Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken Kit
Posted by bronzechains on January 11, 2009
Welcome to Completely Random Product Reviews! The content of this blog will just as the name implies. There will be no theme to the products reviewed here. Unless you consider “whatever I happen to buy and review” a theme. Most products covered here will be inexpensive, “everyday” items.
The first product I’m reviewing is a shelf-stable dinner kit from Wanchai Ferry, a brand owned by the General Mills Corporation. I purchased the Kung Pao chicken kit from Wal-Mart for somewhere around five or six dollars. The kit includes uncooked jasmine rice, a pouch of kung pao sauce, dried chile peppers, and roasted peanuts. The recipe calls for one pound of chicken breast, which is not included. I cheated and used pre-cooked diced chicken breast because I’m a lazy bachelor. Some elitist kitchen snobs may turn their nose up at the idea, but a good brand of canned, diced chicken breast will work just fine. Just make sure you drain it well first if you choose to go that route. Water and a little cooking oil are also needed to prepare this kit. Everything you need to know is right on the back of the box, but I’m going to tell you anyway just to make myself feel useful.
I tore into the box and was eating the stuff within about 25 minutes. The chicken/sauce/peanuts/chile pepper mixture is prepared while the rice is cooking, which turns out to be a big time saver. I noticed that the sauce smelled strongly of soy sauce and ginger while it was cooking. Dammit, it smelled good! As I said before, this kit comes together as a finished meal pretty quickly. That is, if you read the directions and make sure you have everything you need on hand and ready to go. Too many people don’t properly prepare when diving into a recipe. I know I’ve done it a few times. It really sucks when you’re halfway in, right in the middle of a time-sensitive step of your recipe, and you realize you don’t have something chopped/diced/thawed/etc. Don’t forget the cooking oil! One tablespoon (or two if you’re not using a nonstick pan) should suffice. Here’s a picture of what I consider one serving of the finished dish:
The nutrition facts label claims that the finished product serves five, but I disagree. I’m calling it three servings. And that’s not the stereotypical over-eating fatty talking. I put what I considered to be a sensible portion on a plate, and had two more servings of the same size left over. As far as the taste, I couldn’t be happier with this product. For the price and time spent preparing it, this stuff is great. Just as the smell of the sauce indicated, the sauce had a wonderful ginger/soy sauce flavor. Not too sweet, either. The chile peppers added what I consider to be the perfect spicy kick, but I have a pretty high tolerance for the kind of heat you get from hot peppers. If you don’t care for the burn that spicy foods can lay on you, don’t use the whole pouch of peppers. I’d definitely urge you to try at least one or two peppers, though. They’re a necessary ingredient. I crushed the dried peppers slightly before adding them to the skillet, to release the seeds from the pepper pods. That really turned up the heat, so avoid doing that if you’re a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. I wouldn’t recommend eating the peppers, as they’re very difficult to chew, and have a slightly bitter flavor when eaten. You could remove them from the dish before serving it, but they add to the visual appeal of the finished product. So just eat around them! Give them to the dog when you’re done, and laugh at his discomfort. Or not. I could have used a few less roasted peanuts in this dish, but that’s just me. They turned out to be a surprisingly prominent flavor. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head to follow the recipe exactly, so fool around with it if you wish. I think some vegetables added to the skillet while the chicken cooks would be an excellent addition. I’m thinking I might go with some sliced mushrooms, onions and julienned carrots next time…
Final word: I’ll definitely buy this product again. Other varities currently offered by Wanchai Ferry are Sweet and Sour Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken, and Cashew Chicken. Buy dis shit, yo!