ‘coffee bags’; this is sublime! We brewed the coffee following the instructions and found it an instant hit.
A coffee this rich and smooth-tasting without any extensive dripping/percolating? All variants are made using 100% Arabica coffee, grown in the southern parts of India.
We recommend these coffee bags for the freedom they offer. Liberty of having black coffee or adding milk, or the ability to adjust the strength by brewing it for a shorter/longer duration.
We recommend the Original variant for those who love their cuppa strong and the French Vanilla variant if you’re looking for a milder, subtly sweeter coffee.
The Whole Truth Bars
Taste? Top-rank. Ingredients? Impressive.
When we say ingredients, this includes the quality as well as quantity of elements that make up the bar. The brand claims that no preservatives, no artificial sweeteners, and other additives typically found in processed foods are used here. All sweetness and fiber content is naturally-occurring.
The whey protein added is unflavored and lends a lovely crunch to the fudgy bar. We recommend these protein bars as barely any in the market taste this good AND are made with genuinely healthy ingredients.
Britannia Nutri Choice Oats Orange Biscuits
These crunchy biscuits have a fresh taste and aroma of orange peels. Well-rounded sweetness with chewy, fleshy raisins and crunchy almond bits make these biscuits ideal for enjoying straight out of the pack or dunked in a warm beverage.
The fibrous bite and visual consistency are other commendable mentions. We also appreciate the tray packaging as this minimizes the chances of broken biscuits.
iD Filter Coffee
Authentic South Indian Filter ‘Kaapi’ in an instant? iD Instant Filter Coffee decoction is precisely that. Made with a blend of coffee (80%) and chicory (20%), this is devoid of preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors.
Big on convenience, this instant mix blends seamlessly in warm water, toned, full fat, and plant-based (coconut) milk. While the overnight brewing process is eliminated, the bold richness and caffeine kick remains unchanged.
There is a single-serve 20 ml sachet and a larger 150 ml filter coffee-shaped pouch.
Wingreen Farms Pancake Mix
Soft, fluffy, ready in a jiffy- preparing the Wingreens Farms pancakes is truly as easy as 1,2,3. Once cooked, the pancakes were laced with a delicate sweetness and emitted an inviting vanilla aroma. The taste and texture are very professional. We added water to the mix as per the instructions and liked how seamlessly the powder turned into a batter, completely lump-free.
Beginner-friendly and super convenient, the pack provides spot-on ratios and cooking instructions!
Paper Boat Thandai
When we reviewed brands of Thandai available in India, Paper Boat won by a large margin for the taste and convenience it offers. Packed in a classic Paper Boat pouch that holds a single serving, this Thandai is ready-to-consume. It is hands down the most DELISH packaged Thandai with just the right amount of sweetness.
The traditional Thandai flavor Paper Boat comes exceptionally close to the homemade variant. The abundance of crushed nuts and seeds uplifts the experience. The brand uses double-toned milk making this a calorie-friendly beverage. (There’s approximately 110 Kcal per 100 ml)
Ketofy Coconut Cookies
Grated coconut used to make cookies may result in a dried and crumbly outcome. But not these! Ketofy coconut cookies are high in fats (the good ones) and low in carbohydrate content, as they rightly should. Despite coconuts naturally having a higher fat (oil) content, these cookies did not feel greasy on the fingertips or the palette. Taste-wise, freshness is retained, and these do not have any rancid or industrial smell.
We LOVED how fibrous and satiating the cookies are. Snack on one chunky, coin-sized cookie, and you’ll be good until the next meal. Vigna mungo (aka kaali dal) has been used to prepare a high-fiber, slow-digesting protein source that creates a feeling of satiety.
Covid-induced lockdowns had us missing that steaming hot plate of momos. Even more, the momo chutney! Prasuma Original Chicken and Original Pork momos were hits of 2020. In 2021, we tried the Spicy Chicken momos and loved them inside-out!
We cooked these RTE momos using three cooking methods- steaming, cooking in a microwave, and pan-frying. A paper-thin, moist wrapper (cover) has a pleasing texture.
Coming to the filling, it is flavor-loaded and spiced just right. And the chicken filling, oof! Juicy, succulent, and straight-up DELISH.
Gulab Ajwain Khakra
Thin, crisp, and biscuit-sized, Gulab Ajwain Khakra makes for tasty and wholesome snacks. As the name suggests, these are flavored with ajwain. Carom seeds typically have a sharp pungency and bitterness, but the flavor profile of these seeds/this herb is beautifully balanced.
