Like another syntactically ambiguous citrus product, Trader Joe’s Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers confounds the English tongues ability to parse. Come on TJ, is this a Thai preparation of shrimp with lime, or Thai limes on shrimp?
Spurned to action by this irksome lack of clear-sightedness, I threw myself into a burst of quick detective work. The answer, it turns out, lurks in the ingredients.
I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, proudly listed on the second line, the kaffir lime.
Yes, the kaffir lime – the very sort commonly used in Thai cuisine! A Thai lime, if you will. Long did I suspect this particular ingredient was one of those overly elaborated upon nouns used for marketing purposes – as in “optic white” or “full serving”.
The truth is quite to the contrary. Kaffir limes are not just a distinct species, smaller, uglier and native to southeast Asia, but are also largely inedible. In fact, kaffir limes are used in cooking not for their citric juices, like the garden variety lime, but for the fragrance of their leaves. A grilled shrimp spritzed with citrus is delicious, but this isn’t that. This is a shrimp prepared in a very Thai way, with the aroma of lime but not its zest.
Trader Joe’s Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers come uncooked but ready to pop on the oven or grill for your non-bar mitzvah party event. The box holds five skewers of five shrimp, each simply herbed with flakes of the kaffir lime leaf and assorted other spices. The taste is subtle, but distinct – laying on top of the shrimp taste as a counterpoint rather than working with it like a butter or cream.
The end result is a simple, and simply prepared, dish that captures the taste of Thai cuisine. The taste is difficult to summarize, after all kaffir lime leaf is not that common here in the West, but if you’ve ever had a Thai curry or Tom Yum Gai you’ve tasted it.
Trader Joe’s Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers would make a great addition to the buffet table, as a fun option for a family meal or, if you pluck the shrimp from their skewers, a fantastic addition to your curry or light noodle dish.
Two words of warning. First, don’t think “citrus” when you buy this – be ready for an exotic taste of Thailand.
Second, each skewer is as long as the box they come come in. If you’re prepping them on the range, make sure you have a big, and preferably square, skillet. I used my largest frying pan, but found I could only fit two skewers across it’s diameter at the same time. A square skillet eliminates such geometric hassles, as would cooking them up on the grill.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, to party planners or Asian cuisine dabblers.
Would I Buy It Again: Next time I tire of ordinary shrimp.
Final Synopsis: An easy, healthy way to get a taste of Thailand.
It’s got the chili, it’s got the lime – what more can you want.
I would call myself very satisfied with these. Chicken burgers are a well known delicious healthier, lean alternative to ground beef. However, it has also been accurately accused of being a blander alternative as well. The chili and lime flavoring did a phenomenal job compensating for this – zesting the chicken with a flavor that gets the mouths of everyone in the room watering. I actually had to fend off overly ardent admirers of my browned burgers as I ate them. The patties are flavorful without going overboard. I went into these mostly worried that the chili-lime balance would be skewed too far one way or another, but I needn’t have. The chili packed a kick without being too spicy, and the lime was zesty without being too citrusy. A good taste for a fresh burger, or any light, summery dish. Combined with the shockingly healthy nutritional profile (on 6g of fat per patty) these burgers roar to the top of the Taste To Health Quotient.
Other positives – the packaging is tight, efficient and easily storable, and the wax paper in between the paddies ensured ease of separation. The only real downside? No cooking instructions on the box. I’m kind of a numb nuts when it comes to intuiting the way to cook things. Though I enjoy cavalierly disregarding the instructions for most things, I assiduously pore over any meal preparation tips. For the chicken burgers, not being something I am overly familiar with, I was particularly looking forward to a little help, but was left in the lurch. I just sort of cooked until they browned, and although this mostly worked out I did over cook one of the four patties. For shame Joe! To paraphrase an episode of the Simpsons, stupid cooks need the most attention.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes, but look up the cooking instructions online.
Would I Buy Them Again: I could see it.
Final Synopsis: A little zing-pow in your chicken burger.