Friday 10 June 2016

Burgundy Box, Mumbai

Food Revolution is the name of the game. I don't know exactly when or how it happened but suddenly food is everywhere! 10 new restaurants opening up everyday, molecular gastronomy and such crazes catching up, new food channels being launched with an alarming regularity, food delivery at home even in 2nd and 3rd tier cities is a given now. As a food fanatic, this is fantastic news obviously :D 

But in the din of all this eating-out or ordering-in culture, something I am also a huge victim of, I see many people (including myself) forgotten the art of actually entering the kitchen and making something ourselves. At most, I (and ALL my friends) can cook instant noodles, pasta, whip up a salad or two, make some basic dishes and that is it. For everything else there is that phone and all those numbers saved of nearby delivery places. After all,when even neighborhood tiffin places are now serving gourmet dishes ranging from dimsums and thai green curry to chocolate bombs and tres leches at quite reasonable prices, who even thinks about actually cooking them? 

It boils down to acquiring skills and the satisfaction of having done something creative on own, I guess, not to mention that eating out everyday is far from being healthy. And thankfully,a lot of people are also interested in that, that is why gourmet cooking classes have also come up and many people do try and recreate healthy Masterchef dishes at home :) That's a good trend. I have caught on this trend very veryyyyy recently, after having heard mom ask me for 1000th time, 'when are you ever going to enter the kitchen and make something baba instead of just emptying all my dabbas like a neanderthal :P' So when it was my parents' anniversary last month, my sister and I decided to give them a surprise by making lunch a day prior to the special day, a sort of prelude of greater things to come (which basically meant taking them out for awesome 5-star lunch and dinner :D) 

But see, none of us had the time or inclination to join a cooking class or spend hours pouring through recipes, going to specialty stores to get all exotic ingredients and then do a dry run. I have spent almost 3 decades on this planet and have NEVER made a lunch for 4 people from scratch, so obviously I was not too confident of my ability to stir up something delicious and same is the case with my sister (who is a marginally better cook than me :P). This is where Burgundy Box came in. 

I had heard of them on social media, some of my friends had actually tried them and loved them, so I had filed this name in the back of my mind and this was exactly the sort of occasion where we were willing to try them out. Basically, they have these DIY meal kits where they send a big burgundy box with ALL ingredients, properly measured out and packed with labels for our convenience, accompanied with a clear instruction sheet on how to use which ingredient for how long and voila, a masterchef restaurant dish is ready in less than half hour! 

So we ordered Aloo Bukhara Kofte and Snicker Doodle Cookies. Till we actually got the boxes, I was not sure if this was going to be as easy as we had read on the website. The skepticism while trying new things is always there till we have experienced it first hand, isn't it :) So I thought, ''yeah okay, they make it sound so easy, the dishes look fantastic, but let us see if we can actually replicate them without going insane''. There have been DIY meal kits as well as Ready-To-Eat dishes I have used earlier also (about a decade ago,when I went to college and was all into hip things to do :P) but they never turned out well. Either they were to oily or too watery or tasted weird or were a pain to make or turned out to look completely different from what was advertised on the package.

Nothing of that sort happened here. The box really came with ingredients all packed and labelled, instruction sheets and the process of creating them was so easy! All the hard work had already been done and it is just a matter of assembling it all together, something I am glad to report is easy enough even for a neanderthal like me who cannot follow complicated instructions. These are literally easy enough to be followed by a monkey :D Just take a look. My sister & I followed these to the T and without breaking a sweat, the dishes were ready within 15 minutes for Aloo Bukhara Kofte and 30 minutes for Snicker Doodle Cookies. In fact, the recipe for the cookies said there would be 15 of them, we ended up making 20, so we had to cook them in 2 batches, otherwise it would have been done within 15 minutes only :D Pleasant surprise :)

This was the first time we had ever baked cookies in our oven. Before this, I had only ever used them for making pizzas and so this was the dish I was more worried about. The cookies turned out so well that even mom who is not much into sweet things, gobbled up 5 of them after lunch :D The kind peoples at Burgundy Box even sent over a butter paper for lining the baking tray, I mean they could have just assumed that since I have an oven at home, I would also have baking supplies like butter paper, muffin moulds and so on -which I don't! But no, they did not make any such assumptions and literally sent everything we needed to create these delicious dishes at home.

Also, Aloo Bukhara Kofte came with 4 Parathas that just needed to be heated, so it was actually a complete meal in itself, another thing I did not expect. Both of these meal kits together cost just about Rs. 750 which meant a restaurant worthy meal for 2 people along with 20 lovely cookies for dessert. We had also tossed up some fried rice, so altogether we divided the portions accordingly for 4 people,but if it was just 2 people, it would be perfectly portioned :) 

Aloo Bukhara Kofte were soft with Paneer filling inside, the gravy was creamy without being heavy and Parathas were succulent. Best part -apart from how easy to make it- is how it turned out exactly like in the picture :D Nothing was burnt or too dry or too oily or too anything else that happens in many DIY kits! I am searching for the finished cookies picture, I am sure I took them before they disappeared in our tummies but I cannot find them right now, be rest assured they looked exactly like in the picture on instruction sheet too! Crunchy, sweet but not overly so, they were perfect to transport us back to childhood and summer vacations.

We are mighty impressed with Burgundy Box and surely would try out more dishes, now that I have experienced first hand that they really deliver what they promise. It will be my dad's birthday next month and then my best friend's a fortnight after that, I am looking forward to a quite a few parties and I think Burgundy Boxes are going to serve us well. Not only that, whether praying to avoid waterlogged roads or heavy traffic, or just when itching to try something new without actually paying an arm & a leg at a gourmet destination, I am sure to try out Burgundy Box at many occasions now, making even ordinary days special :)

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