Food trend: Our picks of DIY meals kits from Chennai restaurants for hassle-free cooking
Now you can whip up a near-gourmet meal, with minimal cooking time. And it’s all thanks to a new trend inspired by the nationwide lockdown. With more people cooking at home than ever before because of the COVID-19 pandemic (including novice cooks) — some innovative restaurants have swapped out their dine-in menus for DIY meal kits. Pre-measured ingredients, ready-to-go sauces, and marinated meats and veggies take the hassle out of your time in the kitchen. No chopping, measuring or extended periods of pot-stirring required. With all the elements of your dish pre-prepped, it’s simply a matter of assemble or mix and perhaps, a quick pan toss or bake. Here is our pick of DIY meal kits from around the city.
Spaghetti for the soul
Pumpkin Tales in Alwarpet, Chennai recently added a list of DIY meal kits to their takeaway menu — with bestsellers like pizza, pomodoro pasta, burgers and Burmese-inspired khao suey. Also expect par-baked pizza bases, ready-to-go sauces and homemade mutton patties or vegan sausages that come with their increasingly popular burger and hot dog packs (four buns and sausages at INR 990 upwards).
The restaurant has also seen a rise in demand for their freshly baked sourdough and multigrain and wholewheat bread, a great side to their range of frozen soups — which are ready-to-serve after just a few minutes in your microwave. Expect wholesome flavours like a Minestrone, Herbal Chicken, Roasted Fennel and Tomato and, of course, given the name Pumpkin Tales — their signature pumpkin soup!
If you love a tomato base, we recommend you try their quick ’n’ easy Spaghetti Bolognese (INR 990; the kit includes spaghetti, Bolognese sauce, chopped vegetables and cheese) and shakshuka sauce (INR 585), which serves up a fab breakfast with just the addition of eggs from your home pantry. Prices: INR 520 to INR 2,000 approx.
BurgerMan recently launched a DIY grill box for customers to have fun with at home. Hoping to spread joy to customers amidst the lockdown, the kit contains fresh veggies, delicious patties, brown buns and lip-smacking sauces to make the perfect burgers in your home kitchen. All kits come with the brand’s secret special ‘base sauce’ and two popular flavours — BBQ & Mexican! Patty options include Aloo Patty and Chicken. Expect kits of three and four burgers. INR 500 to INR 700. Opt for a Mixed Grill Box (INR 650) to get two veg and two non-veg burgers.
ID by SPI Diners’ week-old Vada Box is what South Indian dreams are made of. Expect three varieties of batter — Medhu Vada, Keerai Vada and Masala Vada — in a single kit. Each variety serves up enough batter for four vadas, so that accounts for 12 vadas in total. These are ready-to-fry, straight of the box and turned out crisp and delicious when we tried them. It comes along with premixes for Coconut chutney and Tomato Onion chutney along with tempering — the latter just requires a quick blitz in your mixie grinder and is good to go! INR 239. In the pipeline are plans for a Dosa box, Idly box, Pesarattu box and Idiyappam box, INR 200 to INR 250; two new boxes will be released every Friday.
Radio Room is making it possible for patrons to re-create favourites off their menu, at home. Their Do-It-Yourself boxes consist of seven veg (INR 450 nett) and nine non-veg options (INR 550 nett). Our picks off the list are Curry Leaf Fish Finger, Mint Coriander Shrimp Kebab, Peri Peri Prawns, Thayir Sadham Fritters and Beetroot Galouti. Each box can feed two to three people. They also have mixed platters with larger quantities that serve four to six, veg at INR 1,400 nett and non-veg at INR 1,500 nett.
Slice of Lyfe
Lyfe is offering what they are calling DIY Deconstructed Family Packs — as each box serves between four and six people. There are seven options to choose from: DIY Pizza, Pasta (we loved the marina sauce!), Soul Garden Burger, Nachos Combo, Chinese Combo, Tandoori starter combo and North Indian Meal Combo kits. We spotted everything from basics like butter to pre-made gravies (dal makhani) and marinades (tikka) to portioned out brown rice, bao buns and millet noodles in the ingredient lists. INR 900 to INR 1,200.
Soba, so good!
Gnocchi, burgers or soba noodles? No matter what you’re craving, this gourmet DIY box selection promises to fix it in half the time. KooX at Novotel Chennai, Chamiers Road has launched ‘Tossed’, which has 16 boxes to choose from including KooX Soba Noodle, Pad Thai and Whole Wheat Pasta, as well as more indulgent options like Chef Kalai’s Signature New Zealand Lamb Chops and dessert options like Chocolate Chip Cookie and Fudgy Walnut Brownie! Expect ready-to-cook ingredients like marinated chicken or tofu and signature sauces for the dish, alongside easy-to-follow instruction notes from the chef. INR 599 to INR 1,199.