Similarly, the salt levels are quite decent too. This well-rounded flavor pairs well with tea, curd, a variety of pickles, and chutneys. The vacuum packaging that ensures crunch and freshness is retained is appreciated. We think this is a pocket-friendly on-the-go snack.
Honey is a culinary staple. Be it dishes or ailments, honey is a granny-trusted ingredient. From 2019-2021, we reviewed multiple honey brands available in the Indian market.
Out of them, Dabur Honey is the only brand that retained its winning spot. Not just taste, the moisture content, Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and most importantly, added sugars were parameters where Dabur surpassed its contenders. While the above-mentioned aspects remain well within permissible limits, added sugar was not detected!
We recommend Dabur Honey for its purity and how well it has retained the overall consistency!
Betty Crocker Mug Treats- Brownie
Betty Crocker Mug Treats are a piece of cake, in every sense! Beginner and budget-friendly, these cake mixes come in a powdered form. Just add the recommended quantity of milk, mix until you get a lump-free batter, and microwave for a minute- Voila!
Chocolatey, fudgy, and oh-so decadent. This ‘brownie in a mug’ had a mouth-watering taste and texture. Your freshly baked dessert is ready without purchasing, measuring, and sieving 20 different ingredients. Additionally, the post-baking mess is eliminated too!
Sprig Ginger Imbued Honey
If honey is your preferred choice of sweetener, the Sprig Ginger imbued honey is something we recommend you to get your hands on! Why, you ask? This ginger imbued honey has a bold YET balanced flavor of ginger, as it rightly should.
The warm and inviting ginger aroma had our hearts! We tasted the honey in multiple ways, including warm water, haldi kadha, and green tea. It uplifts the flavors and adds a lovely warmth to the beverages. Though it is priced higher than regular honey brands, the premium packaging, taste, and consistency make it a must-try!
Naagin Hot Sauce
Prepared with Sankeshwari Chillies from Maharashtra, Naagin Original Hot sauce packs a prominent spice kick with a well-rounded flavor profile. It starts off with a subtle sweetness moving into the bold spice. The mild tangy flavor from tomatoes and the lovely garlicky taste is experienced right at the end, as they provide relief from the chili heat. Typically, chili sauces showcase just one flavor- spice. There’s no interplay with sweet, pungent, tangy, or other flavors.
Since that wasn’t the case with Naagin, we tasted this sauce by dipping snacks like momos, veggie fingers, fries, wedges, and a pack of instant noodles. This variant is perfect if you’re looking for a primarily spicy dip with a lip-smacking interplay of flavor profiles.
Amul Safed Makhan
Over jowar rotis, toasted bread slices, and fluffy pancakes, we even relished this creamy safed makhan straight out of the carton. Finger-licking deliciousness, indeed! It has a very rich, milky taste and is unsalted like homemade butter would be. The appearance and aroma come super close to the homemade counterpart. The only drawback was marginally low creaminess.
Regardless, the smoothness and spreadability of this butter are top-notch! If you stay away from home or simply don’t feel like going through the lengthy process of churning butter at home, this is the best fix!
Vahdam Turmeric Ginger Herbal Tea
Turmeric and ginger is a powerful combination known to improve digestion amongst other benefits. Vahdam offers a herbal turmeric ginger tea that is caffeine-free. As we know, caffeine affects sleep and digestion. Since this blend has none, it can be consumed post heavy meals or before bedtime.
Reflecting on the ingredient list. This product is made using just two ingredients- ginger and turmeric. Nothing else. We love it!
The subtle peppery notes of turmeric and light ginger flavor are refreshing and inviting.
Full points for packaging and staple-free, pyramid-shaped tea bags.
Wingreens Farms Rosemary Dry Herbs
Despite being a pack of ‘dried’ rosemary, the contents felt fresh, fragrant, and flavorful! Rosemary naturally has a needle-shaped appearance which was well reflected in these packaged herbs too. The mild bitterness, the astringent mouthfeel that rosemary is known for, came through in the dry taste test.
To check if the results on any parameters change post-cooking, we seasoned three dishes- rosemary potatoes, white sauce veggie pasta, and a bowl of stir fry veggies with these dry herbs. Excellent is all we have to say! Taste and texture-wise, this is a great product.
Wingreens Farms Pizza Dough Mix
The ‘It’s as easy as 1,2,3…’ claim was delivered exceptionally. We followed the recommended proportions, kneaded the dough, and let it rest for 45 minutes. After the rest period, the dough had risen beautifully, thanks to the yeast!
