“ Brand: Aldi / Type: Chicken „
I rarely eat ready meals as I prefer to cook meals from scratch, but when I am in work until late I occasionally buy myself a ready meal to fill me up, rather than eating a load of rubbish foods to satisfy my hunger. During my weekly food shop at Aldi, I came across Sweet and Sour Chicken steam meal from the 'Simply Bistro' range in the frozen aisle. There are 3 varieties of meals available: Sweet and Sour Chicken (which I am reviewing), Salmon Tagliatelle and Leek and Bacon.
Aldi's 'Simply Bistro' Sweet and Sour Chicken meal contains cooked skinless chicken breast strips with mixed vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce, with cooked basmati rice. Each meal contains 458 calories, 30g of sugar (very high), 1.6g of fat and 3.8g of Salt (very high). Most ready meals are generally high in sugar and salt regardless of the brand, however, as I only eat one of these meals occasionally, it won't harm once in a while, as long as I balance my sugar/salt intake for that day.
The meal costs £1.49 for 400g and comes in a hard plastic tub - similar to an oval ice cream tub. Cooking instruction are on the cardboard sleeve. As expected, the steam fresh meal is frozen and fills around ¼ of the tub. Cooking the meal is simple - all you need is a microwave, so perfect for me when I am in work.
There is no need to stab the plastic film with a knife (unlike the majority of ready meals) as the film lid is perforated, just place the meal in the microwave for the recommended cooking time. When using a 750W microwave, it is recommended that you cook the meal for 9 minutes; however I have found that this is too long. I cook the meal for 8 minutes so that the chicken stays moist and the meal doesn't become too dry. Leave the meal to stand for a couple of minutes, give it a good stir and tuck in (you will need to take care when peeling back the film lid, as it can be easy to burn yourself on the escaping steam if you don't let the meal stand).
In my meal I had seven big chunks of Chicken. To my delight the Chicken looked real - it didn't look regurgitated and it tasted like Chicken should - it was moist and not overcooked. Apart from the main ingredient of Chicken, the meal also contains slices of carrot, red peppers, onions, bamboo shoots, garlic shoots and Mu-Err mushrooms. To my surprise the vegetables taste and look like they should, cut into thin crunchy strips, so you don't need to try and guess what vegetables you are eating.
The sweet and sour sauce was rich and thick, but not too gooey. There was also just enough sauce, so you could taste the vegetables without them swimming in sauce. The sauce did have a slight tangy taste and this is down to Cayenne Pepper and Chilli.
Being a sweet and sour meal, it comes with rice, however for some reason Aldi seems to think that Basmati rice goes well with this meal. I am not a food expert, but I associate Basmati rice with Indian cuisine and curries and have never eaten it with Sweet and Sour chicken before. Basmati rice is fragrant which does make the meal smell a little like curry and whilst it is not unpleasant, I would rather that long grain white rice was used instead. The amount of rice in the meal was just the right amount and combined with the chicken and lots of vegetables, it made a very filling meal.
Overall, Aldi's 'Simply Bistro' Sweet and Sour Chicken steam meal was tasty and filling so gets 3 stars from me. It contains tasty chunks of skinless chicken breast, mixed vegetables and a sweet and sour sauce which is not too thick. I have yet to eat a Chinese ready meal that tastes like the meals you get in a Chinese restaurant, however this wasn't a bad meal and now that I have gotten over Aldi using Basmati rice instead of white rice, it is a meal that I would buy again, despite it being high in sugar and salt as moderation is the key.
For further information, please visit: www.aldi.com
Thanks for reading xx
© sweetdaisy 2012
*about the product*
I am new customer at Aldi and due to the lack of money I decided to give them a try. To my amazement I was pleasantly surprise at their variety and quality of their products. As a busy person, I sometimes don't always have time to prepare anything so I decided to try a few of their ready meals. I went for the simply Steam variety as I though this might be a healthy choice. I bought the simple steam sweet and sour chicken, Thai chicken and the beef in Merlot. After a long day at work, Popped the sweet and sour in microwave for dinner and I really enjoyed it. There were quite a good amount of pieces of chicken in the meal and the right amount if rice to accompany the dish. It was reasonably filling, although I really needed two in order to be completely satisfied (maybe because I'm a bit greedy). These ready meals would be more ideal for lunch at work (as they only take 8 minutes in the microwave) instead of a main meal.
There were some very nice flavours in the dish, much better than the bland ready meals I have tried in the past. I find if you stick to their timing, sometimes it can make the rice too dry. Other times I can feel like you are eating you sweet and sour with rice pudding, yuk. Although mostly the meals cooks ok. Just my microwave is not digital and is a dial, so its pretty much guess work on how long you have put the dish in for. You should have no problems with a digital microwave.
On the outside is a cardboard sleeve with a tempting picture of the meal, always find the pictures on packaging deceiving, they always looks better than it actually does on your plate. You meal is a plastic container with a plastic film on the top. You must stab a few holes in the film to let some of the steam out.
*The simply steam range*
There are four meals to chose from: Thai chicken and rice, Sweet and sour chicken, Beef with potatoes and veg, Salmon tagliatelle.
Out of the four simple steamed ready meals. I prefer the beef as the gravy is delicious, only down side is sometimes the beef can be a little dry and the veg can become to soft for my taste buds, but all are very nice for the price (£1.29) and shear simplicity (lets face it how much simpler can it be, just pop into microwave, done).
I will definitely be buying more products from Aldi and will try to post in depth review for you next time. I am sorry this review was short as its the first time I have ever done this. I am slowly improving it so that it will become more useful for you.