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coconut milk

 

Cheap is expensive.

 

VERY EXPENSIVE.

 

How many times have you been told that? But do you listen? NO.

 

I know cheap is expensive. In fact most time I will not buy cheap brands but sometimes the Kikuyu in me just can not resist what SEEMS like a bargain. The key word there is SEEMS.


So a couple of months ago as I was doing my usual shopping for coming back to Kakuma. Remember when you would shop before boarding school? Yes it’s more or less the same, 2 soaps, 3 tissues, quencher juice, tooth paste, blueband etc. Anyway I digress  back to my shopping. I always get coconut milk so when I got to them I noticed there was a new brand. As we all know coconut milk is not cheap some go for as much as 350 a can. For a girl who needs at least 5 that adds up to at least 1500 shillings. So when I saw one that cost about 200, do not remember the exact price just that it was around 100 shillings cheaper than most, I got very curious.

 

So in my head I wondered why it was so much cheaper. But again I rationalized that coconut milk is coconut milk. You know the way canned sweet corn is canned  sweet corn and canned mushrooms is canned mushrooms. I told my self that it can’t be that bad maybe just a little bit lighter but boy was I wrong.

 

So I picked my 5 cans of KENTASTE coconut milk. WORST MISTAKE EVER!! GOSH!! First time I cooked with it my food tasted funny, so I said maybe it the spices second time same thing and the smell was also not that appealing. So I decided to open one can and just look at it and when I smelled it, it smelled like chemicals. So I opened a can of another brand don’t remember which one and the difference was ALARMING. So I poured out the Kentaste. I put the thought at the back of my head till a few months ago when I was visiting a friend. I was going to cook so I carried my ingredients and found that they had Kentaste but thank God I had carried my own coconut milk on explaining the difference and showing them my friend agreed.

 

Now yesterday, after like 4 months, I decided to make Mahamris. I remembered the Kentaste and thought that maybe I could use that coz the flour, sugar and cardamom would surely mask the taste. I opened a can and felt sick immediately. I was a punget annoying disgusting eeeew smell with a hint coconut. So what I decided not to use it. I opened a can of Royal Umbrella Coconut milk and WOW what I got was a nice rich coconut smell that was pure white.

 

If you look at the photo below closely you can actually see the difference in colour.

 

coconut milk

Royal Umbrella is a rich white color while Kentaste looks diluted. To be honest the smell of Kentaste on its own and in food is really disgusting so I poured it out.

 

Do not buy it. Yes it cheap. Yes it Kenyan. We would love to support local industries but they also need to step up and give us good quality products that compete well with the rest.

 

PLEASE NOTE

I am not marketing Royal Umbrella it is not the coconut milk I always use, its just what I had yesterday. They have not paid me to advertise them nor has anyone paid me for this review. I am not saying you should use Royal Umbrella just that you SHOULD NOT use KENTASTE. The opinions on this post are MY OWN

 

Kenyan food blogger-African food blogger-

Photo from Alarabiya.net

 

This post is many many months overdue. I had promised to do one for my novice cooks friends and bachelors who wanted to know what they should stock their pantries with. My gal Mo actually came to my house about 2 months ago and said she was tired of waiting and she made me write the list down for her. I have gotten a couple of queries for this post as well so when I got another request last week from Bree, one of my readers, I knew it was time to get in it.

Now, sometimes I hear people talk about spices as if they are a bad thing, as though using spices in your food is a mistake. IT IS NOT. Herbs and spices are your friends; they complement your cooking and baking. They make food taste better and enhance the flavour of the dish you’re making. I hope you will all experiment with more herbs and spices and not just Royco. HAPPY COOKING!!

Basic Cook

  • Royco
  • Black pepper: Add to your food for a peppery taste, it’s great with pasta or potatoes. I also use it so as to use less salt in my food.
  • Ground garlic: it’s a decent substitute for fresh garlic, also use it when boiling your potatoes to add flavour,
  • Ground ginger: This is also a decent substitute for fresh ginger, makes great tea and when added to food it gives a great flavour
  • Tea masala
  • Fish masala: add to your fresh or canned fish when making a stew or when frying them.
  • Chicken Masala (Make sure its Nature’s own brand): add to your normal chicken stew, the flavour is amazing, you can also add a little bit of coconut milk. YUM!
  • Cinnamon: for your tea, milk, cakes, pancakes, some meat dishes
  • Turmeric: to add color to any curry you’d like to make
  • Rosemary : for tea and it’ s also great for marinades.
  • Knorr spicy beef and chicken cubes. And knorr sukuma wiki beef cubes
  • Curry Powder

For the experimental cook

  • Garam Masala: great for stews and curries
  • Cumin Seeds: Great for curries and rice
  • Cayenne pepper: I prefer this to normal chilies as its quite hot
  • Coriander Powder : good for curries and stews
  • Jeera Powder: this is ground cumin seeds, also good for curries and marinades
  • Mixed Spice: Used in baking, you might see it in some recipes as pumpkin pie spice
  • Cardamon seeds and powder: for tea and baking
  • All Spice: I’m still learning how to use this. Its flavour is very strong. Use it for baking, stews, curries and marinades
  • Bay leaves: good for stews and curries
  • Tandoori Masala: this is ooh so delicious. Mix it with natural yogurt, some chilli and maybe cumin and use it as a marinade for your roast chicken.
  • Chillie
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Garlic salt: if you love garlic this is great for flavouring your food
  • Aromat: I especially like the spicy beef flavour
  • Meat tenderiser: pour some on your tough cuts of meat leave for at least 30 minutes and it makes your meat softer.
  • Cream of tartar
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder

 

Sauces

  • Soy sauce: get low sodium if your watching your salt.
  • Fish sauce: I love this sauce, it’s great for Asian dishes, the flavour it adds to food is out of this world. Take care of the salt you add to food though as this sauce is very salty.
  • Teriyaki Sauce: add this to your chicken with some brown sugar and you have a meal
  • Sweet Chilli sauce: good for stir fries or use it as a dipping sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce: great for meats and also a good substitute for tamarind (ukwaju)

 

Paste

Here you can be as experimental as you like. One paste I never miss is for red thai curry (ill post a recipe soon) pastes are great for when you want to impress but realy can not to bothered to cook from scratch. Most times you just need to add the meat to the paste, in some you may also need coconut milk. I honestly think they are lifesavers. Go to Nakumatt and look at their selection they have a very wide range.

NB:

  1. I tend to buy nature’s own masalas. I know there is a difference with the chicken Masalas, so I just tend to buy all my masalas from nature’s own the rest I do Tropical heat or either of the 2  any brands. BUT other than the chicken masala I can not say that the other masalas are not good or better. I do sometimes use Robertsons for “special spices”
  2. For spices that you do not use often buy the smaller tins as ground spices loose their flavour after about 6 months.
  3. Store away from direct sunlight or heat
  4. Spices are better when bought whole. If you can buy whole spices eg cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander etc and grind them yourself. The flavour will be stronger. Apart from flavour whole spices also keep their flavour for up to a year as compared to the ready ground that last just 6 months.
  5. There so many spices at the supermarkets to choose from you can start with the above then brunch out from there. The possibilities for your food is virtually endless

What spices do you love to use?

HAPPY COOKING!!