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Over the last couple of years it would be fair to say that my cooking ability has come on in leaps and bounds. Yet no matter how much better I seem to get in the kitchen I never seem to be able to get rice right. We've bought ourselves a rice cooker and still I can never get it just right. So when I spotted Uncle Ben's Express Rice for sale in Sainsbury's a couple of weeks ago I decided that it might be worth trying. They are on offer at the moment in most of the major supermarkets at £3 for 3 rather than the regular price of £1.54.
Rather than buying Uncle Ben's Express for dinner though I quite fancied trying the Thai Sweet Chilli for my lunch the next day. The reason for this is simply because of how quick and easy they are to prepare. The rice comes in an orange microwave safe bowl with a bowl of rice on the front and something eluding to the flavour hanging above the bowl. The front of the back declares that it's ready to be eaten in just 2 minutes and it really is that simple.
There are two ways to prepare your rice. The first being slightly longer and more drawn out in that you need to boil 30ml of water and then cook the rice for 3 minutes in the boiling water. I went for the simpler way however which involves tearing a 2cm gap in the top of the bag and then putting it into a microwave for 2 minutes for a 700w microwave (more or less depending on the power of your Microwave. It's important to remember to squeeze the bag before you place it in the microwave as this ensure you don't end up with one or two big lumps of rice.
Once the timer has sounded and you withdraw the bag from the microwave you can instantly smell the sweet aroma of the Thai Sweet Chilli. I've always liked Thai sweet Chilli dips and as I'd never tried Uncle Ben's before I wasn't sure how this would live up to other Thai Sweet Chilli flavours but on first smell it was just as good. Opening the rest of the bag you pour the rice onto a plate. This serving is big enough for 2 if you are having something else with it, but the 250g portion is pretty much the perfect size to have for lunch.
The most important aspect though was going to be the taste test. As I've already mentioned I always seem to fail when it comes to cooking rice but what lay before me in my bowl appeared to be perfectly cooked. The rice itself had totally infused with the Thai Sweet Chilli and you could see that as well as the little red pieces of chilli every grain of rice had absorbed the flavouring. Now that it was in the bowl the aroma was a little stronger, it had a spicy fragrance to it and it certainly had that moorish taste of Thai Sweet Chilli.
Of course the most important aspect was going to be the taste test. The rice looked perfect and upon first taste you can tell pretty quickly that it tastes as it should. It doesn't have that pre-packed taste you expect with products of this type. The Thai Sweet Chilli flavouring has a very nice, slightly spicy taste that slightly warms the inside of your mouth. It quickly fades as you swallow and you are left with a very pleasant after taste which feels a little spicy but not overly so. They have managed to create nice tasting rice that has a flavour to rival any of the Thai Sweet Chilli sauces and dips I've had over the years.
This is the first time I'd tried any of the Uncle Ben products but I have to say I was very impressed. To think I can have delicious tasting rice in just 2 minutes without all the messing around and soggy lumps I end up with when I cook its certainly much easier and far tastier. The main advantage though is that these are perfect for lunch and are far better than the alternatives such as Pot Noodles and Super Noodles for quick lunch time snacks. With a decent taste and easy preparation Uncle Ben's Express Rice is by far and away the easiest way to cook rice.
Nutritional Values per 250g
69.6g Carbs (of which sugars 2.5g)
4.6g fat (of which saturates 0.4g)
I recently started college full time and I work part time, so for me cooking from scratch has become a thing of the past. I'd gotten very tired of fast food and was looking for something as close to a home cooked meal that I could get when I found out about Uncle Bens Express Thai Sweet Chilli Rice. I think this is heaven sent when you get home from the office and you're starving and don't want to have to wait too long to have a hot meal.
Uncle Ben's Thai Sweet Chilli Rice is a delicious sweet and spicy rice, which is ideal when put together with dishes with a Thai influence. There are no artificial colours, flavour or preservatives and is suitable for vegetarians, according to the labelling, so its a healthy choice. The packet holds 250g of rice, and states its enough for 2 persons, but I can normally eat a packet by myself, and I'm not a big eater.
