My whole family loves any type of Oriental food. However, since we can no longer afford to go out and eat very often, we have been experimenting with Oriental cooking on our own. Sometimes the results are good and sometimes they are not.
We have also started dabbling in the pre-packaged Oriental foods often available in the grocer’s freezer section. Our latest foray was into Tai Pei’s Stir Fry Creations for Two. We chose the Szechuan Style Chicken.
The great thing about this frozen meal is that it comes with everything you need to make the dish from start to finish. All you have to supply are the cooking utensils and the work. Tai Pei’s Stir Szechuan Style Chicken Stir Fry Creations for Two comes with a packet of grilled dark chicken, a packet of vegetables (including peppers, onions and green beans), a rice pouch and a spicy sauce that is flavored with soy.
The meal is 24-oz. It represents two servings of 390 calories each. Of that 390 calories, 70 of them are fat-related.
There are 8 grams of fat in Tai Pei’s Stir Szechuan Style Chicken Stir Fry Creations for Two. Of that, 1.5 grams come from saturated fat. The meal contains no trans fat.
The meal also contains a whopping 59 grams of carbohydrate, 11 grams of sugar, 720 milligrams of sodium and 40 milligrams of cholesterol. It is, therefore, not the best choice for individuals who are watching their intake of any or all of those items.
On the flip side, Tail Pei’s Stir Szechuan Style Chicken Stir Fry Creations for Two also provides 18 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. Additionally, it offers 50% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin A; 35% of the needed vitamin C; 10% of the required iron and 4% of the recommended amount of calcium.
Ingredients includes alcohol, brown sugar, canola oil, carrots, cayenne pepper, cooked rice, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, green beans, grilled dark chicken, onions, potato starch, red bell pepper, salt, sesame oil, sherry, soybeans, soy sauce, sugar, tomato paste, unsweetened orange juice concentrate, vinegar, water and wheat. It also includes artificial flavoring, caramel color, lactic acid, other spices and xanthan gum.
Cooking the meal is simple. It can be done on the stovetop or in the microwave.
To fix in the microwave, empty the chicken and vegetable pouches into a casserole dish that is microwaveable. One with a lid works best. If that isn’t available, you can cover the dish with paper towels.
Cover and cook the vegetables and chicken on high heat for about 5 minutes. Then remove them from the microwave and add in the sauce packet. Return to the oven and continue cooking another minute.
Cook the rice packet just as it comes in the pouch. Put in the microwave for 5 minutes. Remove everything and let it stand for at least 1 minute.
Empty the rice onto two plates. Spoon the sauce with chicken and veggies over top. Serve alone or with soy sauce.
To fix on top of the stove, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a skillet and heat to medium high. Then toss the contents of the chicken packet into the skillet. Brown the chicken lightly.
Add in the contents of the vegetable pouch and heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the contents of the sauce mix into the skillet as well. Continue cooking for about 1 minute.
Microwave the rice as noted above. Then combine the two dishes together on two separate plates and serve.
Add extra courses to your meal with Tai Pei Potstickers or Egg Rolls. Better yet, add a salad with wasabi dressing or delicious egg drop soup.
I really liked this meal. It had just the right amount of spice to make it interesting and delicious. Here is my summary review:
Taste: 5 stars. This meal is spicy and delicious. It is also filling.
Freshness: 5 stars. The meal must be kept frozen until you are ready to cook it. It is well sealed in a cellophane bag. It also has a freshness stamped on the tear strip of each bag. That way, both you and the grocery know when the ingredients have passed their freshness date.
Variety: 5 stars. Szechuan Style Chicken is not the only Stir Fry Creation for Two. There is also Beef and Broccoli, Chicken and Noodle Stir Fry, Crispy General Tso’s Chicken, Crispy Orange Chicken, Crispy Sweet & Sour Beef, Crispy Sweet & Sour Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice to choose from. Also available are Tai Pei’s Sweet Chili Potstickers and their Egg Rolls.
Reputation: 5 stars. Tai Pei is building a reputation for good quality frozen meals provided at a reasonable price. The flavor is there along with the fresh ingredients. However, these meals may not be a good choice for individuals who are on a particular type of diet such as low carb, low sugar, or cholesterol free.
Nutrition: 1 star. While Tai Pei’s Stir Szechuan Style Chicken Stir Fry Creations for Two is rich in protein and vitamins, it is also high in carbohydrates, fat and sugar with questionable amounts of sodium and cholesterol. This meal may not be a good choice for many Oriental food lovers.
Green value: 5 stars. The packaging is biodegradable.
Packaging: 5 stars. Tai Pei’s Stir Szechuan Style Chicken Stir Fry Creations for Two comes in a yellow and black package with red trim and black and white lettering. The Tai Pei logo is easily seen across the top of the bag along with identification of Stir Fry Creations for Two. Those are repeated at the bottom of the bag in smaller size. A red banner in the lower one-third quadrant identifies the specific type of meal. A picture of the finished meal is provided to help whet the consumer’s appetite.
Ease of storage: 4 stars. The package is medium in size at about 11″ in height by 6″ in width by 4″ in depth. It stores reasonably well in a free-standing freezer but could become a problem in a simple refrigerator freezer.
Availability: 4 stars. Tai Pei products are not yet widely distributed so it could take some research and time to locate this product. We found ours at the commissary where customers had specifically requested it. Otherwise, it might not have been available.
Price: 5 stars. I consider around $7 a bargain meal for two. That is a mere $3.50 apiece.
Product purchase probability: 5 star. I will definitely buy this meal again.
Final rating: 4.4 stars. The fault here lies with nutrition value and where the product can be found.
5 stars = outstanding
4 stars = good
3 stars = average
2 stars = below average
1 star = poor