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Taste Test: Trader Joe’s Firecracker Shrimp

The flavor’s great, but the final product is a little mushy

Dan Myers

Trader Joe's Firecracker Shrimp taste great but are a little mushy.

We were quite intrigued when we saw firecracker shrimp as an option in Trader Joe’s frozen food section. Advertised as “lightly battered and fried shrimp with a fiery sweet chili sauce,” it comes with frozen fried shrimp and a separate pouch of sauce which needs to be thawed under hot water before being tossed with the shrimp, which needs about 10 minutes in a 450-degree oven. The finished product was quite attractive-looking, with the shrimp taking on a nice golden brown color (another option is to pan-fry them in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil).

The frozen shrimp were of high-quality, and the sauce was incredibly flavorful. Sweet, spicy, and tangy, it hit all the right notes and the finished product was a supremely tasty dish. The only issue was with the texture: the batter became instantly mushy when tossed with the sauce, and with no crunch or crisp the whole dish took on a rather slimy, mushy consistency.

We’d most likely recommend preparing these shrimp in a pan with some oil, because that would most likely help them become as crispy as possible, and then serving them with some sauce on the side to dip the shrimp in immediately before eating. It’s the sauce that’s the real star of this dish, so the whole dish would be even better if it was served with fresh grilled shrimp as opposed to frozen battered shrimp.

There were about 25 shrimp in total in the package, which is divided into three servings. Each serving contains 190 calories, 12 grams of fat, 740 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

Click here for all our Trader Joe's product reviews.

Firecracker Shrimp Stirfry …and a peek inside Julia’s Kitchen

I had a ton of veggies to use up in the fridge…and a brand new wok that I got for a steal at IKEA. So stir fry it will be.

In a bowl I mixed together some hot chili sauce, a little oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and a couple splashes of fish sauce. Oh and I pressed about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic in there too. I chopped a ton of veggies…squash, zucchini, onion, red pepper and more garlic. Forget the grill…this stir fry was awesome!

Tips and Variations:

  • I used converted brown rice to speed this up, which took about 25 minutes for the rice to cook. You can also make if faster with a quicker cook brown rice, if so, follow the directions on the package.
  • Whenever shrimp is on sale, buy a pound or two and ask them for the frozen shrimp since all shrimp sold has been previously frozen and is thawed in the store, this way you can freeze it and use it only when you need it. Note, when weighing your shrimp, peel it first. With the skin on, 1-1/4 lbs usually yields 1 pound peeled.
  • For variations, swap the peas out for peas and carrots or chopped mixed vegetables.
  • Serve this with a vegetable on the side like sauteed string beans.

Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Fuji Apple Slices – Unsweetned & Unsulfured

Even better than the look on the package.

It’s time again to turn our attention to Trader Joe’s freeze dried produce section – with Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Fuji Apples. We’ve seen considerable range in Trader Joe’s dessicated produce, from freeze dried grapes to dehydrated kimchi to vacuum fried banana chips. It would appear that Trader Joe’s has never met a piece of produce they didn’t want to turn into a dry, crunchy snack.

These apple slices appealed to me immediately because they entomb, for perpituity, my favorite apple, the glorious Fuji. So much better than mundane Red Delicious or unexceptional Gala, the Fuji is invariably dense, sweet and crisp – a thoroughly delicious apple that satisfies to the final bite. I can still remember my first bewitching bite of a Fuji apple to this day, as sweet as an illicit kiss on a rainy summer afternoon.

Fuji apples are, as you might imagine, quintessentially Japanese – originating in the far northern province of Aomori back in the 1960’s and taking the world by storm. The secret the Fuji hides, however, is that it is actually the result of cross-breeding two American apples – the ubiquitous Red Delicious and the lesser known Virginia Ralls Genet. These two strains were first genetically collided at an agricultural research center in the town of Fujisaki in the 1930’s. The apple subsequently took the name of the town as its own and never looked back. Whether out of a sense of national pride or, more probably, simple good taste, the Japanese have embraced the Fuji apple on a massive scale. 900,000 tons of the apples tumble out of northern Japan into grocery stores across the country every year, utterly eclipsing the sales of all other apple cultivars. Here in the states, the Fuji has yet to catch on so dramatically. It ranks fourth in popularity, behind the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and, shockingly, the Gala. Wake up America – there are better apples out there!

