When I first heard about Citizen Chef, I loved the concept: a meal which is ready to cook (just add the protein), fresh, healthy, and easy. You are eating in 15 minutes. Sounds like my kind of dinner! The bonus is that some of the meals are gluten-free, which is not easy to find.
The nice folks at Citizen Chef sent me two of their products to try out; Thai Sesame and Hawaiian BBQ stir frys. I brought them to a friend’s house along with some chicken (you can use any protein) to give it a whirl. Being the family chef, I thought it would make sense to try them out with a group of kids along with adults. Here are my notes:
Ingredients: Both packages contained the same ingredients for the stir fry which consisted of onion, snap peas, carrots, and red cabbage. My kids are funny; they don’t like cooked carrots. So, instead, I offered them some uncooked veggies. Problem solved. I loved the combination of vegetables along with the bright colors. Everything cooked up really nicely. If I could change anything, I would suggest slightly thinner or smaller pieces of onion.
Sauce: The adults loved the sauces, especially the Thai Sesame. The base was a coconut cream which was really flavorful and very fresh. This one was too spicy for the kids but perfect for us. The Hawaiian BBQ (a bit sweeter), in my opinion, would be better for kids but that night (maybe due to some peer pressure), the kids preferred it plain. I really don’t mind that as this does not mean making two meals. It just requires removing some of the protein and/or veggies before simmering in the sauce. It was not a big deal at all.
Rice: The brown rice is really an instant-style rice. It was easy, had a good texture, and was perfect with the meal.
Instructions: The instructions could not have been easier but I got a little confused the first time around. I didn’t turn over the card to see the cooking instructions at first but when I did, it was obvious.
The other side has detailed instructions with a timeline. At first I didn’t realize it was a set of steps:
1) Cook rice.
2) Saute protein.
3) Steam and simmer.
I think that’s just how my brain works. Now, it’s obvious. My only other suggestion is that you probably only need 1 tablespoon of oil, not 2. I always go lighter. This dish is well suited for a wok which has a cover.