There's a rasagulla in my chaat
It’s not every day that we get to try a popular chef’s fare. With this in mind, we decided to try out four meal kits from chef Ranveer Brar’s new artisanal line for Haute Chef. Launched today, the line includes contemporary Indian gourmet offerings with Brar’s distinct twist. For instance, a savoury chaat prepared with rasagullas or for that matter, a vegetarian curry that’s an Indian take on the French classic. Here’s looking at the dishes we tried and how they fared on our taste metre:
Rasagulla Chaat with Crispy Roti
What’s in the box: Each box came with an ice pack that helped preserve the contents until we refrigerated. The box included a tin of the ready Bengali sweet, containers of green chutney, imli chutney, flavoured beaten curd, pomegranate, sev, cilantro, cumin powder, chilli powder and crispy roti.
Ease of prep: Though the recipe leaflet mentioned 25 minutes, we were apprehensive about the difficulty levels due to the number of ingredients present in the box. Surprisingly, the dish was easy to assemble. We did hit a hurdle when we had to soak the rasagullas in warm water (after squeezing out excess sugar syrup) and searched for the number of minutes on the leaflet but in vain.
Taste metre: We loved the flavoured curd and the ingredients – especially the crispy roti that we’d prefer any day over tooth-breaking puris – added bagfuls of flavours to the chaat. Though meant for two, the portions could easily suffice for three to four people. However, while the rasagullas lost much of their sweetness when squeezed out of warm water and blended into the chaat, they lost their soft texture too, turning tad chewy. Maybe, a customised version of the Bengali sweet would work better.
Cost: Rs 249
Baalti Tofu Paneer Ke Kofte with Cheese Olive Pita
What’s in the box: With such a lofty name, we expected a truckload of ingredients but to our relief, the box contained a ready balti masala gravy, a kofta mix, puffed gram flour, corn flour, cream, pita bread and olive tapenade. Plus, even a day later, coriander leaves were fresh.
Ease of prep: The cooking time was bang on, as we took exactly 20 minutes to make this dish and much of the time was only spent in frying the koftas (you’ll need vegetable oil from your pantry). The shape of the pita didn’t match the images on the recipe. The oblong bread proved difficult to be toasted in a sauté pan (as instructed) and hence, we used an oven instead.
Taste metre: The soft, melt-in-the-mouth koftas soaked in richly spiced gravy distinctly tasted like restaurant fare and made for a great Sunday afternoon lunch. While we’d have liked a little more cheese in the olive tapenade, the pita bread proved to be a good substitute for the regular naan.
Cost: Rs 299
Chicken Cafreal with Veg Crudites and Akhrot Aioli
What's in the box: The box included olive oil, four pieces of chicken legs, cafreal masala, akhrot aioli dip, lime, bell peppers, carrot, cucumber and a bunch of coriander. Thankfully, the meat was fresh even after we opened it a day later.
Ease of prep: We followed the easy recipe to the T and ended up with perfect traditional Goan Chicken Cafreal. The chicken tastes better if marinated longer, factor that in when you plan your prep time. If you choose a box that has chopped veggies (they have that option too), you can considerably reduce the prep time. We did manage to prepare the dish in 35 minutes as mentioned on the box.
Taste metre: Though a bit spicy, we enjoyed the dish. The succulent meat blended well with the masala. We particularly loved the akhrot aioli dip, with its creamy mayo-like texture and crunchy walnut pieces.
Cost: Rs 299
Pan-Seared Basa in Nilgiri Masala with Lemon Peanut Rice
What's in the box: We liked the fact that the box included olive oil along with two fillets of basa, nilgiri masala, coconut milk, tadka mix, basmati rice, lime, a bunch of cilantro and salli potato.
Ease of prep: This dish required multi-tasking as we had to prepare the lemon peanut rice from the stratch, sear the basa and cook the gravy, As opposed to 30 minutes mentioned on the box, we took about 45 minutes. We suggest you get a help at hand for this one.
Taste metre: The quantity of tadka mix was lesser than the amount of rice provided, hence, it wasn’t adequate enough to bring out the tangy flavours. However, the nilgiri masala and coconut milk-infused gravy blended well with the basa, making the dish quite enjoyable.
Cost: Rs 349
Chicken Cafreal Meal Box
Haute Chef artisanal line meal kits
The Guide Verdict
Most dishes in the artisanal line scored because they are pocket friendly with generous-sized portions, easy to cook and present bagfuls of flavours. A must-try for the time-strapped Mumbaikars who’re keen to relish a gourmet meal at home.
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(with inputs from Suprita Mitter)