Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Alena Seal of Approval

As you may know, I get pleasure from pimping products I really enjoy. If something is exceptional, I want to spread the goodness.

I was craving Asian food not that long ago, and as our Giant Eagle carries a vast selection of "ethnic" foods, I was hard-pressed to decide what exactly I wanted. Being a lazy person who generally avoids cooking from scratch, at least when it comes to feeding my single self, I settled on three varieties of Simply Asia boxed noodle and sauce mixes. I'm a big fan of anything peanut sauce, so I grabbed a couple 'roasted peanut', as well as one each of 'soy ginger' and 'sesame teriyaki'. I keep frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and figured I could sautee a couple to add to each mix.

Out of the three varieties, the roasted peanut is by far the best. The other two were okay, but unfortunately not only did they taste exactly alike, they were rather unexciting. The roasted peanut is so good I went back and got more.

So forget the other two, let's talk about the roasted peanut. In the box, you get noodles, a sauce packet, and a packet of 'roasted peanuts', but every time I see them I can't help but remember that McDonald's calls them 'granulated peanuts'. I've had too many caramel sundaes with nuts.

I usually put a chicken breast or two in a covered pan on low-medium heat as soon as I put the water on to boil. I let the chicken sautee in a little oil the entire time, which allows it enough time to both defrost and crisp a little bit on the outside. They say to cook the noodles 7-8 minutes, but it usually takes about 10. Strain, add the sauce, stir, cut up the chicken, add to the noodles, pour in peanuts.. and you're good to go. The whole thing takes maybe 20 minutes, and it's damn good. I had some tonight and was reminded just how delicious it is. Definite peanut taste with a little bit of kick. Simply Asia Roasted Peanut gets an A from me.

If you're curious about the competing brand, Thai Kitchen, their peanut boxed noodles and sauce mix is pretty damn good, too. It seems more authentic Thai, as opposed to Simply Asia's somewhat generic Asian feel. Different kind of sauce, less kick, but more peanutty, I think.

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