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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Ayo Foods

Jollof Rice with Chicken and Groundnut Stew

Turkey Pepperoni Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Healthy Choice

Last Fall we discovered Ayo Foods with their Waakye Beans & Rice and their Chicken Yassa.

Wow. What a game changer they are. The flavors of West Africa in frozen meals that largely meet our sodium criteria? Give us some more!

We've been checking the frozen food aisles regularly, and today we have two more dishes from Ayo Foods: Jollof Rice with Chicken as well as Groundnut Stew with Chicken. These products are so new that they don't appear on the Ayo Foods' website - or even on the website of Whole Foods Market (Amazon), where we purchased them. (That is, we purchased them from a local brick-and-mortar WFM.)

Today we started our review session with the Jollof Rice with Chicken. This has 360 calories, 220 milligrams of sodium, and 3 grams of fiber.

220 milligrams of sodium? Again - no, that's not a typo.

Turkey Pepperoni Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Healthy Choice, after cooking

A panelist took one bite and declared, "This is [expletive redacted] delicious!"

The pluses:

The Ingredients list states that this is made with chicken thighs, but it was obvious to the panel right away - no pureed and pre-formed chicken bits here! This is real chicken: a little stringy ("hey, it's thighs") but tender and full of tons of chicken flavor.

The Jollof Rice's flavor is amazing, with tomato, red bell peppers and onions, ginger, cumin, oregano, and paprika along with a mustardy curry and enough habanero to put a tingle on the tongue. We could eat this all day.

The only nit we could pick with this dish is that the white (parboiled) rice was a trifle undercooked, making the dish a little chewy. This might have something to do with the cooking method, which called for removing the plastic film on the dish and placing a microwave-proof plate on top while cooking. The Groundnut Stew, on the other hand, didn't have those instructions and the rice came out perfectly.

We could wish that they had chosen to use brown rice instead of parboiled rice, but in the end we give this two thumbs way, way up.

The second dish, Groundnut Stew, has 290 calories and much more sodium: 570 milligrams. This is rounded out with just 2 grams of fiber.

BBQ Seasoned Chicken Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Healthy Choice

As we mentioned, the parboiled rice is cooked perfectly in this dish.

On the other hand, we felt that more sauce would have allowed us to really revel in the peanut - almost tahini-like - flavor of the stew. It also is just a bit on the salty side, although it's certainly within our standards.

BBQ Seasoned Chicken Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Healthy Choice, after cooking

Once again these are chicken thighs with all their deep chicken flavor, and although we thought at first look that they might be dried out, that simply wasn't the case.

While this, like the Jollof Rice, is marked as "medium heat," we felt this was far more mild: our tongues didn't tingle after consumption.

Not quite as good as the Jollof Rice, but also delicious and definitely worth space in your freezer. More sauce, a little less salt (just not necessary with these great flavors), and brown rice would make this pure magic.

Highly recommended. We're looking forward to more dishes from Ayo Foods - and in the mean time we'll be seeking out West African restaurants. We want more of these fantastic flavors!

Posted: July 22, 2022