Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Trader Joe's Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower

This is a brand-new product; Trader Joe's has not yet posted a description of it. $4.99 for a 24-ounce bag.

I liked this a lot more than I expected I would. The cauliflower comes in huge florets that emerge from the oven amazingly tender. The sauce is surprisingly spicy for a TJ's product. As Nina noted, "The Blandification Committee must have been on vacation."

Two quibbles: The packet of sauce contains at least twice as much as needed for the quantity of cauliflower, which just seems wasteful. And the cauliflower pieces themselves come in a plastic bag found within the outer plastic bag, which also seems wasteful.

Will I buy it again? 

Enthusiastically. Me likey.

Nina’s View

As Bob was preparing these I asked him to serve the sauce on the side, rather than stirring it in to the whole batch as prescribed by the instructions. I’m very glad that he accommodated me.

If you used the whole bag of sauce, you’d have a sodden, swamped batch of soggy cauliflower and it would taste mostly like pepper and sugar.

I used very little of the sauce, as I found that it tasted weirdly plain: salt, sugar, pepper. For me, it needed some more aromatics—like maybe some citrus notes (lemon juice, lemon oil). Or more garlic. SOMETHING. The pepper was hotter than I expected too.

Having said that, the cauliflower itself is not bad at all, and the breading (definitely NOT tempura, by the way) is nondescript but cooks up nicely. Were I to buy this, I would definitely tinker with the sauce and use it sparingly.

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