THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Two of the seven Crazy Cuizine varieties.
Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
||We live in a city where delivered food of every type is a way of life. Chinese food, sushi or Korean BBQ can arrive at our door in 30 minutes or less.
But in half that time, we can remove the Crazy Cuizine from the freezer and microwave our own.
Crazy Cuizine is a line of frozen Asian entrées—Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes—that you can find at select Costco locations and BJ’s Wholesale Clubs nationwide, and at some regional chains.
About The Entrées
Ready to heat and eat, the line comprises sauced meat dishes—mostly chicken—that are high in protein and free of preservatives, trans fats and MSG.
The entrées can be microwaved in five minutes or less—one-quarter of the time it takes to microwave an appropriate amount of conventional rice. That a heaping plate of tender meat can be available in a few minutes is a great convenience.
|Microwaving rice will take you 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the amount (smaller amounts take less time). Don’t spend the money on frozen, ready-to-microwave rice packages. They may save you 10 minutes, but it’s not worth the added expense. Here’s how to microwave conventional rice for pennies a portion.
|What You Need To Add
While the line claims “authentic recipes,” some of the authenticity needs to be added.
- Add seasonings. Neither the sauces nor the meats have secondary seasonings that create a complex flavor. They’re fine for kids—or adults who don’t have a demanding palate—but we like to think that even these two groups deserve to have more educated tastes. We added thin-sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and herbs or spices: minced fresh garlic and/or ginger, or their dried cousins; fresh or dried jalapeño; and fresh basil (which is more Thai and Vietnamese, but works well, and we always have some).
- Add vegetables. Amost all Asian dishes use them. We used what we always have in the house: broccoli, carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions—not necessarily all at the same time. If you have water chestnuts, bamboo shoots or baby corn, toss them in. We either steamed the veggies in the microwave for three minutes prior to making the rice, or sautéed them on the stove top while the rice cooks.
Orange chicken is ready in five minutes. Photo courtesy Crazy Cuizine.
- Assemble the dish. You can choose to heat the sauce packets with the veggies. We used a different technique: We heated the sauce before the meat; then added it to a bowl with the meat and veggies. Then toss to blend.
The ingredients are U.S.-sourced and the dishes are produced at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Southern California. The chicken is all-natural white meat, and has very good chicken flavor. Some are sliced, some are breaded.
The sauces tend to be adaptions of the same recipe, thick and slightly sweet. The choices include:
- General Tso’s Chicken: The sweet and spicy, deep-fried chicken dish was invented in the U.S. and named after one of the greatest military leaders of China’s history, General Tso (1812-1885). This version fares well, if nowhere as hot and spicy as the real deal. The general’s name is correctly pronounced sow, not so or tso.
- Korean BBQ Chicken: Our favorite. A delicious Korean dish featuring chicken breast topped with Korean BBQ spicy sauce.
- Orange Chicken: Pretty good, but lacking the orange peel added to restaurant dishes. Add your own small strips of peel. We added green onions, too.
- Potstickers, Chicken & Pork: The pork version is more flavorful. Both have the same excellent dipping sauce, made of soy sauce and vinegar.
- Tangerine Beef: Not tasted.
- Teriyaki Chicken: We weren’t crazy about this one. The sauce doesn’t resemble traditional teriyaki sauce, so the dish doesn’t resemble teriyaki—at least not the kind you’d get at a Japanese restaurant. It’s better to make your own: Thoroughly combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin (rice wine) and 2 tablespoons sugar in a sauce pan; bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for two minutes. Cool to room temperature or slightly warmer. If you don’t have mirin, use 1/2 cup saké mixed with one tablespoon sugar. Both mirin and saké are types of rice wine.
The 20-ounce boxes have a suggested retail price of $8.99.
Given that we pay between $5.00 and $6.00 for an order of six poststickers, delivered or in-restaurant, the 28-30 pieces from Crazy Cuizine are a bargain.
Learn more at DayLeeFoods.com.
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