The next time you go to Trader Joe's, stock up on this frozen bag of Japanese Style Fried Rice with edamame, tofu, hijiki seaweed, and carrots. We received this tip from Tara Block, our editorial director, who swears by this microwaveable meal as a quick-fix dinner. After months of talking it up to us anytime Trader Joe's came up in conversation (which, around here, is nearly every day), we finally took her advice and tried it ourselves. Tara says she accidentally stumbled upon this meal, which has since become a weekly staple. She has challenged herself to buy one new thing at TJ's every visit (what sage advice!), and when she discovered the Japanese Style Fried Rice, she couldn't believe how good it tasted. Having tried stir-frying the rice and steaming it in the microwave, she said, frankly, it tastes the same. Save yourself the dishes and effort and pop the bag in the microwave for four minutes, and boom — dinner is served.
The flavor of this fried rice tastes shockingly fresh. The edamame and carrots are vibrantly colored and crisp, as if they have just been steamed. The slightly sticky white rice resembles what you'd find at an Japanese restaurant. The tofu skin is just like flavorful inari sushi — you won't miss the scrambled egg one bit. And the sauce? Mirin, sugar, soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, and hijiki seaweed combine for one perfectly seasoned bowl, no additions needed. The package claims that this serves 3.5 people, but Tara warned me she's been known to finish the whole bag in one sitting. No shame! I would do the same. I split the bowl with another coworker and found myself still hungry, so that's the only downside of this dish. If you plan on picking up a bag, be sure to stock up on one per person!