Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Chicken Mochi Balls Review – Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you I am a freak for Asian foods and my all time favorite food growing up was Kung Pao chicken. I could never make it as good as the Chinese restaurants that I had around me. It was always a pale comparison, but I kept on trying. It wasn’t until Serious Eats published a couple of recipes about how to make it that I finally felt I could nail it down to the same level of Yum that I got from Chinese American takeout. I make it all the time now. But I do have to admit that when I am in a rush, I still like to make the Trader Joe’s frozen Kung Pao Chicken from the bag. I think they really nailed down the flavors.
Of course I was going to buy this when I saw it. I love these odd, crazy ideas they come up with. Why not mash Mochi balls with kung pao chicken? It would make a great party snack to pass around. Get a few boxes of this and some dipping sauces and you have instant finger foods. Or you can serve these on the side of another dish.
If you didn’t know, Mochi is actually a Japanese invention. It’s rice flour with some sugar (you can definitely taste the sweetness in the mochi on these Kung Pao Chicken Mochi). In a weird mashup of traditional Japanese and Chinese recipes, you get this odd creature. You get eight of these golf ball sized mochi in the box. I would not make these in a microwave oven unless you want a mushy mess.
I baked mine at the proper temperature and time and they got a nice golden, brownish color on the outside of the mochi balls. But looks are deceiving. Be very careful for these things to cool off before you pop one in your mouth. (Don’t ask me how I know this) Otherwise, you will probably end up with 3rd-degree burns. They actually take quite a while to cool down inside.
Once these things are cool, I would take a bite out of one and see if you like it. It’s like a miniature version of kung pao chicken in every mochi. Tiny pieces of meat and vegetables with a spicy kung pao sauce all wrapped in a slightly sweet mochi ball.
I agree with the Trader Joe’s website, you should have something to dip these in, either a sweet chili sauce or some soy sauce. I wasn’t too fond of the sweet mochi outside, but quite liked the inside. If I was trying to make these, I would do a more traditional Chinese dumpling or Bao. While I like them, they were not my favorite thing. I am only going to rate these 7 Bells.
RICE FLOUR, WATER, COOKED CHICKEN CRUMBLES (CHICKEN, WHITE RICE FLOUR, SEA SALT, GRANULATED GARLIC, GRANULATED ONION), SUGAR, WHEAT STARCH, CABBAGE, PALM OIL, RED BELL PEPPERS, WATER CHESTNUTS, CELERY, GREEN ONIONS, SOYBEAN OIL, RICE COOKING WINE (RICE WINE [RICE, WATER], SALT), GARLIC PUREE, GINGER PUREE (GINGER, WATER), CORNSTARCH, BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, CORNSTARCH, SODIUM BICARBONATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SOY SAUCE POWDER (SOY SAUCE [SOYBEANS, SALT, SUGAR], MALTODEXTRIN, SALT), CHILI OIL (CANOLA OIL, CHILI EXTRACT), SEA SALT, SPICES.
CONTAINS SOY, WHEAT.
About 2.5 servings per container | Serving size 3 pieces (99g) | Amount per serving: Calories 270
Total Fat 11g (14% DV), Saturated Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 320mg (14% DV), Total Carbohydrate 39g (14% DV), Dietary Fiber less than 1g (3% DV), Total Sugars 7g—Includes 7g Added Sugars (14% DV), Protein 5g, Vitamin D (0% DV), Calcium (0% DV), Iron (0% DV), Potassium (2% DV).
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.