Coconut Chilli – microwave curry meals

My previous blog post on the Coconut Chilli launch night I attended a few weeks back mentioned that I’ll do a follow up on Coconut Chilli’s microwave meal pots. And today, I’d like to share my experience now that I’ve tried one.

Now I was really sceptical about trying this. For one, it’s a microwave meal and two, it’s an Indian microwave meal! Having these in my own fridge or as part of my eating routine would be straight up incomprehensable.

But being a cook that always tries to take lunch in, and only nips to the odd shop/café when I didn’t have the time to pre-prepare, trying something from a supplier that advertise themselves as offering ‘fresh, chilled meal pots’, sounded like an interesting product to give a go.

Excuse the poor ‘non-professional’ images, this was at work and I weren’t about to get my camera out!

The curry pot was sent by courier and you’ll see on the website (showing you the prices too) that you need to order in advance by 5pm on a Tuesday, to receive them in the same week.

The packaging was nicely presented, though odd with the fur like material in plastic – but it kept the pot in it’s place and it was all very neat and clean. There was also some wrapped up ice underneath, enhancing the freshness of it, so I appreciated that. I like the little personalised message by someone called Mary, cute chilli drawing and all!

As you can see I went for the cardamom chicken, which is one of the cheaper pots (at £4.25) from the selection but also, I love cardamom so it was the first one that caught my eye anyway.

fridge

Off in the fridge it went whilst I went back to work. Glad it arrived around 11am so I had something to look forward to..! But something to keep in mind, it arrived on 16th September, but the back stated that the use by date was the 20th, so it was nice to know I didn’t have to eat it that day if I didn’t want to.

Lunchtime!

microwave-pot

Taking the pot out the cardboard package, it was good to see that there’s a decent amount of rice (which almost seemed like too much rice), some chicken, plus some different colours going on with the squash, tomato and coriander.

So going with the instructions of basically sticking it in the microwave for a few minutes, stirring halfway, then leaving it to rest when done, it was definitely quick and easy like any other microwave meal…

This could’ve been eaten from the pot, but I wanted to see how much this came out to on a plate – mainly to judge the rice and chicken ratio, as I wouldn’t have been impressed if it was mainly rice.

coconut-chilli-dish

But there you have it, a pretty good balance of rice and chicken. And if you can see the black dots, that was pretty much cardamom – so it was definitely cardamom-y, which I was very happy about. It almost seemed too wet with water in the pot, but you can see that actually it evaporated in the microwave – which is handy to have seen because when I cook curries, adding a bit of water prevents the curry from drying out.

This is also probably why the chicken was still quite tender, and as far as microwave meals go, this is really good quality. Especially when there’s always a stigma against microwavable meals because let’s face it, they’re always below average. But I don’t think I would put this amongst that ‘urgh, microwave meal’ category. It could almost set a standard in it’s own right as a microwavable meal with it’s different approach and entirely different outcome.

The only barrier I see with this is that you need to order quite a few at a time, but maybe the way around it is if you team up with people, perhaps if there’s a big meeting due or you know it’s a busy period and you know you’ll want something with a home made touch, but quick and easy, order a few and know it’s there waiting for you when needed.

All in all, if microwave meals were fresh tasting with proper ingredients being used, then we wouldn’t have such a stigma against them. Maybe this is the new take microwave meals need, where they can adapt to our need for fast food that’s still healthy, and to be tasty rather than a ‘that’ll do’ type of lunch. So thanks for giving me a refreshing view on microwave meals Coconut Chilli!

Please note: I was sent this product for free so did not pay for it. However, this did not impact my opinions or enthusiasm about the food, and neither did they see this review before it went up.

 

 

 

 

Coconut Chilli Launch

Last month, I had the pleasure of being invited to an exclusive pop-up event which was being held by Navina Bartlett (aka Founder and Boss Lady) of the startup food business, Coconut Chilli. They provide South Indian curry pots which are made with fresh ingredients and then chilled. They even do an office delivery service – so it’s well worth checking out for future lunchtime needs!

