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I miss Chinese food terribly. Because soy sauce is fermented with wheat it is therefore laced with gluten and makes much of a loved cuisine a no go area for Coeliacs. Thankfully the Japanese developed tamari, which is naturally gluten free and can be used as a direct replacement in cooking and seasoning.

But why make Chinese sauces from scratch when the Sweet Mandarin sisters (recently starring on BBC 2’s Dragon’s Den) make gluten free Chinese sauces. Based on guarded family recipes, these sauces are safe for Coeliacs, and currently include Sweet & Sour, BBQ and Sweet Chilli. Whilst sold as dipping sauces, we have used them as super quick sauces for chicken and duck with great success.

Not one for normally buying ready made sauces these taste authentic and are free from the gloop often associated with the takeaway standard. Whilst many sweet chilli and BBQ sauces are gluten free, its great to know that these ARE certified as so. Hence no checking labels every time! To find out a little more about the ladies behind the brand, they kindly answered a few questions….

  • What was your motivation to develop gluten free dipping sauces

We have a restaurant called Sweet Mandarin and have a large number of Coeliac customers who told me they couldn’t have a Chinese because Chinese cuisine and sauces use gluten. It was thanks to my customers especially John and Jim who asked me to bottle the dipping sauces. Jim said he’d create me a label if I bottled the sauces. When he produced the label, I had to keep my side of the bargain!

  • What’s so different about your sauces?

Sweet Mandarin Sauces have no gluten, no monosodium glutamate and no artificial colours. We also use real chillies for the sweet chilli sauce (and not cheaper substitutes eg. plum) so you can taste the difference.

  • Given the sauces are based on family recipes, were they always naturally gluten free? If not how long did it take to make them safe for coeliacs?

Yes they were always gluten free but to be extra sure, we got Manchester Metropolitan University’s Food Science Laboratories to test them to ensure there was no more than 20 parts of gluten in a million (ppm). We are pleased to confirm there are 0 parts of gluten in our sauces. We also manufacture these sauces using separate utensils, separate cooking equipment and machinery to ensure there is no cross contamination.

  • Some BBQ and Sweet chilli sauces are gluten free, so why did you create ones which are specifically free from wheat, barley and rye?

The BBQ sauces I have seen on the market were not gluten free. Also they are very smokey and don’t have a good taste. The Sweet Chilli sauces I have seen have either had gluten, monosodium glutamate or used ingredients other than fresh chilli, thereby compromising on taste. My sauces aim to be the best in taste and safe for Coeliacs.

  • Given these are sauce recipes from your restaurant, can we eat gluten free in your famous restaurant too?

Yes, we have a specific gluten free menu on line www.sweetmandarin.com

Check out their website www.sweetmandarin.net/site/ for where to pick up products.