No time to go through the grind of cooking a traditional festive meal? Services offering Christmas-special meal kits, prepped takeaways and even chefs-on-call, are here to help
Every Christmas, 35-year-old Santacruz resident Bertha Rodrigues is starving by the time a festive spread is laid out at home. "My parents love to cook. Our Christmas lunch includes stuffed chicken and stuffed pork, but that takes more than a couple of hours, so, we usually end up having a late lunch," rues Rodrigues, who works at an event management firm. Her ears perk up at the mention of Burgundy Box, a DIY meal kit service that has introduced a box of freshly prepped stuffed chicken with mashed potatoes, veggies and roast gravy, crafted by chef Ajay Chopra, as part of its Christmas special. "The older generation may believe in cooking at home but I would definitely opt for something like this because it would save time," she admits but with a condition, "as long as it is traditional."
What's in a box?
Rodrigues is a part of the growing tribe of time-strapped urbanites who find it cumbersome to go through the whole buying-stuffing-roasting deal. Previously, the other option for her ilk would be bringing in the festive cheer at a packed restaurant. However, now, they can enjoy a hassle-free traditional Christmas meal at home too, thanks to services like Burgundy Box that also packs in ingredients for a steamed Christmas Pudding. "The idea is to bring back the joy of cooking traditional Christmas meals without spending too much time on them," says Shabnam Mehra, co-founder and director of the service.
Stuffed Chicken features in Burgundy Box's DIY meal kit
While health-conscious folk may frown upon ready-to-cook meals (read: frozen fare, packaged soups and preservatives), they seem to have warmed up to pre-measured cooking kits that are often, without artificial preservatives. "Our customers are rapidly adopting meal kits in their weekly cooking options because we provide fresh ingredients, so people have the luxury of eating home-cooked food without sweating for hours in the kitchen or breaking the back on a fancy restaurant meal," elaborates Vishal Shah, CEO, Haute Chef that's offering Wine Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese as one of its Christmas festive specials. "While pumpkins and apples may be the flavours of Thanksgiving, pears grace the Christmas lore at the table. The fruit has been poached in red wine, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange juice, orange zest and palm sugar – it's Christmas in every bite!" he gushes.
Cottage Cheese in Cranberry Sauce is a vegetarian substitute offered by 3sqrmeals
Time for takeaway
Keen to dig into Apricot, Raisin and Chestnut Stuffed Roast Chicken but wondering how to make it? Place an advance order at Me So Happi that has introduced a Christmas pick-up service, and pick up a pre-marinated, trussed and stuffed chicken. All you have to do is pop it in an oven at home for 40 minutes. "Christmas is all about being traditional, with many people opting to cook authentic meals at home. Hence, we felt a need to come up with something gourmet and traditional which people can order from us without the hassle of preparing it from scratch," shares the corporate chef Anirudha Patil. Meanwhile, for a Roast Turkey fix, order from Indigo Deli, that delivers it to your doorstep. Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee aka chef JD asserts, "Mumbaikars are warming up to the idea of getting a traditional feast delivered to their homes. We've been doing this since the last five years and we see such happy faces once the food reaches the guest."
Wine Poached Pear Salad with Blue Cheese from Haute Chef works as a side dish in a Christmas spread
Dial an X-mas dabba
New-age online delivery services like Holachef have also jumped the festive bandwagon. Having tied up with city-based home chefs, it offers traditional Christmas fare including Roasted Chicken Legs with Thyme, Baked Sweet Potato and Winter Vegetable Pie and Christmas Rum Balls, too. "We've tried to make the menu available in as many locations as possible by roping in the chefs area-wise.
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Roast Turkey Roulade is one of the offerings by Indigo Deli
For dishes like Roast Turkey and Roast Chicken, we will be very careful about the packaging," informs Saurabh Saxena, CEO-founder, Holachef. Those working through Christmas also have a reason to cheer. 3sqrmeals, an online meal-delivery service, has designed a festive menu, which includes vegetarian substitutes too. Founder Divya Shetty says, "Good food is an instant mood enhancer. Festivals are a good time to introduce special menus with a focus on seasonal ingredients (like berries, green garlic shoots) to add that extra cheer to an otherwise routine work lunch."
>> Enjoy a set of two meal kits comprising freshly prepped stuffed chicken with mashed potatoes and roast gravy along with traditional steamed Christmas Pudding, which serves four.
LOG ON TO: www.burgundybox.in
COST: Rs 1,350
Chef Anirudha Patil stuffs a chicken, part of their Christmas order service. Pic/Satej Shinde
>> Cook the fancy Wine Poached Pear Salad or assemble an assorted cheese platter with the help of a meal kit.
LOG ON TO: www.hautechef.in
COST: Rs 349
>> To order a festive lunch at your desk, choose from a rotational menu that includes vegetarian options like Cottage Cheese with Cranberry Sauce.
FROM :December 21 to 24
LOG ON TO: www.3sqrmeals.com
COST: Rs 180 (veg), Rs 200 (non-veg)
>> From Roast Chicken Fillet to Christmas Rum Balls, call for traditional fare prepared by home chefs.
ON: December 25
LOG ON TO: www.holachef.com
>> Place an order 24 hours in advance and pick up a pre-marinated, trussed and stuffed (apricot, raisin and chestnut) Roast Chicken that just needs to be popped in an oven.
At: Me So Happi, Khar (W) and Carter Road
Cost: Rs 700 per kilo
>> Get American Butterball Roast Turkey stuffed with apple, cornbread, prunes, bacon and sausage, or a Smoked Leg of Ham delivered at home. Place your order three days in advance.
At: Indigo Deli outlets in the city
Dial a party chef
Hosting a Christmas party at home? Call for a chef from Foodhall, who will curate a party menu based on your requirements that also includes gluten free, dairy free and vegan options.
“Our in-house chefs prepare some parts of the dishes in advance and then, take about 30 minutes to an hour to set up the meal at your house party,” informs Swasti Aggarwal, Food Strategist, Foodhall.
Cost: Rs 2,500
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