Monday, February 21, 2011
Trader Ming's Szechuan Style Spicy Beef & Broccoli
When it comes to cheap Chinese food, for some reason orange chicken is the only dish that people can routinely get right. The orange chicken at Dollar Chinese was indeed palatable. However, if you chose anything else, it was generally understood you were taking your life into your own hands. The next-safest entree was considered to be broccoli-beef. At Dollar Chinese, for me anyway, it was a little too daring...I only tried it once and learned my lesson fast.
At a place like Panda Express, they can make a decent broccoli-beef, but I still think their orange chicken will beat it every time.
All that to say, I haven't had many broccoli-beef dishes in my day, and the ones I have had probably weren't the greatest representations of the dish, but I must say that Trader Joe's Beef & Broccoli is most definitely the best I have had so far. The sauce was amazing, spicy, and tangy. (Sonia actually thought the sauce was a bit too tangy). There were plenty of big, healthy pieces of broccoli, and overall, I was pleased with the beef. There were just a few pieces that were way too big. These huge, monstrous beef chunks wound up slightly unevenly cooked. But I'm probably nit-picking again. In general, the beef was crispy and well-done. I don't recall the other broccoli-beef dishes I've tried containing breaded beef, but TJ's brand was covered in a sort of thin batter not unlike the coating on the orange-chicken. I liked it, though.
We served it with Trader Joe's Brown Rice, which is always good, by the way. Sonia gives the dish a 4.5 out of 5. I give it 4.5 out of 5, as well. Bottom line: 9 out of 10.