Sharwoods Kung Po Cooking Sauce Review

I’d been gifted a jar of Sharwoods Kung Po Cooking Sauce – my sister buys lots of jars and tinned foods she’ll never get through so each time I visit her she has a turfing out of random jars of cooking sauces and tinned foods.  I come away with a huge bag of surprise goodies and she gets to downsize the food stocks under her stairs!  We both win.

So, I’ve now got a jar of the sauce to use – but, the Sharwood’s Kung Po Cooking Sauce is intended to be used as a stir fry sauce if you read the label and I don’t stir fry food.Sharwoods Kung Po Cooking Sauce Review

But, in actual fact, all this information about sauces for different cooking methods is actually something you can ignore. A sauce is a sauce  – it’s wet and it’s got taste… that means you can actually use it for other forms of cooking.

Now, to be honest, I’ve never eaten Kung Po from a takeaway or in a restaurant. I’m a Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls fan, so, given a menu, that’s what I’d always choose! I’ve no idea therefore how this jar of sauce compares with an actual Chinese Kung Po dish for flavour.

The label describes it as “A sweet & sticky sauce with crunchy water chestnuts”. Not very descriptive! It also says it’s a “medium”, I’m guessing that’s the “how hot is it” rating. But, it’s Sharwoods, they’re a “good brand” so should be edible.

I wanted to use it in my slow cooker, so I just tipped the whole jar in – the smell made me ‘suspicious’ that this might not be the tastiest food I’d ever eaten, but, if you don’t try it you’ll never know.

This jar contains a LOT of sugar – but I’m not bothered by that because sugar intake is a balance and I don’t eat sugar-laden foods all day every day.

The label says that the jar contains:
Tomatoes, Water, Sugar, Barley Malt Vinegar, Water Chestnut (6%), Red Pepper (4%), Dried Glucose Syrup, Modified Maize Starch, Concentrated Pineapple Juice, Ginger Puree, Toasted Sesame Oil, Garlic Puree, Salt, Red Chillies (0.7%), Red Chillies Flakes, Red Chilli Puree, Salt Red Chillies (0.7%) Red Chillies Flakes Red Chilli Puree Colour (Paprika Extract).

Free From: There’s no added MSG and no artificial colours or preservatives. It’s also suitable for vegetarians (not that I am bothered!).

Calories: The whole jar contains 360 calories, as the whole jar serves 3 people.

How to Cook Kung Po Cooking Sauce:
According to the label of the jar, all you do is toss your meat (prawns or chicken pieces) into a hot frying pan and stir fry those until they’re cooked (3-4 minutes), then add the whole jar of sauce and mix it all together in the hot pan for 3 minutes until it’s all hot. You then serve.

However, I don’t use the stove top and I don’t stir fry – so I literally tipped the whole jar into the slow cooker, with my meat. I then kept it on high for an hour, then turned it down low for 6 hours.

The Sharwood’s website suggests that this is great served with prawn crackers. Firstly, I have no prawn crackers and, secondly, I’m not making a stir fry from it – I think a nice plain white rice, or even noodles, will be a great accompaniment.

So, how did it taste? Can you use a stir fry sauce in a slow cooker when the slow cooker simmers it for 6 hours?

In all honesty it was absolutely gorgeous!  I didn’t expect that.  It definitely had a fab spicy taste to it – and is very moreish!  I’d not only eat this again, but, I’d even be prepared to BUY a jar of this cooking sauce!  A lot of food I can “take it or leave it”, but this was definitely a winner!