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Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Korean Food, Product Reviews, Reviews | 0 comments

Food Review: Saffron Road Bibimbap With Tofu microwave meal

Food Review: Saffron Road Bibimbap With Tofu microwave meal

Quite frankly, out of the four microwave meals that Saffron Road sent me for review, I did not look forward to this one. It’s really difficult, in my opinion, to make tofu edible when subjected to the rigors of microwave cooking. Microwaves seem to toughen tofu — and most stuff — into jaw-exhausting chewiness. 

However, it’s probably even more challenging to entice sworn omnivores like me to eat a tofu dish when there are so many protein choices. Yet, for vegetarians or vegans, proteins sources are more limited and have to be optimized and well-balanced to say in good health. So, I won’t begrudge anyone their occasional tofu cheesecake. 

Saffron Road’s 두부 비빔밥 tofu bibimbap has lots of veggies — diced red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, onions, sprouts, mushrooms and carrots — and small breaded firm tofu cubes doused in a sweet and spicy 고추장 gochujang sauce. 

What is 비빔밥 bibimbap?

비빔밥 Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish in the U.S., showing up on some menus in Japanese and Asian restaurants that may not have other Korean items. The dish is fairly simple: It’s essentially an assortment of marinated vegetables and, perhaps, meat or 두부 dubu (tofu) over 밥 bap (rice). 

What is 고추장 gochujang?

고추장 Gochujang is a dark-red 장 jang (paste) made from sun-dried 고추 gochu (a variety of spicy red chili), 찹쌀 chapssal (sticky rice), powdered fermented soybeans and sometimes a sweetener such as sugar, syrup or honey.

The spiciness level is described on the box as “medium-spicy.” So it has some heat, but it’s a merciful, pleasant, jalapeño-level heat. The directions say to cook it for six to seven minutes with a break in the middle to stir the contents of the bowl before continuing. Bibimbap is supposed to be mixed up, which fits well with most microwave cooking directions to stir up the entire dish halfway through the heating process to evenly distribute the cooking.

I cooked the meal for four minutes then for three minutes. But I should have limited the second cooking period to two minutes, because my my microwave is more powerful than I thought.

The rice turned out pretty well considering the fact I overcooked it a bit. Rice is normally one of those foods I never reheat in the microwave because microwaves tend to change the texture of the rice towards the crunchy, mealy side, which doesn’t feel good in my mouth. The gochujang sauce protected the rice from approaching the crunchy stage despite my slight over cooking.

No microwave meal can be as good as what one would find in a restaurant or cook from scratch at home, so I won’t play by the rigged game of judging a frozen meal by that standard. When I compare the Saffron Road Korean meals to other microwave meals, they are levels above most of them.

The suggested retail price is $5.99, and Saffron Road’s Korean frozen dishes can be found at Whole Foods Market stores across the U.S. I hadn’t found the meals for sale online or at other grocers at the time of publishing.

Disclosure: Financial compensation was not received for this post. Saffron Road sent samples for review. Opinions expressed here are my own — and/or my dear husband’s.

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