Aug 29, 2014

Frozen Friday: Trader Joe's - Mandarin Orange Chicken

Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken features battered chicken pieces with a mandarin orange chicken sauce.

A 22-oz bag goes for $4.99.

Unlike some frozen foods, these come out of the oven super crunchy without being oily. The pieces were mostly bite-sized except for a few larger pieces that can be taken in two to three bites.

The sauce comes in a pouch that you can heat up separately in the microwave or over the stove. It flows easily while it's hot, but thickens as it cools. They don't include enough of it to cover the chicken pieces though. (Oops! There was a second sauce pouch in the bag that I missed!) I made maybe half to two-thirds of the bag and ended up using all the sauce and still couldn't get an even coat going

The chicken pieces have enough of a seasoning that they're good on their own. They're chopped pieces of dark meat so they were pretty juicy and tender.

This is with half the sauce; I ended up adding the rest after tasting it.
The sauce actually gets close to Panda Express' Orange Chicken (a favorite of mine). There's a notable soy sauce taste here and a bit more sweetness and heat to it. There's still an orangy tang to it, but it's a little muted in comparison. Still, it's very good. On a side note, there's a little bit of alcohol (sake/rice wine) to the sauce; the bag notes that "this product contains less than .05% alcohol)

Overall, Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken was very enjoyable and makes a fine substitute for a Panda Express Orange Chicken craving, while not being too much of a fuss to make. There's also the added bonus of it always coming out crunchy from the oven, while Panda Express is only crunchy if they happened to just finish a new batch out of the wok.

Nutritional Info - Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken
Serving Size - 1 cup (140g)
Calories - 320 (from Fat - 140)
Fat - 16g (Saturated Fat - 3.5g)
Sodium - 330mg
Carbs - 24g (Sugar - 6g)
Protein - 21g