Monday, April 25, 2005

TJ's Taste Test, Part One of Many: Tuna in Red Panang Curry Sauce

One of the funnest (is that even a word?) parts of shopping at Trader Joe's is picking out new items to try. TJ's makes such a good attempt at making you try new stuff--colorful blackboards and shelf tags with convincing sales pitches, the Fearless Flyer, the sample guy. How can you not be tempted to try their own versions of the latest food fads?

My latest find is their Tuna in Red Panang Curry Sauce. I actually got the tip on this packaged fish dish from my friend's brother. "My brother says it's soooooo good," she said, "we haaaaaave to try it." OK, sure! One more item to add to my grocery list...

To my surprise, the Tuna in Red Panang Curry Sauce wasn't in the frozen section; instead I found it in the dry foods section, right next to the canned tuna and salmon. I picked up one of the somewhat flat boxes and looked at it for a second. Contains 3 servings? The box didn't even look like enough for one--Could there really be a tuna meal in here??? For only a buck thirty-nine I guess there was no harm in finding out.

Oooooh, goody goody goody, I can't wait to get home and try this. (Gosh, I'm such a geek.)

Back at home, the box was opened to reveal a small foil pouch, re-raising my earlier doubt about the number of servings inside this thing. Inside the pouch, about 7-8 small Yellowfin tuna pieces bathed in a fragrant red panang sauce. The description on the box suggests pairing the tuna with rice noodles or rice for a cold salad or on bread for a "Thai inspired sandwich." I decided to go the rice and rice noodles route, and heated up the tuna for something a little more toasty.

Tuna in Red Panang Curry Sauce on Rice Noodles

All I have to say is that I'm hooked. The panang sauce was extremely flavorful, sweetened with coconut milk and lime, and spiced well with lemongrass and chiles for a real kick. The tuna, while packaged, was both chunky and flaky but was not bad for being packaged. And yes, TJ's proved me wrong. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way. While I don't think it's enough for three, I divided the package between a bowl of jasmine rice and a bowl of rice noodles which soaked every bit of the well-flavored sauce up beautifully.

I'm planning on trying the Tuna in Red Panang Curry Sauce in a cold noodle salad, or as they suggested, in a sandwich, next. I'll totally tell you about it. I just hope Trader Joe's doesn't decide to discontinue it before I get to it again. That would suck.


Kirk said...

Hey Pam - This is the stuff my wife loves - she just eats it cold...ick! When her little stash gets too low, I have to drive over to TJ's to "restock"! Me no unnerstand'

Daily Gluttony said...


You no like??? But it's gooood!!! I'm gonna have to agree w/ your missus on this one! =)