I have written before about Ainsley and his fascination with endorsing dried out food products sold in pouches, first there was cous cous, then came cup soup, followed by bake in the box pasta and now it’s the turn of flavoured rice. Past form meant I was far from excited about trying this latest offering but needs must and just because all the other products were crap (with the exception of chocolate heaven bars) doesn’t mean that this one will be.
The rice packaging is identical to the cous cous, but with one crucial difference; instead of saying cous cous it says rice so you know what you are buying – inspired work Ainsley. I opted for Thai Style Rice as I’ve got a strange obsession with Thai food at the moment and want it all the time. I opened the packet and some powder burst out and headed straight up my left nostril. Not being used to having powder up my nose it came as quite a shock, but once the discomfort passed I was left with a heady aroma of coconut – it was rather pleasant.
The contents of the packet went into a pan, were covered with cold water, brought to the boil and then left to simmer for 20 mins. I am not sure why this rice took 20 minutes to cook, in my experience it usually takes 14, but then it isn’t busy soaking up “coconut milk, aromatic spices and coriander”. Whilst it was cooking the smell was divine, anyone visiting would be forgiven for thinking I was cooking up a delicious Thai feast not a boiled packet mix – so well done to Ainsley for olfactory satisfaction.
It tasted OK, but was very subdued, the coconut flavour was there and it did have a hint of Thai green curry, but it was uber subtle. In it’s defence the flavouring didn’t taste as manufactured and fake as other Ainsley products tend to, but perhaps that is what happens when there is hardly any there to begin with. Even with it’s 20 minute cooking time the rice was perfectly cooked, ending up a super al dente.
As far as rehydrated things in packets go, this isn’t too bad, but that’s as much of an endorsement as I can muster. Try it if you like, there’s nothing offensive going on, but then there’s nothing exciting either.
Ainsley Harriott Thai Style Rice 120g for 74p (from ASDA)