The same qualities that the Japanese and myself admire in the Fuji apple – the sweetness and crispness – are the same qualities that make it such a good candidate for freeze drying. Like most fruits, the apple is nearly all water. The act of sucking the water out (or in this case, flash sublimating) is tremendously violent the apple itself, and hard to do without turning your apple slices into something squat and unrecognizable. The firm, crisp quality of the Fuji apple helps retain the shape of the slices, and it’s sweetness means that the apple’s whole, crisp and sweet taste is better preserved than it might be in lesser fruits. This is all the more impressive considering that these apple slices are unsweetened and unsulfured. These steps are usually taken to keep the dehydrated fruit looking and tasting something more or less like they do on the branch. The Fujis are simply so good that neither additive is necessary in the first place.

Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Fuji Apples are entirely delicious. Each slice is perfectly preserved in miniature, and bursts with sweet apple flavor as soon as you snap into its dry, airy form. While the taste is there, I’m left wondering how exactly one is meant best to enjoy them. They can be casually snacked on, like chips, but the 1.2 ounces of apple in the bag doesn’t last very long, even if the $2.99 price tag does justify the purchase. Trader Joe’s suggests tossing them on a salad or putting them in a trail mix, both of which seem reasonable within limits. The apples very sweet and might easily replace dried cranberries, although at a much higher price per ounce. Trail mix certainly couldn’t be a more natural fit – and I’ll consider including adding it in the next three or four times this decade that I have a reason to make trail mix.

Trader Joe’s final suggestion, to throw them on your cereal or oatmeal seems like the best idea, and probably the easiest way to incorporate these tasty little guys into you life. If for no other reason, pick a bag of these up to experience the Fuji apple in a whole new way.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Sure, if you can think of a way to eat them.

Would I Buy Them Again: I don’t buy a lot of dried fruit, but I’d probably get these guys again anyway.

Final Synopsis: A fresh new way to eat delicious Fuji apples.

Trader Joe’s Freeze Dried Fuji Apple Slices – Nutrition Facts

Trader Joes Fall Haul 2020 + Taste Test!

An infographic on the six human appetites offered some information that I discovered perplexing as well as critiqued in 2015. The designer of the infographic just recently reacted to my post. One point concerning appetite could still utilize some clarification, and also this short article explores that point.

How Does Type ‘A’ Blood Affect Gains?

For the little percent of hard gainers having a hard time to load thick muscle unto a slim framework, giving up health and wellness for figure is generally the concession. Nonetheless, coming to be aware of constraints as well as slices based on blood group is the crucial to making certain the attainment of the figure you want while enhancing health. I chose kind ‘A’ blood kind not just due to the fact that it’s my personal blood kind yet it is additionally a high upkeep blood group.

Last year I transformed my life permanently, I decided to live a plant based way of life. My health and wellness remained in such a poor problem that I felt I required to obtain a huge life insurance policy plan so my family members will be looked after. Crisis stayed clear of by going plant based. I wondered exactly how I was mosting likely to do this and the question arose, would you purchase a juicer or a blender or food processor on a plant based diet. I started doing study on both. What I discovered was both had benefits and downsides. If you consider that a trouble while you’re eating plants. Right?

6 Healthy Foods to Eat for People With Kidney Disease

Eating a healthy diet regimen abundant in fruit as well as vegetables is certain to profit individuals enduring with kidney illness. They can experience a variety of troubles from eating a poor diet plan, such as cardio disease and boosted inflammation.

Healthy Eating – Is Corn Healthy For You Or Not?

As a person who has been detected with Type 2 diabetic issues, you make it your organization to be cautious regarding the carbohydrates you eat. Additionally, you are extremely careful regarding the various types of sugar you include in your diet regimen strategy. So when one particular food is high in carbohydrates and sugar, that may make you sit up as well as question if it is a secure food to consist of in your diet.

