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Last night I really did not have the time or energy to cook a meal! I currently work at home for my partner who works for a major football club and I was constantly writing letters, printing, sorting out booking forms. Basically I was working non stop when he got in at 3pm. Now I don't mind but when it then comes to cooking a meal neither of us want to do anything! However, we already had chicken breasts in the fridge and a jar of Sharwoods Cantonese Sweet & Sour sauce in the cupboard together with rise and hey presto a quick meal!
I'm quite a fan of the Sharwoods range and I have never been let down by any of their products so I'm more than happy to buy them over and over again. Fortunately Sharwoods is often on offer at most supermarkets so you can always pick up a bargain. Sweet and sour is a favourite of ours and the Sharwoods sauce always provides a great meal.
*** Sharwoods ***
Sharwoods is a British company which started way back in 1889 it was acquired in 1963 by the company known as RHM (Rank Hovis McDougall) which was later merged with Premier Foods in March 2007. Sharwoods specialise in Indian, Chinese and Thai foods such as ingredients and sauces.
*** Packaging ***
Sharwoods Cantonese Sweet and Sour cook in sauce is in the easily recognisable square clear glass jar which has a black screw top lid together with an orange label with the Sharwoods logo. The label is simple yet tells you exactly what the sauce is.
*** Cooking the Sauce ***
The instructions are on the back of the jar together with a recipe tip but it isn't rocket science to use this sauce. I simply cooked the chicken, cut into strips and poured in the sauce and heated it through. Boiling the sauce can lead to impairment of flavour and it can also burn to the bottom of your saucepan! The sauce literally takes a few minutes to heat through.
*** Result ***
As soon as I opened the jar I could instantly smell the sweetness in the sauce. It is incredibly fruity which is lovely. The sauce contains small pieces of pepper, water chestnuts and pineapple chunks which apart from giving a nice texture they also add to the flavour. I don't normally like warm pineapple but it really suits this sauce. I'm a huge fan of water chestnuts and tend to add more in as apart from being really good for you they add a bit of crunch.
The sauce is quite thick and they say a jar will serve 4 people which I have to say I would question as there is only two of us and managed to use the whole jar but we do like a lot of the sauce as we generally have rice with it. The sauce is a vibrant burnt orange colour and eventually becomes slightly thinner when cooked which is better as it isn't gloopy. I find that the chicken is kept nice and moist with the sauce and the sauce actually keeps incredibly warm after it has been served which is nice as some sauces can go quite cold.
I find this sauce more sweet than sour as it contains the pineapple chunks and pineapple concentrated juice but it isn't overly sweet as it has that sour note to it due to the ginger and garlic which is in it. I sometimes find with a cook in sauce that I enjoy it for a few mouthfuls and then I find I actually don't like it but with this sauce I enjoyed the whole meal I think this is partly down due to the add extras within the sauce giving it a nice texture and of course the sauce has a lovely fruity taste.
*** Ingredients ***
Water, Sugar, Water Chestnut (8%), Pineapple (7%), Barley Malt Vinegar, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Tomato Purée, Concentrated Pineapple Juice (3.5%), Modified Starch, Salt, Ginger Purée, Garlic Purée, Sesame Oil, Colour (Paprika Extract)
*** Nutritional Information ***
Calories - 105
Fat - 0.5g
Sugar - 17.5g
Salt - 0.9g
Allergy advice: contains barley, gluten and sesame seeds.
*** Price and Availability ***
Tesco - £1.42
Sainsburys - £1.46
Asda - £1.42
*** Overall ***
I have been buying and using this sauce for a few years as it never fails to provide a quick tasty meal. The sugar content in the sauce is quite high but for the occasional meal it doesn't cause any harm. I tend to put more vegetables with the sauce such as baby corn, mange tout to make it a bit more interesting but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is short of time and looking for a great, flavoursome meal.
As I am always looking for healthy food choices and lower calorie food types, I find Sharwoods Sweet and Sour very good for my needs.
I like to add Sweet and Sour sauce to chicken and it is also very tasty and goes very well alongside stir frys and is also very good served with noodles.
The sauce is very mild giving off a fruity sweet and sour taste, it contains pineapple, peppers and water chestnuts which really give it that unique taste as though you have just ordered from a chinese takeaway.
The sauce is just perfect with chicken added, it also sits very well with pork and also certain types of fish can be added for that person who likes experimenting with foods.
With all types of sharwoods sauces you pay that little bit extra for the quality and once again sweet and sour sauce delivers.
A jar of the sauce will usually set you back about £2 and can be purchased from most major supermarkets, grocery stores and corner shops. A jar is 425g and can easily feed a family of 4 when added to other ingredients to make lunch, dinner or tea.
A 140g serving yields 147 Kcal so you are looking at about 420 Kcal per jar, this is pretty low when spread amongst a few people and the taste is most definately worth it.
