Delicious feta cheese is known for many things. It is known for its distinctive taste, elusiveness and ability to single-handedly uplift a dish. In Mumbai, the cheese has one additional distinction — it led to the conception of the two-week-old iChef.in, a website that delivers a dish’s recipe and ingredients to your doorstep.
Kung Pao Chicken tacos
Good, nutritious food delivered
In April this year, Sneha Arya, fresh out of university in the USA, wanted to serve Arugulla Salad with Goat Cheese at a party she had organised for her friends. But it was during her pursuit for good quality feta cheese — which took her to Crawford market among other places — that Arya realised how difficult it was to get hold of such ingredients, especially if you are on a tight budget. “Gourmet stores are so expensive. And I started thinking there must be an easier way to do this,’ recalls Arya. “I ultimately purchased one kg of the cheese from a supplier when all I needed was 200 gms. As feta cheese gets a little sour with time, I had to throw the rest,” she winces.
The ingredients, like the sauce, are meticulously measured and come well packaged
With the help of her brother and founder of the Carter Road-based eatery Wok in the Box, Chirag Arya, the Marine Drive resident started her extensive research on the topic. “There are a couple of companies in the US that provide similar services. I have a pretty good network of friends in the US, so they gave me their feedback about these services. A friend, who was travelling from there, got me the whole package from a company called Blue Apron, so that I could have a better idea about the packaging. Also, every weekend, my mother, brother and I would go to Wok in the Box and talk to customers about what they look for in such a service,” she says.
The iChef hamper comes with recipes written in a step-by-step format, complete with easy-to-follow instructions and pictures
The Mahalaxmi-based company has two in-house chefs, who experiment with recipes before zeroing in on the six recipes for the fortnight. Each order costs Rs 250. “What we look for in each recipe is that it must have ingredients that are hard to find yet easy to make and taste delicious. We source our ingredients from local suppliers. We also want to cover diverse cuisines,” explains Arya. The food is also healthy — each recipe comes with a mention of the calorie count. “We wanted to bring the concept of making your own, healthy, delicious food at home,” adds the 22-year-old.
We set out to test the service and place an order for Tofu Fajitas with Guacamole, Kung Pao Chicken Tacos and Risotto with Spinach-Basil Pesto. The neatly packed, meticulously measured ingredients arrive right on time, with recipes, rolled up
like scrolls. We reach home an hour and half later and are impressed to find that the spinach and basil leaves did not go limp during that time. Even the cubes of butter did not melt down in the face of Mumbai’s traffic.
The recipes, written in a step-by-step format, are clear and easy to follow. Although we face a few hiccups — the Risotto recipe did not mention whether the onions need to be sliced or diced and our package of the Kung Pao Chicken Tacos came without celery, which is one of the ingredients — we manage to rustle up a dish that is delicious and flavoursome. The Tofu Fajitas with Guacamole are packed with the goodness of avocado, tofu and salsa. The Risotto is creamy, while the Tacos burst with the flavours of various sauces.
“Our staff members measure out the ingredients. We plan to change recipes every two weeks so our next batch of recipes will be out on December 1. They will include Arugulla Salad with Dried Cranberries and Feta Cheese, Spinach and Mushroom Quiche, Shrimp Vietnamese Rolls and Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas,” adds Arya.
Our verdict? The carefully measured out ingredients are a boon — especially to those whose kitchens have never survived anything other than Maggi noodles. The recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients well-packaged and a delight to use. If you are hard pressed for time but want to have a healthy yet non-boring meal, then iChef.in is definitely worth a try.
Log on to
www.iChef.in or call 65680555 to place your order Each order costs Rs 250 Orders placed before 1 pm are delivered on the same day from 9 am to 9 pm