“ Brand: Canton Classic / Type: Beef „
I absolutely adore the Crispy Shredded Beef from my local Chinese take-away but have never found a satisfactory alternative from the supermarket. In Morrisons recently I saw they were selling a new range from the Canton Cuisine company which included Crispy Chilli Beef - marketed as "cooked pieces of tender beef in a crispy batter with a sweet chilli sauce". Sounds great, doesn't it?
I bought some, got it home and cooked it for around 15 minutes as directed on the packaging. I must say it smelled delightful while cooking; the meal comes with a pile of battered beef and a decent sized pot of sweet chilli sauce which you cook together so that the mingling smells of meat and chilli filled my kitched beautifully.
But that's where the enjoyment ended. The 'tender beef' was anything but tender, it was absolutely awful. Full of gristle and so chewy that I gave up on it after around six pieces, which I only ate in the hope that I had picked up a few dud ones at first. It didn't even taste terribly meaty as a whole and despite the fact that the batter wasn't overly greasy, the beef was very oily tasting and not pleasant at all.
The batter itself was tasteless and not crispy in the slightest, it moulded itself around the beef in a way that made it impossible to tell where the meat ended and where the batter began. Even if you happened to like one or other aspect of the meal (either gristly beef or tasteless batter, hmmm, nice choice!) I suspect it would be a very difficult job to peel the batter away from the meat to eat separatley.
The sweet chilli sauce wasn't good either, and I did question to myself just how hard this company had to try to get the sauce so wrong. It had small pieces of chilli and onion running through the sauce which I had hoped would give me a full and spicy flavour. Wrong! The sauce is bland and so thin that dipping the beef pieces was pointless as the sauce simply flowed off them and I was left with barely a hint of the sweet chilli taste that I usually adore.
I think perhaps you should sit down before reading the nutritional information I am about to give you. This 250g pack contains an amazing 781 calories and 45.1g of fat. Yes, you did read that correctly - this appalling (and rather small) meal will 'cost' you a huge whack of your daily calorie and fat allowance. Gosh, I don't know where it comes from really as this is certainly not a very greasy meal and didn't leave puddles of oil on my baking tray during cooking. That's an horrific set of figures really and to be honest if I'd noticed this in the supermarket I'd never have bought the meal.
And I use the word meal very loosely, it's the perfect size for a snack really - or it would be if I could get more of it down in the first place!