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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Trader Joe's Vegan Thai Green Curry

Well here's something I definitely can't heat in the air fryer. Looks like a tasty, convenient, work-friendly microwave meal, and fortunately, I have a hankerin' for some Thai today. Let's dive in.

Like I mentioned, this is a microwavable meal. No other heating options are given. And for the second time in a row, I'm looking at a product that took LESS time to heat than was suggested on the packaging. The instructions say to heat for 3 minutes, then stir, and then heat for 2-3 more minutes. At about the 5 minute mark, the product began to boil over the side of the tray and onto the microwave carousel lazy Susan thing. Our microwave is filthy at the moment. Will the wife even notice if I leave a few little pools of green curry in there?

The tray easily bends in the middle in case you want to try to simply fold the curry compartment onto the rice compartment. I was wary of spillage, so I mostly just flicked the curry over with my fork. Or you could be fancy and put the whole thing in an Asian-style bowl, of course.

It's a tasty product, for sure. If there's any difference between the curry they used here and the epic Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce, neither Sonia nor I could detect it, flavor-wise, although I think this curry was a tad thinner in texture.

Swimming around in the curry were carrots, eggplant chunks, and tofu sheets. The tofu "sheets" are more like wads of tofu by the time they're heated, transferred to the rice, and scooped up by a fork or spoon. I've never tried tofu in this format before. It yields a less chewy texture by virtue of its thinness. I'm fine with it this way, while Sonia prefers tofu cubes. The veggies weren't chewy or rubbery or anything, so we were good with those, too.

99% of the flavor of this dish is coming from the curry. That's not a bad thing, because it's an outstanding complex, coconutty, salty, spicy, savory flavor. At $3.99 for the single serving, Sonia thinks it would be much wiser to grab a jar of the curry itself for half the price, heat up your own rice, and mix in whatever veggies or additions you choose. You're absolutely paying for the convenience factor here. Guess we can't punish it too harshly for that since that's apparently what TJ's is going for. You'll find it in the frozen section. Vegan.

So...something like three and a half stars a piece on this product.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Trader Joe's Green & Red Hatch Chile Flakes


Hatch chiles. So hot right now. 

Well...not precisely, actually. 

See, there's the new Trader Joe's Green & Red Hatch Chile Flakes. So yeah, there's likely a small buzz about the peppers of the Gods on TJ's related social media and little bloggies like ours. Not a bad thing at all. 

But, well, if you're not overly familiar with hatch chiles, first of all, they're not in season right now - their heyday seems to be late summer/early fall AKA pumpkin spice season - and second, well, hatch chiles aren't really all that hot or spicy. 

Hatch chiles deliver more on a sweet/smoky/little touch of heat level, in ways I've never directly experienced but have had others describe as absolutely transcendent. I'm not getting that out of the shaker here. Sweet, mild, little smoke, a little heat? Sure, and a welcome change up from the usual crushed red pepper flakes. Out of body/out of world experience? Nah. Maybe save that for the Hatch Harvest festivities that go on at peak season from what I hear. 

Use them as you'd use any pepper sprinkle - eggs, pizza, soup, salad, veggies, meat, anything that could use a little oomph - and it's nice for TJ's to offer a versatile condiment that help convey at least a fraction of the whole hatch experience. I'm not in love but I certainly won't mind getting these on the regular when available. Tasty flakes. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Green & Red Hatch Chile Flakes: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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