Here are my secrets to Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce:

Coat the shrimp: I marinate the shrimp in garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce. The recipe is flexible. If you don&rsquot have all those ingredients, change it up! I promise you it will taste just as delicious. Other creative ideas for marinade: Moroccan spices, curry powder, cajun seasoning, garam masala, etc. Whats your favorite seasonings for shrimp? Ok, back to &ldquocoating&rdquo: if you use liquid ingredients in the marinade (such as soy or sesame oil) &ndash add a little cornstarch. This does something important &ndash it thickens the marinade so that it clings to the shrimp. Oh, and while we&rsquore talking about marinating shrimp &ndash don&rsquot use wine in your marinade for seafood. If you want to use wine in a seafood dish, add it towards the end of cooking process or even in the marinade right before you cook the seafood. Wine in a marinade changes the texture of the delicate seafood, especially shrimp. It makes it a little mushy &ndash not good!

Pat the shrimp dry: After swimming in the marinade for 20 minutes, you should pat the shrimp as dry as possible. Don&rsquot worry about wiping off the marinade &ndash the shrimp has already been infused with the flavors during the 20 minute soak. Plus, the cornstarch will keep some of the marinade clinging to the shrimp. Whenever you make something that involves wrapping and frying, the ingredients should be dry to prevent the wrapper from getting soggy and I&rsquom sure you know what happens when you put something wet into hot oil.

Nick the shrimp: Taking a cue from the Japanese shrimp tempura, score or nick the shrimp several times along the inside of the &ldquocurve.&rdquo This lets you straighten out the shrimp so you don&rsquot get a short, curly roll. Just be sure not to cut to far&hellipthree little nicks is good.

Roll tight: When you roll, try to make the roll tight and compact, like a joint & You don&rsquot want the shrimp falling out when you put it in the fryer. See that wrapper corner? That is where you need to brush your cornstarch &ldquopaste.&rdquo Not too much though! Just enough to keep the wrapper in place and seal.

The sweet chili sauce that I use is Mae Ploy. Its sweet and tangy, not too spicy.

Our Search for the Best Margarita Mix

It's Cinco de Mayo, and you invited friends over for margaritas. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed, you may be tempted to pick up a bottle of margarita mix instead of making fresh margaritas (or tangerine-ginger margaritas). Which mix is best? We braved a sugar-and-tequila headache to taste eleven different versions.

The result: none of these mixes are as good as freshly squeezed juice, or even close. Though there are a few bottles that will do in a pinch, we recommend you enlist your friends to help you squeeze limes instead of buying any of these mixes. We're not sure why margarita mixes need to be so sweet the best we tried balanced the sweetness with adequate acidity. The worst were syrupy, salty, and full of strange off flavors. For the most part, those with alcohol included in the mix should be avoided.

Ripe Pure Squeezed Agave Margarita Mixer

We were excited to see this in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods. It's made from fresh fruit, not juice concentrate—they say there are ten limes and two oranges in every bottle. But it's not as tart as if you'd started with fresh limes, and we found the tang of orange juice a bit out of place. Ripe's mix has a nice brightness that many mixes don't, but we really wish it weren't so sweet. If you have a soft spot in your heart for Minute Maid Limeade, this might be the mix for you. (Available online, $8.95)

Williams Sonoma Margarita Mixes

Williams Sonoma's mixes are created by Stirrings, but they're pretty different from the Stirrings mix. The WS Lemon-Lime version is made with key lime concentrate, orange juice and lemon juice, natural flavor, and cane sugar. It's much more puckeringly-tart than any of the others we tried, but it has a bit too much orange-juice-concentrate flavor (remember Sunny Delight?). Though it's a bit more like a screwdriver than a margarita, we liked this mix. Now, can they make a straight-lime one? (Available online, $14)

If you're looking for nontraditional flavors, choose the deliciously tart-and-fruity Mango version over the way-too-sweet Pineapple version.

Freshies Cocktail Mixes

Freshies' Fresh Lime Margarita Mix is nicely tart, with a hint of slightly-funky orange flavor, and it's a little less syrupy-sweet than many of the others. Get it super cold (by shaking or spinning in a blender with ice) and pour refreshing margaritas by the pintful. They recommend mixing with Anejo tequila and Cointreau, which certainly brings the drink up a notch. (Available online, $6.25)

Skip the Tangerita flavor though it tastes like canned orange juice.

