Mr Chen’s Thai Basil Chilli

Mr Chen’s Thai Basil Chilli

After the success of the Mr Chen’s Beef Pho kit I thought I’d give the Thai basil chilli kit a try.

The Mr Chen’s Thai basil chilli kit retails for about $7.50 a kit, which makes two decent servings. During promotions at Coles and Woolworths I’ve see the price go as low as $3.75 which is half price!

The kit comes with three packets. A pouch of microwave rice, a pouch of sauce and a sachet of dried chilli and holy basil.

Mr Chen's Thai basil chilli contents and ingredients list.
Sauce, rice, chilli and herbs.

The meal comes together really quickly, just cook your protein then add the sauce and herbs. Simmer for two minutes and you’re done.

THE TASTE

First impressions are that it’s quite salty and also a bit oily.

The sauce is slightly sweet, garlic comes through and there’s an umami richness from the oyster sauce base. It’s somewhat spicy, but not in a face melting way. However it’s probably not suitable for kids.

I was surprised that it was spicy – admittedly I didn’t notice the word chilli on the packet or the 2/3 chilli rating. I knew the dish as Thai holy basil – I’d never seen the word chilli with it.

My husband bit into a tiny piece of the dried chilli and made a face – definitely spicy. For the brave or fool hearty only.

Ok, after I wrote that he ate the whole thing and now he can see through time.

And yet, he asked if I was going to eat the other chilli that was sitting on my plate. 🤔

Three bowls, one off screen with mixed vegetables. One with cooked white rice. Middle bowl has Mr Chen's Thai basil chilli, two large dried chillis sit on top of the cooked chicken.
A side dish of vegetables is definitely required

The Bad

As two serves it has nearly a full gram of salt per serve (987mg). If you add any side dishes then you’ll be upping your salt intake even higher.

For comparison three large serves of fries at McDonald’s has 1032mg of salt. This is nearly half the recommended daily salt intake for an adult.

To get around this I’d suggest making this meal with 500g of meat and splitting it into three serves. If you’re dining with three people though you’ll need extra rice.

A close up of Mr Chen's Thai Basil chilli sauce with chicken in a pan.
There is a lot of sauce, you could easily use 500g of protein.

The rice is alright, what you’d expect from a microwave packet. It’s cooked well, maybe a bit firm.

THE UPGRADE

Normally with one of these kits I’d top up the sauce with loads of vegetables. But I wanted to keep it authentic and really taste it as intended.

So instead I made a side of stir-fried with garlic, ginger, chilli and soy sauce (tamari sauce is gluten free). If I’d realised ahead of time how salty the sauce was I’d have skipped the soy sauce.

THE VERDICT

Would I buy Mr Chen’s Thai Basil Chilli kit again? It’s a nice enough sauce, but not particularly memorable – except for the salt. From the first bite you do notice the saltiness of this dish.

I do like a complete kit, having the rice included – it’s handy for things like short holidays where you don’t want to buy multiple items and just get food on the table quickly.

But, given we’re at home I think I’d opt for a different kit in the future.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Gluten free: By ingredients, no may contain for gluten.
Vegetarian / vegan: Nope, the ingredients include fish sauce and oyster sauce.
Allergens: Fish, soy, mollusc. May contain: Peanut, sesame, seafood.
Serving size:
Two


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