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Master chef in 20 mins

Reluctant cook Rukmini Bhatia cuts open two DIY kits by ingredient delivery startup Built2cook. How will she fare?

The last time Rukmini Bhatia cooked, she almost set her balcony on fire. “A friend and I were trying to start a barbeque,” she confesses, as we hand her two DIY meal kits by two-week-old ingredient delivery startup Built2cook.com.

Rukmini Bhatia, a 30-year-old graphic designer, took 40 minutes to whip up two dishes. Ingredients come chopped, powdered and packed in a step-wise format. PICs/SURESH KK
Rukmini Bhatia, a 30-year-old graphic designer, took 40 minutes to whip up two dishes. Ingredients come chopped, powdered and packed in a step-wise format. Pics/Suresh KK

She assesses the chicken shish taouk (Rs 250) and smiles. The Lebanese recipe, which comprises chicken pieces, pita, veggies and garlic aioli, has been divided into six parts, a packet of ingredients for each step, which is explained in the recipe card.

“Yeh toh simple hai,” exclaims the 30-year-old graphic designer, as she readies a non-stick pan, spatula and bowl.

Step 1: Heat oil and grill pita bread over moderate heat on both sides for 30 seconds and keep aside.

“But it didn’t say how much oil,” she realises, after having emptied almost half the bottle provided. She turns off the flame after the pita takes on a golden brown hue. At the second step, she empties the packet of lettuce and cherry tomatoes and seasons it with salt and pepper. Next, Bhatia empties the tomato sauce on the pita and tops it with the salad.

“The recipes have been thought through. The good thing is that there will be no wastage. I always chop more veggies than required,” says Bhatia. Step 4 involves grilling the marinated chicken in olive oil over a moderate flame for two minutes on either side and covering it with a lid. Here, she forgets to check the clock. “The chicken has not turned golden brown,” she admits, and ditches the lid to let it cook a little longer. Satisfied, she places the chicken pieces onto the pita, and begins to grill the marinated bell peppers.

Chicken shish taouk
Chicken shish taouk
If you follow the instructions, it is a breeze to create the dish. They should mention the amount of oil to be used though

She tops the dish with bell peppers, garnishing it with the sprig of parsley. She empties the garlic mayonnaise in a bowl and invites us to dig in. “This seems like a healthy option to what I’d whip up otherwise. This is perfect when I want to pamper my mom.”

Once she gives it the thumbs-up, Bhatia moves on to the linguini mushroom (R250) which promises a 15-minute prep time, with a tad more confidence this time. Bhatia puts two pans on the flame — one for the linguini and one to sauté the garlic and mushrooms in olive oil. This time around, she adds very little oil and the chopped garlic seems to dry up.

“They really should mention how much oil,” she exclaims. As the garlic sizzles, she tosses the mushrooms in, pointing out that the veggies and meat are fresh. Bhatia pours in the tomato concasse, chopped parsley and cooking cream. “The recipe says I must allow it to cook over a slow flame,” she says, stirring the mixture. Her left hand, responsibly, checks on the pasta which doesn’t seem to have got cooked within the promised eight minutes. The flame, we realise, is low and the water was not boiling enough when she tossed them in.

Chicken shish taouk If you follow the instructions, it is a breeze to create the dish. They should mention the amount of oil to be used though

Bhatia meets a roadblock at step 4, which requires her to add potable cooking water to the pan of concasse along with the pasta, sundried tomatoes, basil and seasoning. She skips the potable water (not knowing the quantity required), and adds the remaining ingredients along with recommended quantity of parmesan cheese and butter chiplet. The kitchen fills up with the fragrance of garlic and mushrooms.

For the last step, Bhatia doesn’t empty the remaining parmesan cheese, but prefers a light sprinkle.

“If I served this to guests, they’d assume it has been ordered from a restaurant. It’s a great boost for non-cooks,” she smiles, twirling her fork into the pasta.

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