Product: A Taste of Thai Pad Thai for Two – $3.59+
I’m very fortunate that I live near one of the best Thai restaurants in the nation. Yes. I will go as far as to say that. However, that being said…I also can’t afford to eat out much these days. My money is better spent on travel and food experiences outside of my own neighborhood.
And race fees.
But…that’s a horse of a different color.
As I’m getting through a very long two weeks of no CSA bin filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, I’m scraping my pantry, fridge and freezer for things to eat until Friday. It’s coming. But it’s been a very rough two weeks of eating processed foods. Some good…some better…none horribly bad. I do pay a lot of attention to nutrition information when I shop and when I do buy something in a box or package…I mind the ingredient list and nutrition information above everything else.
Anyway…with nothing real to make food out of, save for a container of organic baby kale and a red onion…I pulled the final Thai food box out of my pantry. This time it was the Pad Thai for Two from A Taste of Thai. It sounded brilliant and the picture on the box looked drool-worthy. One thing I didn’t take into account was that the box literally only contained rice noodles and the Pad Thai sauce. No joke. So…I had to think. And I thought…kale and onions…caramelize…sauté…add noodles…BAM! Dinner. Why not? My roomie seemed game for that too, so I set to work.
I boiled some water and put the rice noodles into a large bowl, covering it with the hot water and letting it sit for 20 minutes. As the noodles were soaking, I went ahead and sliced up the last of my red onion and got it into a pan over medium heat to begin the caramelizing process. I, not thinking, started this in a smaller sauté pan…remember this later. The onions were caramelizing beautifully, so I went ahead and added a couple handfuls of organic baby kale. I sautéed it until it wilted down and turned bright green. When the noodles were ready, I drained them and then added them to the small sauté pan, realizing then my error. Somehow, I managed to contain it all in the pan and still swoosh it and stir it. I didn’t risk tossing it as the pan was rather full of Thai goodness. After about 4 minutes, I added some chopped (and toasted) cashews that I decided to add at the last moment, and then the packet of sauce. All of this was mixed in that itty-bitty pan, but it got the job done. And soon, I was dishing it up into two bowls and after about 30 minutes…dinner was served.
Was it worth it? Yes!! It was. I enjoyed this little boxed meal more than I thought I would. I thought the onion, cashew and kale were perfect additions (and very non-traditional, I know!) to the mess of noodles and sauce because they brought different flavors and textures to the meal. The rice noodles actually ended up being cooked perfectly. They didn’t stick together, as I was afraid they would because normally that’s what happens with rice noodles. I was pleasantly surprised. The sauce was tangy and sweet more than spicy, which was a nice change of pace (but you know I love my spicy foods!). And it was easy to eat this noodle dish with chopsticks without making a huge mess. No mess at all, in fact. I found that I truly enjoyed eating this meal. I would definitely consider buying it again for one of those quick-to-make meals where I have time for a little prep work and cook time…but it isn’t a flash in the microwave either. LOVED it!
So, let’s talk ingredients, yes? As I mentioned, the box contained a packet of rice noodles and a packet of sauce. The rice noodles are simply made from rice flour, water, and modified (I hate that word!) tapioca starch. The Pad Thai sauce was made from palm sugar, tamarind juice, water, shallot, sweet radish, garlic, soybean oil, potassium chloride, maltodextrin, miso, salt, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract, paprika oleoresin, citric acid, alpha-tocopherol, and chili oleoresin. I know…not very clean…and some very hard to pronounce words. Ugh. So much promise…
Let’s now talk nutrition. A serving is 1/2 of the package. This serving will provide you with 391 calories and 3 grams of fat. This will also provide you with 433 mg sodium and 16 grams of sugar. That sugar is off-the-chart. YIKES!! As for the sodium…it’s under 600 mg, so I can live with that. Without the additions…this dish has no fiber, but does provide 5 grams of protein. Of course, then I added onions, kale, and cashews and that really bumped up some of those nutrients, but hardly added any calories at all. Love it.
So…yes…this is a highly processed item…and the nutrition factors aren’t fantastic, but they aren’t totally bad either. The sugar content is high, but that is mostly contained to the sauce. And the overall taste and textures were a huge hit. My roommate and I loved eating them, but will probably try to do more from scratch. But, in a pinch, on those just scraping by weeks…this will do!