Both the regular pizza base and thin-crust variant rolled out and baked quickly and thoroughly. While the regular base was spongy and fresh-tasting, the thin crust was super crisp with a crunchy crust! As we sliced the pizza, the gluten cables within the base had the signature bread-like appearance. Additionally, we think this would make for a convenient weekend, kid-friendly activity.
ITC Achaari Beetroot Kebab
Appetizing taste with a melt-in-the-mouth texture, ITC Achaari Beetroot kebabs bring a flavorful variation to the usual potato-dominated snacks and starters menu. Nicely packed in a tray, none of the kebabs were broken or cracked. Visual consistency in thickness and shape has been maintained throughout, thumbs up!
Moreover, cooking these RTE kebabs is a dream, you can cook them on a tawa, bake, or air fry a batch! High on spice with a hit of tangy ‘achaari’ flavors, we also loved the subtle sweetness these are laced with. Looking at the varied flavor profile, you can pair these with a variety of dips/chutneys and mocktails!
Epigamia Cream Cheese
Deliciously creamy! Epigamia’s cream cheese is devoid of preservatives and made using simple ingredients like milk, cream, whey, salt, lactic acids, and starter cultures. Since cream cheese is one of those cheese variants that isn’t aged, we were expecting a subtle aroma. This is exactly what was observed, a mild and pleasant milky aroma.
Rich, thick, and smooth, this cheese had an off-white appearance without any lumps. We spread a liberal amount over toasted bagels and the applicability is marvelous. Smooth like butter.
Epigamia Ghee Spread
In 2020, we reviewed two Epigamia ghee spread variants and liked them for the better fat source and taste. This year in 2021, when Epigamia launched two new variants, we knew they had to be reviewed.
Of the two we tried, the Dark Chocolate and Orange variant is what we liked better. It has a rich, creamy consistency that spreads effortlessly on raw and toasted bases (bread, paratha) Textural variation owing to the dates added. This spread is prepared with over 25% of ghee. It showcases a delectable blend of zesty orange flavors with that of chocolate. The rich flavors of ghee are tasted too but only subtly.
Open Secret cookies
These refined flour-free ‘cookies’ are packed in a way that enhances freshness plus convenience. In addition to the textural interplay they add, the type of chocolates, nuts, and whole grains is strategized to compliment each other. Moreover, these are priced quite decently. We suggest these if you’re trying to eliminate maida from your diet.
Happilo Medjoul dates
Fresh, juicy, and exceptionally sweet, Happilo Medjoul dates are one of the best dried dates you can get your hands on.
Also known as ‘the fruit of Kings’, these dates looked appetizing! Visually, they were fairly plumped and large in size (one date weighed approximately 20 grams). With a fudgy texture, a meaty bite, and caramel-like sweetness, these Medjoul dates had our hearts!
Badshah Chicken Masala
In our quest to find the best chicken masala in India, we reviewed seven popular brands and Badshah’s chicken masala fared excellently.
The masaledar aroma had us drooling during the review. This masala lends a meaty and roasty flavor to the curry. We appreciate how convenient this masala is, there’s no need to add additional spices or seasonings. The flavor intensity makes it a value for money buy.
Best of Curated
Curated by Mishry is an attempt to acknowledge local, boutique, and artisanal brands in India. Our search for such brands led us to some amazing finds in 2021.
Happy and Gai
Fresh and flavored paneer delivered to your doorstep. If you’re in Delhi NCR, the paneer by Happy and Gai is a must-try. We ordered three variants- plain, dhaniya mirchi, and sundried tomato + rosemary. They had a fresh, milky aroma which was very inviting. During both, pre and post-cooking stages, the paneer retained its softness. The flavored variants were tasted raw and they do justice to the flavor tags in every aspect!
The Earth Kitchen
If you’re under the notion that eating clean and healthy means eating bland and boring, let us re-introduce you to The Earth Kitchen.
From their extensive menu, we ordered the Burnt Garlic & Capers cream cheese, the Ginger Miso drizzle, and Basil pesto. The 20-day shelf life and clean ingredient list were appreciated.
All three products were ordered shared a common factor- they are bursting with flavor. Doing complete justice to the flavor tags, consistency, texture, and spreadability. Magnificent!
Tofu, also known as vegan paneer or paneer made from soy, is a great way to incorporate some protein into your diet. We ordered a 200-gram block that emitted a fresh aroma.
