“ Brand: Sharwood / Type: Chicken „
When it comes to ready meals, of late I have consumed rather alot of them. With moving and not feeling very well at all on and off I haven't wanted to be stood in a kitchen preparing meals at all. This range of Sharwoods ready meals (at the time of writing this review) are on offer in Asda at a pound a box with many different meals available. I picked up three actually and ate one every day!
The meal itself comes in a black plastic tray with a clear see-through lid/cover over it. On the front of the box there is a photograph of the meal and I am told that it is Sharwoods 'Ready To Heat' Taste of China, Spicy Szechuan Chicken With Rice 'Tender pieces of chicken breast in a spicy Szechuan sauce, with red peppers, water chestnuts and onion. Served with rice' and there is an at a glance nutritional nutritional chart on there, I'm told it microwaves in 9 minutes and serves 1 person, is medium spicy and 375g in weight. Other information listed on the box includes being told how to cook it, ingredients and allergy advice is given as is a full nutritional chart, storage details are given, the best before date is clearly stamped on and contact details for Kerry Foods Ltd are given (the manufacturer of the product). Nice informative box this is, easy to open and follow the heating instructions given.
The Meal Itself:
You are given two ways of cooking this. In the microwave it will take about 9 minutes and a conventional oven in around about 45 minutes. To me this is meant to be fast food so I always pop this type of meal in the microwave.
Once cooked you get a meal that pretty much looks like the photograph on the box. It all comes in one tray so you have to separate it well, but thats easy enough to do so.
What you get is lots of thick and juicy chicken chunks that is well seasoned and tastes and looks good quality (this is breast by the way) and the reddish, sweet sauce contains flecks of red peppers and some chopped up water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and there is a flavouring of sweet tomatoes, garlic and ginger to it. The sauce is thick and plentiful though the ingredients used are more well coated than swimming in sauce and its really, really tasty and smells wonderful and looks appetising.
The white rice is perfect and al dente. Not at all seasoned (use your own if desired of course), this is not too moist but not one bit dry and simply well cooked through and good quality.
The whole of the meal is tasty though there isn't a huge amount of food and I felt it wasn't very big for a main meal but what there was, was tasty and very tasty indeed and I wouldn't hesitate in purchasing this time and time again in the future!
Nutritional Information Per 375g Serving:
Available in all good supermarkets etc and if not on offer at about £1.50 a box.
I popped into the local supermarket and saw this Sharwood's product, amongst others, on offer for £1. I picked up a mix of about 10 different meals, and had this one for tea today.
The packaging is quite appealing, giving the impression of a big meal inside it. It tells you the different levels of spiciness and gives you a brief calorific content and other nutritional elements on the front. The picture shows a mound of chicken in a sauce on a bed of rice. The reality isn't too far removed from this, but it's not quite as visually appealing as the picture on the front would have you believe.
The meal comes frozen, and takes 8 minutes to cook in the microwave. You don't actually get a great deal of food on the plate, and if you have a hearty appetite, then two meals are probably going to be what you need to fill you up. The rice is tasty enough, and the chicken part is really nice. There's a little spice kick, but nothing too much, and it doesn't make your throat burn or anything.
The mix of chicken, red peppers, water chestnuts and the spicy sauce are lovely, in fact. I really think this was a bargain meal in terms of the taste. Sure, you don't get a lot of food on the plate, but what you do get tastes great. Nutritionally, it gives you around the 500 calory mark just for this meal, and it's quite high in sugars as well. Ready meals aren't really the most ideal thing for calory counting, but if you need a meal that's quick and hassle free to make, then this is a good option to go for. Sharwood's do a decent range of food, with condiments as well as meals, and this is just as good as others I have had, and I recommend trying it.
I'm not usually a fan of chinese ready meals as they never usually taste anything like the chinese dishes which you might have from a chinese restaurant or a take-away. However, it was lunch time at work, i was very hungry and these ready meals were on offer at my local tesco, priced at £1, so I thought I would give one a try.
The packaging is very attractively decorated with the incorporation of traditional eastern colours and designs, and the nutritional information clearly displayed on the front. There is also an illustration to show how the food will when cooked, which is actually quite accurate.
The meal was cooked using a microwave, which took no time at all (timing depends on power of microwave). The smells whilst it was cooking were making my mouth water, so I couldn't wait to try it.
Once the dish was served on to the plate you could see the very reasonably size chunks of chicken and they were tender as the box described. There was also crunchy red peppers, water chestnuts and onion in the Szechuan sauce. The sauce wasn't too spicy at all and was very tasty. I think this dish would be enjoyed by most people.
The draw back to the meal is that it's not a very healthy option. There are over 500 calroies in the dish and whopping 33.1 grams of sugar. However on the plus side, there are no artificial flavourings or colourings and no hydrogenated fat.
Sharwoods Spicy Szechuan Chicken with Rice Meal is part of a new range of frozen ready meals produced by the popular brand Sharwoods who are probably best known for producing noodles, stir fry sauces and chutneys. The new range is called Taste of China and also includes a Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice Meal and a Chicken in Black Bean Sauce with Rice Meal.
The meal comes in a plastic tray with cellophane over the top, packaged in a cardboard box. The box describes the meal as 'Tender pieces of chicken breast in a spicy Szechuan sauce, with red peppers, water chestnuts and onion'. The box has a scrummy looking picture of the finished meal on the front, along with a pair of chopsticks to give it a Chinese vibe! I must admit I eat mine with a knife and fork though!
The meal is really easy to cook. It doesn't have to be defrosted first so it's really convenient as you don't have to plan ahead. You can just take it out of the freezer and cook it in either the oven or the microwave. I always put it in the microwave and it takes just nine minutes which makes it a very fast and simple meal.
Once the meal is on the plate it smells great and you can see straight away that unlike some ready meals where the 'meat' part is mostly sauce, there are quite a few good sized chunks of chicken in it. The taste of the meal is lovely, it has a bit of a kick to it but it is not too spicy for me and I would think most people would be able to handle the spice. The rice is pleasant, the meat seems of a reasonable quality and the vegetables are tasty and crunchy.
The only drawback to this meal is that it has 550 calories and a huge 33.1 grams of sugar. This is a massive amount of sugar and is quite shocking really. However the box does say that there are no artificial flavourings or colourings and no hydrogenated fat which is a good thing.
Normally this meal will cost between £1.50 and £2, but it is currently on offer at Asda along with the rest of the range for just £1 which I think makes it a great bargain.