Q. Your preferred excuse for not experimenting in the kitchen and cooking as much as you’d want to?
a. No time and energy to enter the kitchen and whip up something new after a hard day at work
b. Don’t know the recipes and technical skills behind cooking all the cool dishes
c. Don’t know what ingredients to buy and where to buy them from
d. All of the above
If you too fall in the final category, like I do, there’s good news for us lazy slobs who want to experiment with cooking but don’t know how to – iChef.in The website offers gourmet meal recipes and ingredients, hand delivered to your doorstep. Each kit comes with exact, measured ingredients, and a pictorial recipe all at 250 bucks for a meal for two.
What prompted me to order was the variety of dishes they had on offer – all International cuisine, with a decent mix of vegetarian and meat options. These were the dishes I could not easily whip up at home because my cooking skills were limited to the staples rice-dal-roti-sabzi. I ordered a basic Thai Green Chicken curry rice meal to start off with.
Here is what I liked about my experience:
Same day delivery: I ordered my kit through via phone on my way to work in the morning, and it was home by the time I got back from work, ready to be cooked.
Cash On Delivery:
They only have COD option which I’m more than happy about. Though that may be a hassle for some others who prefer using plastic money.
The ingredients came in this adorable cloth bag (which my mother was most excited about). Each ingredient was labelled and packaged in separate plastic. No spillage, or leakage either.
Exactly measured ingredients, as per the recipe required made it really easy and convenient to cook with. Also the quality of everything right from the basil to the chicken was top notch.
Easy to follow recipe:
The recipe came printed on a card with pictorial representation to help understand better. Also clearly and concisely written recipes that makes it easy for even a novice cook to follow.
Value For Money:
At Rs. 250/- for a recipe kit that would suffice two, it was absolutely worth it. It’s not only the cost of ingredients but also travel fare to the market, and the time you’d end up spending that I’m taking into account here.
Here is a step-by-step account that went into the making of the Thai Curry. The curry turned out really good, and it took me 30 minutes from scratch to get it done.
Step I – Basic prep work that included washing and cutting the vegetables that would go into the curry.
Step II – Cooking the rice in a cooker, and setting it aside to cool.
Step III – Cooking the chicken and vegetables with the curry paste provided to impart flavor.
Step IV – Adding coconut milk and the rest of the curry paste, along with basil and kaffir lime leaves to the chicken and veggies and allowing to cook.
Step V – Plating and Eating! (My favorite step)
The only teeny tiny complaint I had about my entire experience was when I first tried ordering from them about three weeks ago, the kit I had ordered was out of stock. But I got an immediate text message apologizing and clarifying the same. I’d also love to see them expand their menu a bit more, Maybe introduce desserts and Indian dishes also?
I think this concept will definitely work in an urban set up like Mumbai where we have no time or energy to go shop for ingredients after a day at work. Also as our global food knowledge has expanded leaps and bounds (Thank you, Masterchef) the average cook wants to experiment with International cuisines in the kitchen. iChef definitely helps achieve on both these fronts. I know for a fact I’ll be ordering from them again. Let me know if you do!
(The author ordered from the website anonymously and paid for her own meal.)