Saturday, March 16, 2013

Aldi Chinese Food - aka meal starter: Fusia Asian Inspirations Crispy Sweet and Spicy CHicken

I rarely eat microwave meals and always want to add items, especially fresh vegetables to ready to eat meals that I pick up in the grocery store. This week, I picked up the Crispy Sweet and Spicy Chicken from Aldi's line of Fusia Asian Inspirations. I was intrigued by the name, Sweet and Spicy. Before preparing the meal, I tasted the sauce that came in a separate package and the name is well chosen, the sauce is very spicy. That gave me the idea to turn this into a meal starter rather than a meal per package instructions.

The package contains a sauce package that needs to be thawed under hot water. At the same time, you add the remaining contents, frozen, to a wok or skillet coated with a little bit of oil. Truly, you do not need to add much oil. A simple coating of a nonstick pan will do and nothing will burn since you are supposed to stir the contents as you heat them. The contents themselves are crispy chicken, coated in a crispy tempura batter. Also included are a vegetable mix of broccoli, onions, red bell peppers, and carrots. Lastly, there is white rice.

As I was heating the mix, I could definitely smell the onions and saw the broccoli and carrots. The bell peppers were red and so they are only visible until you add the sauce. I could not really taste them in the end when plating the dish. The same was true for the remaining vegetables, the sauce is that spicy. Looking at the ingredients, the sauce is spicy because of chili paste added as well as cayenne pepper. If you like spicy Chinese food, this sauce will not disappoint. But it was so spicy, it actually overpowered the vegetables and reduced the flavor complexity that I am accustomed to when eating freshly prepared Chinese food.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Sweet and Spicy Chicken from Aldi, added extra white rice to stretch serving to 2 cups
Because I had sampled the sauce beforehand, I felt it needed diluting to allow the flavor of the remaining ingredients to come through. I added a layer of white rice to the dish and then added the actual dish on top. This allowed the sauce to cover the remaining rice and brought down the spiciness, allowing me to taste the remaining ingredients a little bit more. Plus, it stretched the portions out a little bit.

Price for the bag was $2.99 and contains three servings of one cup with 300 calories each. That seems like a reasonable meal, but I know that one cup servings will not make a lunch in my household and I doubt that most husbands and teenage boys will settle for one cup either. In my opinion, the package can be used better used as a meal starter. Add some freshly cooked rice, either white or brown, to stretch the contents. Aldi has a very good white rice that can be cooked in parallel to this dish. I would also encourage readers to add additional vegetables or even pineapple pieces. Even though the name of sweet and spicy, the sauce contains pineapple juice and so the flavor is reminiscent of the standard sweet and sour, making additional pineapple a good choice. Believe me, you still will taste the spices from the sauce and there is plenty of flavor left in the dish.

Overall, the dish was good. The chicken was crispy indeed and had good chunks included. The vegetables were good size, but the rice seemed a little bit scarce.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - Fusia Asian Inspiration line of Chinese food from Aldi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

when Aldi's run out, where can i buy?