Cooked Long Grain Rice (84%), Vegetables (Onion, Red Pepper, Sweetcorn, Peas) (11%), Vegetable Bouillon (Contains Celery), Vegetable Oil, Salt, Spices, Garlic Powder
This is the best part. All you have to do to get this ready is make a small 2cm/1inch tear on the bag, which they have outlined and pop the bag into the microwave for ....just TWO minutes!!!!!! That's as long as it will take you to pour yourself a drink! No dishes needed, no need to use the cooker.
Uncle Bens range also include: Basmati & Thai Express Rice, Thai Curry Express Rice, Long Grain And Wild, Wholegrain, Special Fried, Savoury Chicken, Long Grain, Egg Fried, Golden Vegetable, Tomato and Basil (My favourite) Spicy Mexican Rice, Wholegrain Rice with Mediterranean Vegetables and lots more!
I think this is a fantastic, time saving product, and very good value for money.
I'm going to confess that I can't cook rice. Every time I try it ends up stuck together in one burnt clump. So the packet rice that cooks in 2 minutes or less is heaven sent for me. Plus the added bonus is that they come in plain or various flavours. The Thai Sweet Chilli Rice is one of my favourites.
The rice is currently on offer at Tescos at 3 for £3.75. It is normally around the £1.50 price, making it not the best value rice, but i think the best value rice in terms of convenience.
The rice comes in a 250g bright orange pouch. Each pouch contains 2 servings of rice. The beauty of this product is that you cook the rice in the pouch and then serve, so no scrubbing away at pots (or if you're like me, no throwing away pots as you can't get off the burnt rice).
All you have to do is tear a small opening at the top of the pouch (and there is a readymade tear point so this is incredibly easy), pop it in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes. If you do not have a microwave, you can also cook it by adding the contents to 30mL of boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes. It couldn't be simpler.
Perfectly cooked every time. Certainly not mushy and not crunchy either. It can get a little stuck together, but is easily separated by a fork. Or just squeeze the pouch prior to cooking to separate it. The thai sweet chilli flavour is very nice. It is slightly spicy, flavourful and definitely not overly sweet.
Main ingredients are Basmati rice (90%), red peppers, sugar, sunflower oil, chilli paste, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, salt, fish sauce and spices. The packaging claims no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Unfortunately this rice is not suitable for vegetarians (due to the fish), gluten intolerant people, or people with fish allergies.
This is pretty healthy. Rice in general is good for you and all this adds is a bit of flavouring which does not add much to the nutritional profile. Only thing to be careful of is that it contains almost 20% of your daily salt guidelines.
Per serving, 125g which is half a packet - 174 kcal, 3.4g protein, 35g carbohydrate of which 2.4g is sugar, 2.3g of fat of which 0.3g is saturated fat, 0.6g fibre and 0.46g of sodium equivalent to 1.17g of salt.
I will never go back to traditionally cooked rice. This express rice is ready in 2 minutes, and has a fantastic slightly spicy flavour. I know the package says it serves 2, but I tend to heat up a whole one for a quick, tasty and extremely convenient lunch. The Thai Sweet Chilli flavour means you don't have to add anything else to it as it is lovely on its own.
With me being not much of a cook, in fact I would go as far as saying im rubbish. I can turn the cooker on and follow instructions is about the best I can do. I like to make Uncle bens rice as it's a straight forward microwave job and really simple. This rice can be done and ready to eat in 2 minutes which is great if you don't have much time or cant be bothered.
Uncle Bens Thai sweet chilli rice is like all the other Uncle Bens rice and comes in a bright orange package so you cant really miss it. All the ingredients are clearly marked on the back and simple instructions on how to make the rice. Uncle bens rice comes in a variety of flavours so you aren't stuck for choice.
I think for the price though Uncle bens can tend to be dear costing up to £1.60 in some supermarkets but this might be down to rice in general taking a hike in prices.
