It’s always more difficult to write a blog which is based around a single ingredient rather than a whole dish. You can’t really eat a can of coconut milk and say what a glittering success it is as a can of coconut milk. It needs to feed into a dish with a load of other ingredients which have the potential to kill, enhance or mute its presence. Essentially you end up judging it on how successful it is when mixed up with a load of other products. This means I am also reviewing my ability to cook or the quality of the recipe I used, as much as I am the product itself. It’s a minefield this blogging business. Of course the flip side to all this is that great quality ingredients make or break a dish; compare basics pasta to a good quality egg pasta or grey, water filled battery farmed chicken to a firm meaty free range version and you get the point.
But… and it’s a big and controversial but in this food obsessed era we are living in, there are times when pretty much any old version of a product will do. You would not use a 1961 Petrus for the base of your spag bol when you could get away with a Hardy’s Shiraz. Similarly with something like dried chickpeas, I defy even those with the most refined palate to tell the difference between an Asda basic and a Merchant Gourmet version* if they turned up in a chorizo stew. All this is to say, that when it came to judging Levi Root’s Coconut Milk when I used it in some rice and peas to go with my jerk chicken, it was tricky to ascertain if it was any better or worse than any other coconut milk out there would have been.
I opened up the tin and there was a clump of thick, pure, dreamy coconut matter sat on the top of dirty washing up water like milk underneath, this is par for the course with coconut milk and I always find it a bit disconcerting. Using a recipe from everyone’s favourite Jamaican chef – Nigella, I tipped the milk into the pan with some stock, rice, onion, chilli, garlic and black beans and it simmered away for 20 mins. The end product was delicious. The rice was full of flavour from the stock, hot from the chilli and creamy from the coconut milk which also balanced out the heat of the chilli.
I can state with absolute confidence that this was a far more successful dish for having the coconut milk in there. Was it better for having Levi Roots Coconut Milk rather than say Waitrose, or Blue Dragon I can’t really say – but it was definitely cheaper as a tin of Levi’s was only 69p. I can give it no higher recommendation than that.
Levi Roots Coconut Milk 69p for 400ml
8/10 for being everything a coconut milk should be only cheaper.
* I have no idea if Merchant Gourmet actually sell chickpeas