You can find a list o all the ingredients below:
Water, Sugar, Water Chestnuts, Pineapple, Barley Malt Vinegar, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Concentrted Tomato Puree, Concentrated Pineapple Juice, Modified Starch, Salt, Ginger Puree, Garlic Puree, Sesame Oil, Colour: Paprika Extract.
Sharwoods Sweet and Sour Sauce is a brand which I will stay with as it isn't too rich and provides the perfect flavour to a well prepared dish. Another must try sauce.
Because I'm cooking on a tight budget, I don't usually buy sauces - I try to make my own. However, my husband bought this one and I found it in the fridge. Looking at the jar, I was surprised that it is quite low in calories. It suggests using it for 2 - this will mean about 110 kcal per person. But I think the sauce could probably go as far as 4 people, which would work out as 55kcal per serving.
I followed the recipe suggested on the jar - brown some thinly chopped pork fillet, add sliced red pepper and pineapple chunks and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with spring onions and noodles. It didn't take long (about 15 minutes) and it tasted great! The sauce is quite a bright red colour which is a little bit worrying, but it's not artificial - it's only from tomatoes and paprika.
It tastes sweet and fruity, but I think it is worth using something sharp like spring onions to contrast with the stickiness. Given that it only cost £1, it doesn't seem worth trying to make my own sauce now! It's not as sickly as some other sweet and sour sauces. It's also great if you're cooking for 1 or 2, as the jar is a lot smaller than most. It's actually a great size to keep and use if you make jam or chutney. I was impressed that it didn't include any artificial flavours or colourings. I would have liked it to include some vegetables, because it's not exactly rich in nutrients but you can always add your own as I did. It was great to make fast, and I think it's worth keeping some in the fridge for when you realise you need to go out in 1/2 an hour but you need to eat first!
As a mother of a teenage son I regularly find I am cooking for more than I bargained for - the girlfriends and male friends regularly seem to congregate round mine at tea time! In this time of financial uncertainty I now buy various sauces when they are on buy one get one free or half price as these often are and freeze portions of turkey or chicken when on offer so I don't have panic stations when finding I am feeding the "five thousand" so to speak.
Sharwoods is one of my favourite sauces. The sweet and sour one costs £1.34 for 195g in Tesco at the moment full price but is often on promotion which is when I stock up. Coming in a glass jar with screw top lid it is a very rich almost red looking sauce containing pineapple juice . a hint of ginger and other spices. This is a good low fat option as half a jar only contains 0.1g of fat and 112kcal.
How do you use it and what is it like?
I will use 1 jar for a maximum of 4 people. First I heat my frying pan with a little olive oil and then add my diced meat - turkey, chicken or beef and fry until it is sealed all over. Then I pour in the sauce which is very smooth and rich with a nice mix of spices and a definate hint of the pineapple in it. It pours very easily and none seems to get stuck in the bottom as with some other brands. If I have any peppers or mushrooms in need of using up I will add these at the same time as the chicken to bulk it out a little. Then simply stir away until all the meat is coated and then I let it simmer very gently whilst stirring regularly for around 15 mins. I serve with rice and salad.
This sweet and sour sauce seems to be the perfect blend in my opinion - not overly sweet as I found some prepared sauces to be.
A tip I use - I freeze my meat into individual portions having bought when on offer, then if I find I am cooking for more than I thought I take the meat out (I dice it before freezing) and drop into a bowl or sink of cold water - it defrosts really quickly and avoids taking out too much or too little meat in the morning
I'd never even thought about using this until one of my housemates cooked for us once and it was delicious, this being the secret ingredient!! She didn't use this sweet and sour sauce, but noseying round the supermarket I came across two flavours I love: sweet chilli and this sweet and sour.
It comes in a pretty large jar, I'd say you'd get about 3-4 meals out of it depending on how much you use. You can store it in the cupboard until opened, but it keeps for a good few weeks in the fridge once opened.
The sauce is a good consistency - not too thick it's sickly, but not runny and watery either. The sweet and sour taste is just like the kind you'd find in a Chinese restaurant in a nice dish.
I personally use this just for stir frys, just chopping up some fresh veg, throwing in a bit of frozen and then adding the sauce. As I don't like using cooking oil, I find that I don't need to use any at all when I'm cooking with this sauce, making it that bit healthier. Because of this, I add some sauce to cook the veg with, then add more to heat through once the veg is pretty much cooked.
Whenever I'm cooking with any of the Sharwoods sauces, people will frequently wander into the kitchen and comment on how nice my cooking smells, which is always good to hear.
This sauce is also quite versatile as you can use a lot and have it as a thick sauce that covers everything properly, or you can use a bit and still get the flavours but still be able to recognise what you're eating. The choice is yours!!
I'm a big fan of convenience when it comes to cooking as I work full time and share a kitchen with 3 other people. By the end of the day I just want something quick and simple, and this sweet and sour sauce to me tastes like restaurant quality and adds a lot of flavour to an otherwise bland meal.
It's available in a range of other flavours too including hoi sin and sweet chilli, which I also love. If you're lucky you'll also catch it on offer but it's quite cheap anyway and will keep a long time.