Product Type: Aldi Ready Meals
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Fills The Gap
Simply Steam Sweet and Sour Chicken
Member Name: sweetdaisy
Simply Steam Sweet and Sour Chicken
Date: 25/11/12, updated on 19/10/13 (345 review reads)
Advantages: tasty, filling, contains skinless chicken breast
Disadvantages: high in sugar and salt, contains basmati rice
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
Summary: Aldi 'Simply Bistro' Sweet and Sour Chicken steam meal