Sister saw this new product from Maggi during our last grocery shopping and thought we should give it a try. Well, here in our house, we don't really use rice cooker, so it was just last Saturday that I decided to give this a try.
The pack is divided into two - the top part contains the plastic cooking back, the bottom part contains the seasoning powder you need to "magically" transform a few ingredients into one awesome dish.
you need to shake the bag and coat the ingredients
For Chicken Pastel, all that's needed are 1/2 kilo of chicken (cut into bite size pieces or scored three times if you're using bigger cuts), carrots, potatoes, and 1/4 cup of water. On the picture at the product, I did see some Vienna Sausage and Mushrooms, so I figured I'd add some, too. I only was able to add Vienna Sausage because we didn't have mushrooms.
Like what I said earlier, we don't use Rice Cooker here in the house, so I was a bit apprehensive in using this product. We do have a Rice Cooker (in fact we have three), but we still love cooking our rice the traditional way, and because we haven't used our Rice Cooker in many years, I wasn't sure if it will still work. Having said that (that and my apprehensions), I decided to pan fry the potatoes, carrots, and chicken for about 5 minutes before placing it in the bag, just so the ingredients were cooked a little.
This product is designed for busy fellows - yuppies, college students - who didn't have time to cook the slow, traditional way. It ensures having rice and viand cooked at the same time, so people who are not into cooking (and/or thought they don't have the talent for it) didn't have to go and eat out.
I thought we'd have a bad dinner that night. When I plugged the Rice Cooker, it did have the red light near the "Rice Cooking" label, so I just left it at that. Some 15 minutes after, my brother asked if I pushed the button to cook the rice... and I didn't. The Rice Cooker has been in "Keep Warm" mode for 15 minutes. Yikes.
Well, I still was able to cook the dish well, but the problems I had with the Rice Cooker made the sauce turn into a paste, hence the not-so-pretty sight of our dinner that night. Still it tasted really good!
A few things I learned in using this product:
- I should really cut the ingredients small - I checked different blogs that featured this product and I noticed my ingredients were cut way too big for the Rice Cooker to cook properly without having to fry it prior to actual cooking (actually, pre-cooking the ingredients defeats the purpose of the product, so next time I will try this without pre-cooking it).
- Maybe I should add a little more than 1/4 cup of water, simply because I do love my viands saucy.
- It may be easy to use, but taking out the dish outside the bag can be difficult - because it's hot and you don't want to wait 'til it becomes cold, right?
- If you're having negative thoughts about the plastic bag, you can still use this product by cooking it the traditional way.. just cook the dish the way it should be (saute onions and garlic, add chicken, potatoes and carrots), then add the diluted the flavoring mix and boil it 'til the ingredients are cooked.
It said in the package that one can still use the normal "kaldero" (the metal pot you use in cooking rice on a stove)... maybe next time I will go ahead and use the kaldero method.
Brother said there are three more flavors - Bicol Express, Afritada, and Lechon Paksiw. Hmmm... I will go for the Lechon Paksiw next time. :)