Product Review: Encona Sauces

I refer to myself as a lazy cook.

That’s not to say I hit the microwave meals every night I’m home. More that if I can find a cheat’s way that works just as well as a longer way, I’ll use it. If I can find something that will help me create something nutritious and (more importantly) taste good, again, I’ll use it. 

So it’s no surprise that I love a good spicy sauce or two. Used in the right way they can be an addition to your finished dish (good mango chutney and a curry), they can be a quick add when you’re missing an ingredient (Tabasco in the place of fresh chillies) or simply dip into – yes we’re back to the mango chutney but with poppadums this time. Or maybe even Thai crackers and chilli sauce. 

And it’s no secret that I love spice. I have a (big) bottle of sriracha both at work and at home. I adore sambal – that sweet, salty, crunchy so-hot-it-sets-your-mouth-on-fire heat. And I adore kimchi. 

So when Encona asked if they could send me something spicy, I had to say yes. Again, I’m no stranger to their sauces – what would ackee and saltfish, or brown chicken stew be without a bottle of pepper sauce to add to the spice.

Whatever the level of heat you prefer, there’s a sauce style for you – because they’re not just about spice. Even those described as ‘hot’ have a real fruitiness to them. 

For me, they can be a the best friend of a lazy cook.



Marinade chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer) in a sauce of your choice, chuck it in the oven for 20 minutes, and you’ve got a quick, tasty dinner. Just add salad and a baked potato and you’re done, or add chips for a spicy take on chicken and chips. 

I even made a (very) lazy (and inauthentic I’m pretty damn certain) pepperpot stew with the Extra Hot Pepper Sauce – adding it to the beef and vegetables, along with thyme, allspice and a bay leaf before leaving it to cook slowly for a couple of hours. 

But my favourite dish of the weekend was something based on a recipe of my mum’s. Marinades are a great way to add flavour with naff all effort, and as I had heat and pepper, all I needed was a little help from my store cupboard for a Thai inspired stir fry. It’s easy, tasty, and I bet you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen at home. 


Thai Inspired Stir Fry

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2


  • 300 g Beef sliced into strips you could use chicken or pork if preferred
  • 2 tbsp Encona Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Encona Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce or chilli jam
  • 2 tbsp Sake or rice wine or dry sherry, or even vodka
  • 4 tbsp Soy sauce
  • Small piece ginger grated about 1cm
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • Pack of stir fry vegetables
  • Pack of ready to wok noodles or dry noodles soaked in boiling water until almost cooked


  1. Put everything except the oil, vegetables, noodles and beef into a bowl, dish or tub.
  2. Mix until combined.
  3. Add the beef and cover.
  4. Put into the fridge - preferably overnight, but anything from 30 minutes will do.
  5. When ready to cook, heat the oil in a wok.
  6. Add the beef, keeping the marinade reserved in the dish/tub.
  7. Cook the beef for three minutes, stirring, then add the vegetables.
  8. Cook the vegetables for a minute, then add the noodles, and the reserved marinade.
  9. Cook til the marinade has formed a sauce, coated the noodles, the beef is cooked and you can't resist it any longer and you need to eat it all.
  10. Enjoy.

Recipe Notes

You can cook the beef as a separate stand alone dish, simply omit the vegetables and noodles.



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