Jan 13
Gluten Free Sweet Mandarin Sauces
posted by: Gomez in Products on Jan 13th, 2013 | |

Sweet Mandarin SaucesI’ve never really paid a lot of attention to the small part of the supermarket aisle dedicated to gluten free products, not being gluten intolerant myself. Although I’ve seen a few small producers championing their gluten free ranges, which I’m sure are excellent, I doubt I would have chosen a gluten free product over a standard one. So despite the fact that I’m aware that there are increasing number of such products available, they have still remained something that I’ve very little interest in.

However, when an old friend brought his American, gluten intolerant, wife over to the UK to stay with us for a few days it wasn’t long before the question of where can we source gluten-free products was raised. Fortunately, our local supermarket stocked a reasonably good range.

I was quite surprised to learn that in comparison to America, not only did our little Valleys supermarket stock an excellent range of gluten-free goods, but that, in her opinion; they were infinitely superior to the ones she was able to source back in the USA. Whilst I admit to a smattering of British pride, in this age of globalised food brands I couldn’t quite believe this to be so, nevertheless she assured me that it was true.

So when the nice people at Sainsbury’s offered me the chance to try some gluten-free sweet Mandarin sauces, I was keen to take them up on the offer. Manchester based Sweet Mandarin, is owned by sisters Helen, Lisa and Janet Tse and was the winner of the best local Chinese restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s F word for 2009 – 2010. Sweet Mandarin produces three varieties of sauce: Sweet Chilli, Sweet and Sour and also Barbecue.

Twin sisters Helen and Lisa appeared on Dragon’s Den and secured £50,000 worth of funding from Dragons Duncan Bannatyne and Hillary Devey in exchange for a 40% stake of their sauce venture. The sauces were developed in response to demand from customers suffering with coeliac disease. Gluten triggers a reaction in people with this condition and so the sauces are gluten-free and contain no monosodium glutamate, artificial colourings or preservatives. All of the sauces are made of the restaurant with 1000 bottles a day currently being produced. They also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Whilst branded as dipping sauces, they can also be used in a variety of other ways such as marinades. At the end of this post I’ve even included a recipe for a Bloody Barbecue Mary. We chose to use the sauce as a marinade for pork, but skipped the traditional Sweet and Sour and opted for a Sweet Chilli instead.

As this was the first time we tried the sauce, we decided to use it straight from the bottle with no enhancements in order for us to be able to judge the true flavour. We simply took some pork chops from our local butcher and marinated them in the sweet chilli sauce for about half an hour. We then seared them on both sides, in an ovenproof frying pan. We then added a little water to thin the sauce and stop it ‘catching’ before transferring the pan to a hot oven (200° C) for about 10 min.

The sauce worked very well with the pork chops, producing a sweetness with a nice mild chilli heat. I was pleased that the heat from the chilli was mild, as it’s much easier to add extra chilli if that should be your taste than to try and take it away if it isn’t.

Pork with Sweet Mandarin  Sweet Chilli Sauce

Pork with Sweet Mandarin Sweet Chilli Sauce

The more adventurous cooks amongst us will find that the sauces are also a great base to build upon. You could easily thin them with oil or soy sauce, add extra chilli, lemon, lime or coriander to make many variations on the theme.

One thing is for certain, you don’t need to be gluten intolerant in order to find these Sweet Mandarin sauces a useful addition to the store cupboard.

Sweet Mandarin Sauces are available from branches of Sainsbury’s UK Wide.

And now the barbecue bloody Mary recipe I promised you:

Bloody Barbecue Mary
Cook time
Total time
A great way to dispel the morning after blues!
Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 1
  • 2 part vodka
  • 2 part tomato juice
  • 1 part Sweet Mandarin Barbecue Sauce
  1. Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake it and then shake it again for luck.
  3. Pour and drown your Hangover.


The Sweet Mandarin Sauces used in this post were supplied free of charge by Sainsbury’s.

One Response to “Gluten Free Sweet Mandarin Sauces”

  1. @gomezadams @babettesffest Thank you for the lovely review

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