Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken

I’ve heard countless times how much the Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken was one of the greatest frozen dishes sold at Trader Joe’s.  I admit, I’d looked at the bag time and time again but always passed it up due to its higher points plus value.  Finally, on one shipping trip with my boyfriend we decided to pick it up to try something different.

Cooking it per the directions on the bag (in the oven) and then coating it with the mandarin orange sauce I have to say this is pretty amazing and I completely understand why it was so widely raved about.  The chicken is evenly coated in batter and once baked it comes out with a nice crunchy coating, but not crack your tooth crunchy.  The mandarin orange sauce is orangey and sweet but not overpowering on any flavor level.  Since the chicken is hot out of the oven once it’s tossed in the sauce, everything gets coated nicely.

Sure, the calories are a little high, but when you think of all you are getting and compare it to a similar dish you may order out at a Chinese restaurant you are getting a far better “bang” for your buck (both cash/calories/points plus wise).

I served this up with some ¾ cup basmati rice and some fresh steamed broccoli and carrots.  The whole dinner was 13 points plus values and well worth it.  It was filling, satisfied my craving for Chinese food and there was more than enough to feed four adults.

The only thing that could possibly make me happier would be if Trader Joe’s could come up with a general tsao’s version just like this mandarin orange dish.  It would be the epitome of amazingness.   C’mon TJ’s – I have faith in you … show me some (more) magic!

A 1 cup serving (140g) is 320 calories or, 9 points plus values.


  1. I absolutely adore it and marvel at how crunchy it gets just from baking! But honestly, I don't even usually eat it with the sauce. I lived in Japan for years and there was this fast food restaurant called Hokka Hokka Tei that sold this thing called a chicken basket. It was my favorite thing and I miss it a lot. When I had the mandarin chicken the first time, I noticed how much the chicken seemed to taste like the Hokka Hokka chicken but seasoned differently. So I eat it like Hokka Hoka Chicken: I squeeze lemon and garlic salt on it after it's baked and eat it with a bowl of rice. Yum!!! This also brings it down to 5 points plus per serving!

    1. That's a great idea! I loved how crunchy the chicken was and was surprised it could get that crunchy in the oven (because most frozen chickens crisp but don't get crunchy). I may have to give that a try next time - sans sauce and see how I like it! BTW thanks for the new points plus value!