By Mike Thayer
Looking for some convenience foods to prepare at home for those times when I don't feel like cooking, I picked up a box of Ajinomoto brand Yakitori Chicken with Japanese style fried rice when shopping recently at Costo. I'm a sucker for fried rice and this looked pretty good.
"What is Yakitori Chicken?" you ask....
It refers to the Japanese method of grilling skewered chicken over charcoal. The chicken is typically cut into bite sized pieces, put on bamboo or metal skewers and placed over hot coals, the meat is seasoned over the fire.
Here's the description from the package: Made with grilled white meat and tender vegetables in an authentic savory sauce. In addition to the chicken and rice, the veggies include carrots, leeks, edamame soybeans, peas, red bell peppers and roasted sweet corn.
It's not bad for a grab and go meal, I was pleasantly surprised, Ajinomoto makes a decent fried rice. The bite sized chicken is cooked nicely, you can see the char from the grilling. The veggies are indeed tender crisp and everything is nicely portioned and balanced - there's no rice overkill. It is a bit underseasoned though and I blame that on the sauce, there's frankly not enough of it. In reading the ingredients on the box, it's a fairly typical sauce made with soy, mirin (rice wine) a few other ingredients and thickened with tapioca starch, but it lacks a little punch and the dish overall is a bit on the dry side for a fried rice. I ended up adding some chili and sesame oil to my bowl to kick things up a notch.
I paid $12.59 for the box of Ajinomoto Yakitori Chicken with Japanese Style Fried Rice, that's just $2.10 per serving. That's a cheap meal. It's convenient, easy/fast to prepare, filling and although it needs a bit of doctoring to bump up the flavor, it's worthy of a repeat buy. I'm giving this product 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. Need a quick lunch? Throw a bag of fried rice in the microwave. Looking for a convenience meal that ISN'T a burger or run-of-the-mill sandwich? Nuke some fried rice. Don't want to dirty up a bunch of dishes when cooking for one? You guessed it, grab a bag of fried rice, dinner in three minutes.
$pend Wisely My Friends.....