The rice is simple to make even for a novice like me. Simply squeeze and crunch the packet so the rice is separated, rip the top off it and pop in the microwave for a couple of minutes. I have found that we can generally serve 2 people with one packet of this rice.
As in regards to the taste of Thai sweet chilli, for me I thought it was slightly tasteless and wasn't really spicy at all. I was expecting something with a bit more kick to it to be honest. Although for the time it took to make it was ok but I have tried other flavours in the past and they are preferred instead of Thai sweet chilli.
I don't know about you, but I still find it hard to cook perfect rice. If it's not stuck together, then it's burnt to the bottom of the pan! As a family we eat quite a bit of rice, so I am always on the look out for ideas and fool proof recipes.
I am not usually a 'packet girl', preferring to cook from scratch, but on a visit to my local super market I saw Uncle Bens Express Rice on offer, so thought it may be worth a try. If nothing else it would be a great standby for my teenage sons, if they needed some food fast.
There is a wide variety of flavours of Express Rice. This review is for the Thai Sweet Chilli Rice. It is steamed Basmati rice that has been cooked with traditional Thai ingredients, which include chilli, ginger, garlic and fish sauce.
~Who is Uncle Ben?~
Uncle Ben is the bow-tied black figure smiling from the corner of the packet. Apparently this image originated in about 1943 and is a mythical African-American rice farmer. Uncle Ben is a brand name for rice and related food products. The company is owned by Mars inc. in the USA. It is produced by the Masterfoods arm of the company. I tried to search for some information about the company in the UK, but I kept being sent to the Whiskas web site?!! Do cats eat rice?
The 250g of rice is packaged in a bright orange pouch, that stands up on its' base.' Uncle Ben's Express' clearly labelled at the top. There is a picture of an oriental style bowl of perfect looking rice, topped with a couple of chillies. A small symbol tells the purchaser that this product is microwavable in 2 minutes. Also a large green tick tells you that there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
The back of the pack contains all the usual lists of ingredients and cooking instructions. Not only are these written for you, but there are clear pictorial messages, just in case you don't understand!
Nutritional Values per 125g ....
34.8g Carbs (of which sugars 2.5g)
2.3g fat (of which saturates 0.4g)
You can choose whether you want to microwave the rice in its pouch or cook in a pan. This is a no brainer really (unless you don't have a microwave!) why create washing up, when you can just put the pouch in the microwave.
To Microwave - all you do is squeeze the pouch to separate the rice, tear a 2cm vent (all clearly marked on the packet) and whack it in the microwave on full power for 2 minutes. It's really that simple!
To cook in a pan you have to bring 30ml of water to the boil, add the contents of the pouch, cover and simmer for about 3 mins. You then fluff the rice with a fork and serve. This seems easy too, but I have only cooked this in the microwave, for fear of burning another pan.
~The taste Test~
After hearing the ping of my microwave I took out the pouch ( watch out for steam escaping from the vents in the pouch). I tore open the packet and tipped the rice into a bowl. There was a pleasant, spicy aroma, but the rice was stuck together in two lumps, so I used my fork to 'fluff' the rice. It separated with ease, each grain sitting separately from the next - no big blobs of congealed rice!
The sweet chilli rice has a lovely mild flavour with a little kick. The rice is a perfect texture and doesn't taste pre-packaged at all. I served this with a vegetable stir fry and I enjoyed every mouthful. As I am currently doing 'Slimming world' I have found this a really easy way of taking lunch to work when having a green day (don't worry if you have no idea what I'm talking about!). It is only 1 syn for a 125g serving or 2 syns for the whole lot. I like the flavour so much, that I can eat a bowl onit's own with nothing extra.
The price of rice has soared in recent months and this is certainly not a cheap way of buying it, but it is most definitely convenient. The packets seem to retail at about £1.66 , but I only buy them when they are on offer. At the moment Tesco's are offering any 3 Express Rice for £3.75
As Uncle Ben says - Perfect every time!
Thanks for reading. :o)