Trader Joe’s Shrimp Fried Rice Review
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 was growing up, we had the opportunity to live in Thailand. I was just a little kid, maybe in 1st grade when we moved there and we only lived there for a couple of years. My father was working at the American Embassy there.
I had such vivid memories of the food later in life. Whenever I would walk into an Asian market in the USA, it would bring back a flood of memories. My parents were both avid cooks and thankfully would make Thai food that they learned when we lived there. Fried Rice was always one of my favorites.
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. It usually makes for a more authentic meal. I think the Thai’s are producing some very good frozen foods right now and are relatively easy to find at regular grocery stores.
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 that Trader Joe’s carries, 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 chefs 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.
This fried rice was the most delicious and perfect flavor out of all of Trader Joe’s selections. The basil tasted fresh and flavored the rice perfectly. The rice, itself, was moistly tender and fragrantly spiced with hints of lemongrass and coconut milk.
Each bag also included a generous portion of shrimp, which came out juicy and plump, and unlike most frozen seafood, exuded absolutely no fishy, stale after-taste.
With a minimal amount of work, I could feast on a fragrant, steaming bowl of Thai fried rice, which would be the closest thing to actually ordering off the menu at a restaurant. Bravo, Trader Joe’s! You nailed it…can’t figure out why anyone would give this dish negative reviews. I will be making a special trip to my local store to stock up and hoard as if for an upcoming apocalypse.
It says on the package that there are 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 affect the flavor but made it harder to make. With those issues,
I am going to give this 8 hot and spicy bells!
INGREDIENTS: RICE, SHRIMP (SHRIMP, SALT), PALM OIL, BABY CORN, ONION, GARLIC, BASIL LEAF, GREEN PEAS, SOY SAUCE (WATER, SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT, ALCOHOL, SUGAR, ACETATE, LACTIC ACID), CARROT, GINGER, RED THAI CHILI, SESAME OIL, GREEN ONION, VEGETABLE POWDER (ONION, CABBAGE, CARROT, SPRING ONION, MALTODEXTRIN, SALT), FRIED GARLIC, SALT, SUGAR, WHITE PEPPER, THAI LIME LEAF, MIRIN (GLUCOSE SYRUP, WATER, ALCOHOL, RICE, CORN SYRUP), RICE POWDER, SESAME SEEDS, ONION POWDER, GARLIC POWDER, XANTHAN GUM. CONTAINS SHRIMP, SOY, AND WHEAT.