For the review, we checked the taste and texture in the raw and cooked stage. In both stages, the texture was smooth yet firm. It tasted very fresh during the pre-cooking stage. Once cooked, we noticed how well it had absorbed the flavors and retained the shape.
‘Restaurant-like’ is what we said after taking the first bite of the pasta we ordered from Donna Pastaia. For our review, we ordered Conchiglie and Fettuccine (eggless)
The first variant was cooked al-dente and showed absolutely no stickiness and the PERFECT bite. Our preparation was rather simple (only four ingredients) but the result was ‘chef’s kiss’. Easy to cook, very difficult to share, the Fettuccine was marvelous. We prepared this pasta in a creamy white sauce. We were delightfully surprised when we noticed how well the Fettuccine ribbons took on the flavors and simultaneously retained the ‘bite’.
Must-Have Appliances And Cookware
Amazon Solimo Stainless Steel Saucepan
This is a triply saucepan with a layer of aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel. We prepared kadha, tea, coffee, instant soup, noodles, and popcorn to check the versatility of this cookware. It comes with a lid that does get hot but the handle remains cool to touch.
Another aspect we liked is that the base is compatible with both, a gas stove and induction cooktop. Although this is a dishwasher-safe saucepan, we washed it manually. The stains come off fairly easily.
AmazonBasics Induction Cooktop
Pre-programmed with six cooking options and eight-stage power settings, this induction cooktop by AmazonBasics effortlessly made it to our list of must-haves! These pre-set options include heating milk, deep frying, idli (steaming), curry, dosa/chapati, and pressure cook, making this a great fit for Indian cooking.
Lightweight and economical, after reviewing this for over six weeks, we appreciate how this induction cooktop does not darken the base of cookware and how well the pre-set features work.
Dishwashers are looked down on as they require relatively more water than doing the dishes manually. Well, not this Bosch dishwasher! This uses 10 L that is almost 1/6th of what you’d need regularly. Another delightful surprise was how quiet the machine is!
Ideal for a family of 4-5 members, this freestanding dishwasher has a stainless steel exterior and a plastic tub that ensures no cracked or broken cutlery. There’s also a Vario speed feature for a smaller load of dishes. In addition to these, the efficient removal of tough stains had us sold!
Hawkins Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
We reviewed both the 3 L pressure cookers, wide and tall, by Hawkins. Ideal for mid-sized families, these pressure cookers are equipped with inner lids that are quite easy to operate/fit. In addition to a sharp functioning whistle, a cookbook with 32 tested recipes lists the ratios for cooking staples like dal, rice, boiling veggies which further ensures faster cooking. The cleaning process isn’t tiresome.
PS- ONLY the wide pressure cooker is dishwasher-safe (except the lid).
Kent Instant Egg Boiler
Seven boiled eggs in a go, Kent Instant Egg boiler is made of stainless steel. All essential accessories like the measuring cup, steaming plate, egg tray, lid, and needle are included in the set.
In addition, it has an auto shut-off feature that delivers on the promised claim. Easy to operate, clean, and store, this lightweight egg boiler offers three levels of doneness. As it shuts off once all water evaporates.
Solimo Non-Stick Fry Pan
Sauteeing to grilling and everything in between, the non-stick coating of this frying pan is commendable! This pan features a two-way non-stick coating and has bakelite riveted handles. This ensures a sturdy grip that is cool to touch.
Budget and beginner-friendly, this pan is compatible with an induction and gas stove. So if you’re looking for ways to prepare meals with less fat (oil/butter) while SIMULTANEOUSLY ensuring they’re cooked effortlessly, this non-stick pan is a must-have!
Ganesh Vegetable Chopper
This manual chopper has a 725 ml capacity and functions on pulling the cord. The stainless steel blades are strategically placed and offer as many as 350 knife cuts in 20 seconds. They are sharp enough to chop nuts too! The 12-inch long cord guarantees a convenient chopping session and has an overall smooth functioning.
Unrelated, but we appreciate the carton that it comes in is recyclable!
Prestige Svachh Clip On Cooker
This 5 L clip-on pressure cooker is the answer to all our dreams. (This is not an exaggeration!) Relatively quieter and exceptionally easy to clean, this pressure cooker delivers well on the claims it makes. This dual-handled pressure cooker has a glass lid with a knob.
Gas stove, induction cooktop, kerosene stove, electric hot plate, ceramic and halogen cook top- this multipurpose cooker is compatible with a variety of heat sources.
