Apps that can help you cook a tasty meal

Aug 03, 2014, 08:15 IST | Harpreet Kaur Sapra

You may not be the next Julia Child, but don’t let that keep you from experimenting with these apps that help you cook lip-smacking, healthy dishes 

We’d all like to believe that there’s a Julia Child in us, waiting to take over the kitchen with her genius and effervescence, one who transforms mundane dishes to gourmet delights.

Well, reality is different — some of us are quite clueless in the kitchen and rely on ready-to-eat meals. Then, there are those who do cook, but try as they may, cannot go beyond the dal-chawal-subzi routine. New recipes? Next weekend. Or never.

Of course, we aren’t overlooking all you good cooks out there, keen to improve their culinary skills, thinking of better food presentation and using basic ingredients to rustle up great dishes.

It is, perhaps, these geniuses who got together with app designers to come up with apps that can help anybody cook up a decent meal and teach tips to use lesser-known ingredients. Here’s the skinny on some of them:

Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals (iOS, Android)
If you are a fan of the TV show, Jamie’s Kitchen, this app is for you. Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals does not boast of thousands of recipes, nor is it designed to replace other elaborate sites and apps. However, it is definitely the one if you like quick meals that look great, too. The app gives you only 60 recipes for now, each of which take no more than 20 minutes. The recipes have easy-to-follow steps with accompanying photographs, so you know exactly what your food should look like at each stage. There are handy voiceovers and tips by chef Jamie Oliver for each recipe.

Once you zero down on a recipe, the app makes an interactive shopping list for it, which can be adjusted according to the number of guests. It also has 21 videos of Oliver giving out tips, techniques and outlining kitchen skills that might come handy to make some amazing meals. Once you download the app, you do not need an Internet connection to browse the recipes.

Sweet ‘N’ Spicy Indian Recipes (iOS, Android, Windows)
We may love tucking into all that gourmet food, but still crave for desi, comfort food quite often. The app, Sweet ‘N’ Spicy Indian Recipes, has over 5,000 recipes and more than 1,000 videos across three categories — vegetarian, non-vegetarian and vegan.

Further, you could sort recipes by ‘Category’, ‘Food’, ‘Ingredients’ and ‘Cooking time’. You could leave comments and view the alterations other users may have made to the recipe. The recipes come with their calorie count according to portion sizes and allergy probabilities.  

Big Oven (iOS, Windows, Android, Kindle)
Whether you are keen on cooking or just an epicure, Big Oven is a good app to have. The app has over 2,50,000 recipes to choose from, and a meal planner as well. You could search a recipe by typing keywords, course, ingredient or simply browse popular recipe collections. You can also upload your own recipes or save your favorite recipes in the “Try Soon” section in the app.

Big Oven even lets you plan weekly meals and you could add personal notes to it, too. Using leftovers is a breeze with this app — all you have to do is feed in a minimum of three ingredients and you get a list of relevant recipes. Once your menu for the week is planned, Big Oven makes a grocery list out of it and acts as a great shopping assistant, telling you what exactly you will need when you shop for the week.

Eating Well Healthy In A Hurry  (iOS, Android)
Should you cook a healthy meal in 20 minutes or call for a burger or pizza, within the same time? It’s confusing, we know, when that’s all the time you have. However, if you pick the former, do it with this app. EatingWell started Healthy in a Hurry, an app featuring 200 healthy recipes. Once you download the recipes, you do not need the Internet to access them.

The app also lists the recipes’ nutritional facts and the required shopping list. You could look up health benefits of each dish and determine which ones you could pick to, say, lose weight or what you could cook to ensure a healthy heart. Most dishes take about 15 minutes to cook. The app also emails you the recipe of the day to make your choice easier.

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