Trader Joe's

We liked the sour touch in Trader Joe's margarita mix, but there's quite a bit of sweetness there too. "It's like Country Time lemonade," quipped Ed Levine, and he's about right. Keep the booze out of it and your kids could sell this stuff on the driveway. The directions on the bottle suggest you add the same amount of triple sec as tequila (an ounce of each for every two a ounces of mix), but we'd dial that down quite a bit, and dial up the mix. Three ounces of this mix with 1 ounce of tequila and 1/2 an ounce of triple sec works better.


The Simple Margarita Mix from Stirrings is made with key lime and cane sugar, and it's distinctly limey, with a bit of bitter peel on the finish. It lacks the freshness we hoped for, and the addition of "natural triple sec flavor" may be where they go wrong. It's not bad, just too sweet. An extra squeeze of lime might help. (Available online, around $8.)

Skip These For Sure

We sampled José Cuervo's Golden Margarita, which was so potent it makes you squint, with a strange aftertaste we couldn't get rid of. The Jose Cuervo Light Margarita is a little better, especially if you ice it down really well, but it's still on the sweet side, and you don't get to control (or see) how much booze is in it. The zero-calorie version is wildly sweet.

And yes, we tried Skinny Girl of Real Housewives fame. It was tart and light but bizarrely salty, with a strange off-flavor from the tequila. "This tastes oddly oniony" said one taster. Skip.

The Flavor Of Argentine Red Shrimp

Argentine red shrimp are extremely delicate and should be handled with a great deal of care to avoid any damage to the flesh of the shrimp. The flavor is a mild, yet sweet, taste that is often compared to lobster. They are one of the most delicate of shrimp species and are well suited for many cooking techniques and can generally be substituted in any recipe that calls for shrimp.

Argentine red shrimp tend to have a thicker shell than other shrimp which leads many to believe that they would need a longer cooking time than other species. However, argentine red shrimp actually cook a bit faster than other shrimp species and take a slight bit less time. The argentine red shrimp are wild caught and a sustainable source of fresh shrimp. You can find them frozen across the globe or order them online for quick home delivery.

Cheese Section

I will admit: I am in love with Trader Joe’s cheese wall. This isn’t like some little display they have in some grocery stores this is a full height and full length variety of gourmet cheeses. While some of the cheeses are extremely expensive and can be over budget, I usually will allow myself to splurge on one small block of cheese every few trips. While they certainly have some of the standards like cheddar and fresh mozzarella, they also have some unique ones like an apricot stilton cheese. On my last trip, I got a small block of apple pie cheddar cheese that I am looking forward to opening.

It actually reminds me of the Panda Express Crispy Honey Shrimp with Walnuts entree I did a recipe for last year. The main ingredients at play here are mayo, a very specific Thai Sweet Chili Sauce and Sriracha.

I’ve read countless versions of the recipes online for this Bang Bang Shrimp and came across a post where a reader said he worked for the chain and that they would soak the shrimp in buttermilk before breading. This made total sense to me because most of the recipes I’d seen didn’t have enough body in the coating to be like the original.

I’d also caution you to use the right brand of sweet chili sauce as that is authentic to the recipe as well. A friend who used to work at the restaurant confirmed the brand of sweet chili sauce used in the recipe.

Looking for more Asian Food?

Tools used in the making of this Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp:
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce: The authentic sauce used in the Bonefish Grill kitchen, if you don’t want to order it online, it is widely distributed in Asian grocery stores.
Sriracha: The king of chili garlic sauces, always keep this in your kitchen.
Dutch Oven: Perfect for deep frying, inexpensive pot and will last you for years.
Oil Thermometer: Keeping the oil at the right temperature will ensure you don’t burn the shrimp or have soggy shrimp by frying too hot or too cold.S
Shrimp Deveiner: If you love cooking with shrimp you will love this tool, it makes cleaning shrimp a hundred times easier!

Watch the video: Γαρίδες βγήκαν στην παραλία της Αμφιλοχίας (November 2021).