Havells Vetro Digi Electric Kettle
Havells Electric Kettle has a 1.7 L capacity. Equipped with a unique manual temperature control, this electric kettle features a color-changing function that indicates the temperature range.
In addition to manual temperature control, this also has a stay-warm function. The overall functioning is pretty smooth, all features work at the touch of a button. The detachable base enhances ease of use.
Philips Hand Blender
The Philips Hand Blender comes with two attachments that make it an all-rounder kitchen appliance. There’s a beaker, a chopper, and a regular hand blender attachment. Working at the push of a button, this hand blender is beginner-friendly.
Although you cannot adjust the speed/power as required, this hand blender is fit for everyday culinary uses, from chopping to pureeing. It consumes a power of 250 watts and is a decently economic option. Even better, we liked how easily and securely the handle fits the attachments.
AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Wok
Full marks, A-grade, 100%- as we’ve said, this cast iron wok is easily one of the best purchases of 2021. It is a pre-seasoned pan with a commendable design. The sturdy handles, the large capacity, concave walls, and a flat base- all work towards simplifying your cooking experience.
Compatible with almost all commonly-used heat sources, we used this over a stove cooktop and an electric induction cooktop. Whether it is veggies with some water content or it is a serving of pad thai noodles, this pre-seasoned wok has a well-functioning surface that barely gets food sticking to it. Since no bits and pieces get stuck, cleaning becomes super easy.
Ador Low Carb Biscuits
Labeled ‘healthy’ and ‘vegan’, these low-carb biscuits are anything but that. They contain palm oil which isn’t the most nutritious fat source. As butter is derived from cow milk, the vegan tag is incorrect too. You get around 16 pieces in a jar, priced close to Rs 200.
This would’ve been worth the splurge if these biscuits were genuinely edible. Instead, the brand seems to have combined a whole lot of ‘healthy’ ingredients only for a negative outcome.
Kellogg’s K-energy Bars
During our review of the three Kellogg’s K-energy bars, we gauged them across parameters like quality, calories, macro distribution, in addition to taste and texture. Better, nutrient-dense ingredients (specifically fats) could have been used.
Despite being decently tasty, these energy bars are loaded with extremely high amounts of sugar. The protein and fiber content are quite average too.
Bambino Haldi Doodh
Unfortunately, our experience with Bambino Haldi Doodh Ashwagandha was simply disappointing. Convenience is the only thing these single-serve sachets offer.
Unfortunately, taste and health benefits seem to have taken a back seat, for which haldi doodh is essentially consumed. Surprisingly, the concoction resembled the taste of a mango milkshake. The turmeric, black pepper, and ashwagandha flavors and warmth were barely there.
Pigeon Knife Set
‘All talk no action’ is what best describes our experience with Pigeon’s six-piece knife set. Priced at Rs 695, the only components that were decent enough were the paring and boning knives.
Unfortunately, the pair of scissors, steak, and utility knives had super blunt blades that slowed down the entire preparation/cooking process. Even the wooden stand it comes with fails to have a sturdy base.
Amul Veggie Stix
In our pack of Amul Veggie stix, we barely found even one intact. As we always say, appearance is as significant as taste, if not more, this was an inconvenience. On deep frying the whole sticks, some of them cracked in the center and the oil seeped right till the core.
Neither were the veggies and stuffing fresh nor were they delectable. The one factor we relatively liked was the exterior crunch.
Vahdam Cinnamon Chai mix
Too many cooks spoil the broth? More like spoil the tea. Despite having an impressive ingredient list, this instant tea mix disappointed on most aspects.
Be it the taste or consistency or even how refreshing it feels, they were all very average. It is flavored with ashwagandha and cinnamon. But the result does not do justice to the warmth/heat, neither do the flavors blend well.
Haldiram Vegetable Biryani
When all an instant food product offers is convenience and no taste, we recommend skipping it. Haldiram’s Cup Shup Instant Vegetable Biryani gets a big no from our Team.
Despite having a generous quantity of dehydrated vegetables, the flavors and texture of this ‘instant’ biryani were awful. Biryani is typically prepared with a blend of spices and herbs and with this cup, no flavor dominantly stands out.
Visually, the biryani looked unappetizing too.
Some we gave the green light to and added to our personal pantries, others were big no-nos. From this ultimate list of best and worst products from the kitchen and dining space, we are sure to take many with us in 2022.
What about you, did you come across any indispensable, can’t-do-without products this year?