*** This item has been renamed to Trader Joe’s Mildly Sweet and Spicy Beef and Broccoli ***
(Not sure why they renamed it but it’s no longer Trader Ming’s which they seem to have dropped that name from all Asian foods and probably for good reason)
I’m a sucker for crappy Chinese food! Don’t get me wrong, I love really good Chinese food, but maybe it was growing up where there was no such thing as the haute cuisine Chinese food you get now. Hell, P.F. Chang and Panada Express were better than the family style Chinese restaurant food I got growing up. But still I’m a sucker for it. I get my fix down at the local grocery store where you can imagine it’s very authentic! (Not!)
I spied this relatively new item in the frozen section a while back and finally had a chance to try it out (when Becky was out of town, she would never eat this stuff). I didn’t have high hopes for this since most of the frozen Chinese food at Trader Joe’s pretty much sucks, but I give them high marks for trying and constantly upping the ante.
So, basically what we have here is an attempt at your standard strip mall Chinese Beef and Broccoli. I have to say it’s a pretty lame attempt. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the way they have to prepare meats before they freeze them but why oh why do they have to deep fry the beef? I don’t think I’ve ever had it that way eating out. I certainly have made my fair share of this type of recipe at home and I’ve never run across deep frying the beef, but there you have it.
So let me step you through the preparation process. So you add some oil to a skillet and saute the already deep fried beef until it thaws out, then add the broccoli and the special sauce. Couldn’t be simpler! Unfortunately the results are pretty crummy. First, as I mentioned the beef is deep fried. Yuck! Then the broccoli, as is the case with most frozen broccoli, gets mushy when heated up like this. Then the sauce was too sweet and spicy. I’m a guy that can take a lot of heat but I thought the heat on this dish was too much!
I’m sure this will be a big hit with the mainstream, just like the crappy Mandarin Orange Chicken I wrote about a while back. There is something basic about sweet, deep fried foods that cater to your basic senses. I would avoid this unless you are a starving college student and don’t have time to cook. This is basically chicken fried steak with some broccoli added in for fiber and then topped with a hot and sweet sauce.
I am going to rate the Trader Joe’s Szechuan Style Spicy Beef and Broccoli a lowly 6 bells!
One package has about six servings. One serving has 230 calories, 8 grams of total fat (10% of your daily value), 2 grams of saturated fat (10% DV), 15 mg of cholesterol (5% DV), 410 mg of sodium (18% DV), 31 grams of total carbohydrates (11% DV), 2 grams of dietary fiber (7% DV), 18 grams of total sugars and 13 grams of added sugars (26% DV), and 8 grams of protein.