The night was held at the very idyllic location, Spoke and Stringer, which was a perfect venue for it’s easy going and friendly atmosphere, with a dash of Bristolian style and urban interior. It’s the kind of place you’d escape the city from, tucked away from the noise and holding great views of boats, sun and sky…

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Navina happily chatting with all the diners throughout the night

The food  was right in line with what I needed that night – an array of many dishes full of colour, texture and most importantly, flavour.

8

Aloo Tikki – potato and pea croquettes served with a tangy tamarind chutney

This was one tasty dish to have started with. Instantly comforting with a lightly spiced potato, with a sour note from tamarind and fresh burst of flavour from coriander chutney. I love yogurt and raw onions on these typical comforting Indian dishes as they are able to balance out any heat and bring an element of zing and crunch. I think I ate this within 10 seconds!

11

Boneless Chicken Shashlick – morsels of marinated chicken

This cute portion of tender, very well flavoured pieces of chicken over onions and peppers and topped with coriander went very well with my little Chase Distillery cocktail there. This second dish gave me the impression that there was a lot of emphasis on fresh, flavoursome ingredients, and I was very much looking forward to even more…

13

Marinated Paneer and Pepper Tandoori Skewers

Why yes, that is another drink next to the dish.

I think I could eat paneer in literally anything… I don’t know if it’s because Mum never made it (as she didn’t like it for some odd reason that I’ll never understand), so it was always a treat when I did eat it.

So I was very happy with this dish, clearly. The soft paneer that took flavours well with cooked vegetables – and then a random olive – all in all pretty much making you wish there was more. But remember, they were small dishes so you can’t complain! Ok, waiting patiently for the next one…

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Duck Kofta – superbly spiced & tender minced duck

I love duck for always being a rich, strong flavoured meat, but I’ve never had it with Indian spices. These were very light and gently eased out flavours of what I believe was cardamom and star anise. So it was great to try something different as someone who eats Indian food most days.

20

Seasonal Vegetable Filo Parcels with Cashews and Raisins

These filo parcels were very interesting. Taking me back to some home cooking with sweetness in savoury dishes like lentil kachori for instance, and it working so well. The crunchy pastry with a soft filling but cashews and raisins making up for something to get your teeth into, this was another dish that was different, but also, it gave me some sense of roots as it reminded me of some home snacks.

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Tender Morsels of Fried Fish coated in Amritsari Spiced Batter

Here’s one of the great Indian battered fish snacks you can get in places like Bristol Sweet Mart, based in Easton. It’s anything you’d expect of a battered fish and I was pleased that the fish was nice and soft and the batter full of spices and from what I could get was black pepper and cumin.

23

Coorgi Biriyani with Cucumber, Mint & Pomegranate Raita

Just when you think it’s the end of the night as the small dishes were done, but yet, you know you still feel a bit hungry and want more – the biriyani comes out.

Oh what a biriyani it was. I’m a huge fan of this instantly well known rice dish that’s probably in most Indian restaurants. But this was not one that you’d find in a typical curry house or whatnot, this was like the homemade stuff I eat at home. Fragrantly spiced, coated in oils and spices I imagine seeped out of the chicken juices (which has to leave a clean glaze on your lips, otherwise you’re not eating it right) with more tender chicken and of course, the cashew nuts on top helping each mouthful feel taken care of and satisfied. Yeah, this was great.

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Carrot and Almond Halva served with Local Chew Moos Bourbon Vanilla Ice-cream

Ok, just the description tells you this was good and I should mention that the halva was warm and with the ice-cream, you can’t really go wrong can you? Although halva isn’t always the first dessert I’d choose to make or eat out, but this was a very welcoming way to end this meal.

All in all, I was very happy with the versatile dishes that were presented, the vibrant flavours, a chance to try some new things and even having moments of being taken back to Mum’s home cooking…

I will definitely be ordering a curry pot and shall look forward to sharing my thoughts on the next blog post.

If you want to try out the curry pots yourself, go to Coconut Chilli’s website and check out the full range, which are now available to buy online.

Please note: I was invited to this launch and did not pay for my meal. However, this did not impact my opinions or enthusiasm about the food, and neither did they see this review before it went up.