Coconut Chilli Meal Pots: Review

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Coconut Chilli meal pots

 

You may recognise the name Navina Bartlett from former Bristol-based street food collective StrEAT – but now she’s taken a new tack and has launched a range of Indian-inspired heat-and-eat meal pots under her Coconut Chilli brand.

The four different meal pots are available from both the Whiteladies Road market and now also at Gloucester Services (both in the shop and in the petrol station), with more retail outlets to be announced soon. Navina also offers an office delivery service in Bristol, with more details available here. At the time of writing, this is still a brand new venture for Navina, so expect to see these meal pots popping up in more places soon.

These meal pots are inspired by Navina’s visits to her aunt’s Hill Station coffee estate in Coorg, Southern India. Navina fell in love with the cuisine of the area and the ingredients – such as coconuts, chillies, cardamom, pumpkins and more – that are grown there, giving her the idea of creating this mini range.

Each pot is presented in fully recyclable packaging: a cardboard outer containing a plastic pot and lid. Each of the cardboard pots has a space in the top (the shape of which matches Coconut Chilli’s branding perfectly) that allows you to see the fresh ingredients inside.

 

 

Coconut Chill meal pots - top

 

Every single one of the four Coconut Chilli meal pot varieties is gluten free, and all four contain no artificial colours, preservatives or flavours. Each is served on a bed of basmati rice, and garnished with fresh ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, coconut shavings, coriander and pomegranate – there’s no denying that they’re all beautifully presented.

The four options include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices, with different heat levels to suit different palates.

We began with the mildest – the Shrimp and coconut milk korma with crunchy cashews. Heating the pot up was simple: we just needed to remove the lid from the pot and heat in the microwave, stirring halfway through.

As soon as we took the pot out of the microwave, we could smell the shrimp and coconut immediately. I’m not normally one to choose a korma, but this pot was pepped up nicely by the addition of fresh coriander. We were impressed by the generous number of prawns that the pot contained, which were lovely and juicy – and the contrasting textures of all of the ingredients were fantastic. The only downside was that the flavour of the cashews didn’t really come through, and we would have liked more of a crunch to the nuts.

 

Coconut Chill meal pots - Shrimp

 

Moving up the heat scale, we tried the Root vegetable, mooli and lentil sambhar with a piquant hint of chilli next. This vegetarian pot had a lovely kick of chilli, but was, to be honest, our least favourite of the four. We weren’t as impressed with the texture compared with the shrimp pot – it was drier, and felt a little sandy in the mouth. Good flavours, though.

 

Coconut Chill meal pots - Root Vegetable

 

Onto number three – the Cardamom scented chicken and succulent, seasonal squash. While this has the same heat rating as the vegetarian pot, it was MUCH hotter, so be warned! As soon as the pot came out of the microwave, the smell of the cardamom was evident, and it added a beautiful flavour to the chicken too. As with the shrimp pot, the quantity of chicken was generous, but with the heat of the green chilli, we could barely taste the squash. All in all, this was our favourite of the four pots, but we felt that the pomegranate jewels that were sprinkled on top may have been better if served in a separate package and sprinkled on top of the pot after cooking, rather than being microwaved.

 

Coconut Chill meal pots - Chicken

 

Onto the final pot, and the one with the highest heat rating of the four. Surprisingly, though, the Lamb and black pepper keema meatballs in spicy coconut gravy didn’t seem anywhere near as hot as the chicken dish. It still had a lovely kick from the red chilli garnish, but the gravy itself, while full of flavour, didn’t pack as much of a punch as we were expecting. Again, the quantity of lamb in the pot was generous, but we felt that the lamb meatballs themselves were a little underseasoned, with most of the flavour coming from the gravy.

 

Coconut Chill meal pots - Lamb

 

And what about pricing? Well, all four varieties are available in 200g pots, with a recommended retail price of £4.25 each. The lamb and chicken pots are also available in 300g versions, which retail at £5.25 per pot. The price may seem high, but with fresh ingredients (the use by date is just five days from the date on which the contents are made, but each variety can be frozen) and no nasties, it’s understandable. A great idea for a quick lunch or dinner from an up-and-coming local brand, but not something that I think I’ll personally be buying on a regular basis.

For more information, visit the Coconut Chilli website.

 

 

Please note: these meal pots were received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and Coconut Chilli did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

 

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