Wendyl Wants To Know
Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl Nissen: Fast, filling and no nasties in Thai meal

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Select Chicken Pad Thai. $5 for 350g. Photo / Supplied
Select Chicken Pad Thai. $5 for 350g. Photo / Supplied

This is a meal, made in Thailand, which you can heat up in the microwave in 90 seconds.

So it's great for that quick meal for one and it is substantial. You will get 3010 kj or 721 calories in this little box.

Select Chicken Pad Thai. $5 for 350g.

Ingredients (greatest quantity first)

Pad Thai Sauce (75 per cent)

Shallot
At the top of the list this means there is quite a bit of shallot in here. A shallot is like a small onion but the flavour is richer and sweeter. It also grows in a clump of cloves like garlic.

Water

Peanuts (9 per cent)
These are an essential ingredient for any pad thai.

Sugar
You're going to get a lot of sugar in this as, traditionally, pad thai is a sweet dish. You will get 16.1g, which is four teaspoons of sugar with this meal.

Soybean oil
This is a common cooking oil in Asian dishes, extracted from soy beans.

Garlic
In here for flavour.

Tamarind paste
This provides a sour taste and is made from a legume that is ground into a paste. It is a common ingredient in Thai cooking.

Lime juice (1 per cent)

Salt
Quite a lot of salt in here at 1096mg per meal - for some people on low-salt diets, this is a day's allowance.

Chilli (0.7 per cent)
Not a lot of chilli in here so not too spicy.

Natural Colour (160c)
This is paprika.

Cooked chicken (20 per cent) (chicken breast, rice bran oil, tapioca starch)
I'm a bit freaked out by the fact that cooked chicken is in this pouch on the shelf and not refrigerated but modern production technology such as vacuum packaging means the chicken is well preserved in here.

This is chicken breast, coated in tapioca starch, which is arrowroot and not dissimilar to cornflour, then cooked in rice bran oil.

Spring onion

Coriander

Not sure if this is ground coriander seed or the herb. Not a lot in here and couldn't really taste it.

Cooked Rice Noodle Sachet

Cooked rice noodle (98 per cent)
Rice noodles are the clear noodles you often find in Thai food. They are great for people who are gluten-free.

Rice bran oil
Rice bran oil is free of trans fats and low in saturated fats so it is a healthy oil.

Soy Lecithin
This is a common emulsifier and a natural product.

My recommendations
I taste-tested this on my husband, who said it was nice but he probably wouldn't eat it again.

What he probably wasn't taking into account was that unlike fresh pad thai, something that has been preserved in plastic bags on the supermarket shelves for six months or longer is never going to taste like the real thing. But you may not mind that.

Also there are no nasties in here with no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours.

There is a lot of sugar at four teaspoons but when I looked at alternative Pad Thai products, this actually seemed low.

I was going to suggest that instead of using this ready-made meal you simply buy a ready-made Pad Thai sauce, fry up some chicken breast and throw in some rice noodles for a fresher tasting alternative. However both ready-made sauces I looked at on the supermarket shelf had more sugar - one brand was 22 per cent more. So, not a great idea.

Highlights

●Four teaspoons of sugar per 350g serve.
●No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.
●Made in Thailand.

- NZ Herald

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