I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before. During the Vietnam war my father was a civilian working in Thailand for the defense department. I was a little, little kid but I do have many vivid memories of the experience and look back fondly being able to live in a foreign place like Thailand before jet travel has made it so easy to travel anywhere in the world. One memory I had was flying on a 707 from San Francisco to Bangkok, but in those days the planes couldn’t make it across the ocean without stopping in Hawaii. I remember getting waffles with strawberries for breakfast after we took off. We flew Pan Am… it was all so retro… We had Thai maids when we were living there and they took care of us kids with the help of my mother. Can you imagine being a stay at home mother and having a maid that also cooked your meals? It was a little luxurious to say the least. Living there so early in life gave our family a flavor for Thai food early on in life. As I’ve mentioned many times here I am an Asian food freak (well I am an equal opportunity foodie!) and will eat just about anything remotely Asian put in front of me.
When I saw the Trader Joe’s Thai Shrimp Fried Rice show up in the freezer section recently, I just had to grab a bag! This is a product of Thailand. I usually like it more when food items like this are made close to the source of the original recipe. I usually makes for a more authentic meal.
As is typical with these freezer fried rice recipes, you have two options to prepare this, microwave or skillet. For some of the other fried rices I think it’s a tossup in terms of flavors whether you prepare it in the microwave or the skillet. This one on the other needs to be done in the skillet IMHO. The reason why is that unlike other frozen Fried rice, this one comes with a separate bag of shrimp. The shrimp has been marinated and covered in a delicious Thai flavored coating that begs to be sauteed before it’s integrated with the rest of the rice.
One word of warning, this is a step up on the heat scale from their normal hot foods. The Thai’s didn’t hold back on this one! I eat a fair amount of Thai food in my little town east of Seattle. I think we have 3 Thai restaurants in a town of about 10,000. I’ve had all different levels of quality of Thai food and I have to say this fried rice is right up there with some of the better ones. I loved the lime leaves and the tiny little hot peppers. Lots of fresh, bold flavors. My wife walked in when I was cooking it and she said it smelled just like a Thai restaurant! The only problem was that the rice had formed these clumps and cooking them was hard to thaw them out. I put the lid on the skillet to get the heat to penetrate those clumps to make them easier to break up but it took several more minutes to prepare.
It says on the package that there is 4 servings, but really it’s barely two. If you are going to split this, you’ll need to add something else to complete it. Maybe some dumplings or spring rolls. You are going to need a beer or something to wash down the heat. Something light, like Josephbrau Pilsner or a nice Pinot Grigio.
I really liked this Thai Shrimp Fried Rice. I thought it was pretty authentic and easy to make. Only issue with it could be the heat for some and the lumps of rice that don’t effect flavor but made it harder to make. With those issues, I am going to give this 8 hot and spicy bells!