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Drytech REAL Turmat Meals Update

REAL Turmat Taco Bowl and (Vegan) Asian Curry [© Bob Morrison]

It is now a little over four years since I reviewed REAL Turmat freeze-dried meals from Drytech of Norway so a brief update is probably due, writes Bob Morrison.


Drytech freeze-dried foods form the core of Norwegian military Arctic Field Ration packs, as regular readers of this section will know, but the company also internationally distributes quite a wide range of individual meal pouches aimed at the civilian expedition and outdoors market. These brightly coloured civvy meal pouches carry the REAL Turmat (roughly translates as Tripfood) brand name and the range is constantly expanding.

Ingredients and nutritional information in eight languages are printed on the rear of each pouch [©BM]

Increasingly the hiking / trekking / camping scene, as we have noticed over many years of attending the UK’s Outdoor Trade Show, is becoming even more environmentally conscious (as seen by the number of big companies now actively promoting the amount recycled materials used in their products) and while a couple of decades ago vegetarians were very much in the minority these days ‘veggies’ and more latterly vegans simply have to be catered for if a company wants to progress. Personally, I was born an omnivore and don’t intend changing at my time of life, plus I am always a little wary of eating scientifically modified ‘stuff’ produced to mimic natural foods which human beings have survived on for millennia (e.g. ale and pies or wine with olives, peppers and sardines) but each to his own. Of the latest two additions to the REAL Turmat range, the TACOGRYTE meal caters for meat-eaters like myself and the ASIAN CURRY is aimed at vegans but of course can also be eaten by vegetarians and omnivores; I sampled both.

REAL Turmat freeze-dried contents are quite chunky rather than powdery [©BM]

The 111g net weight REAL Turmat TACOGRYTE, or TACO BOWL, pouch requires 310ml (3.1dl) of warm (70-100°C) water to reconstitute and after mixing and standing for eight minutes it should produce 528kcal. Primary ingredients are: 60% taco meat – beef and potato starch with spices; 21% bell peppers; 15% tomatoes; 13% beans; plus onions and corn.

The Taco Bowl is a Mexican-style beef and bean chilli ~ only 310mm of water was recommended for this dish [©BM]

The 115g net weight ASIAN CURRY pouch requires requires 370ml (3.7dl) of warm (70-100°C) water to reconstitute and after mixing and standing for eight minutes it should produce 537kcal. Primary ingredients are: 58% rice with pea protein concentrate; 12% rapeseed oil, spices, sugar and tomato powder; 6.3% coconut milk and soy; 5.6% tomato and bell pepper; and 5.6% aubergine.

The Asian Curry is one of the REAL Turmat vegan options ~ adding the recommended 370ml of water resulted in a watery dish [©BM]

Both vacuum-sealed pouches, which form a bowl when opened, have a ziplock seal (tear off top to open pouch) and a fill line is clearly marked on the outside face, though there is no internal fill line or marker; I always use a measuring jug when reviewing to ensure I add the correct amount of water recommended. There are nicks on each side of the pouch to allow the top to be easily torn off and the height of to be reduced for eating. Ingredients and nutritional info, in eight languages, are printed on the reverse face. Shelf life is five years, but if properly stored these meals could last much longer as survival meals.

Pouch bases open out to give a bowl shape [©BM]

When Mike Gormley recently reviewed a Drytech Arctic Field Ration pack he was not particularly impressed overall with what is specified as a 1300kcal meal pack for a soldier serving in Arctic conditions, but he did say of the REAL Field Meal (Creamy Salmon and Pasta) that it “smelled good and really tasted good and once rehydrated … was very tasty”. My opinion of both the TACO GRYTE and ASIAN CURRY, the latter being more Thai than Indian style, was that they also smelled good and were really tasty. However, the texture of the pea protein concentrate in the curry struck me as being rather rubbery and this dish was a bit too watery for me even though I added the correct amount of water. I would be happy to eat either again, though if given a choice I would definitely opt for the Taco Bowl.

Top third of pouch can be torn down after reconstituting for easier spooning [©BM]

[images © Bob Morrison]


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