Multi cuisine

Lockdown special: Kolkata's Nanighar is delivering delectable meals to senior citizens' doorsteps

Sharmistha Ghosal

The lockdown has made us redraw our lifestyle in more ways than one, and our eating habits have definitely gone through a sea change. Besides being conscious about what we eat, COVID-19 and the lockdown have taught us how to rustle up meals independently.

But for many who cannot cook for themselves, having wholesome meals during this period has become a nagging problem, more so, for the senior citizens living alone in the city, who for health reasons, cannot go to the kitchen. Restricted to their homes without assistance, it’s difficult for many among them to even cook a meal on their own. And to cater to this population, Nanighar, a home-food delivery aggregator that serves across the city, has come up with specialised senior citizen meals cooked with all the care and precautions required.

Hygienically packed meals from Nanighar

“Since manpower and transportation are at their lowest yet, our first priority during this hour of crisis is reaching out to the older generation stuck in the hotspots around the city. Till the lockdown is over, we are serving mainly the older citizens, around 20-30 of them, suspending our regular operations. But if someone is in a crisis and requests for food, we try to help out,” offers Debjani Mukherjee, the founder of this nearly one-year-old startup.

Nanighar has more than 200 home-cooks — mostly housewives who cook well — and delivers about 150 meals daily across the city, apart from corporate lunch boxes to the tune of 100-150. What’s most safe about ordering through Nanighar, especially during times like this, is that they don’t depend on other apps for ordering and have their own fleet of transport, ensuring the highest order of hygiene.

“We have our app, Nanighar through which orders are placed. But right now, we are mainly taking orders over phone calls since many older people find it cumbersome and confusing to order online,” adds Debjani.

Debjani Mukherjee

Impressed, we decided to sample their offerings and we were not disappointed. The meal reached us on time and it was a complete contactless delivery. The carefully sealed boxes of fresh homecooked food had generous amounts of daal, shukto, potato fritters, fish and chutney. The items were all light on spice yet high on taste, which is often hard to achieve.

The shukto, a Bengali-style bitter and sweet broth cooked with assorted veggies, usually eaten at the onset of the meal, was well-balanced in flavour with a sweet-tangy aftertaste. The potato fritters with a generous sprinkling of roasted poppy seeds complemented the lightly-cooked moong daal with cauliflowers and we couldn’t help having a second helping. We followed it up with the rohu fish curry, which was probably the lightest version of a fish curry we have tasted.

Mutton Kosha and Pulao from Nanighar

To our amazement, it was not one bit insipid and retained all the strains of the typical spicy fish curry. Besides the regular meals, you can also order single dishes like the delectable prawn malai curry. You get to choose from a wide array of options in their well-curated menu, with the most popular items being bhetki fry, shorshe katla, mutton kosha and chicken stew.

Prices for veg thali Rs 75 and non-veg thali Rs 125. Order through Nanighar app or call at 62899-61646.