With new dishes every week, home chefs are offering a break from the monotony of takeout menus
Ghee rice and raan
Remember the time when you could explore new cuisines at pop-up dinners or lunches in the city? There would be the excitement of a new menu, anecdotes behind every dish and a chance to bond with strangers over shared bites — all stirring up a wholesome experience that's about more than just food. While stepping out is no more a reality now, home chefs from the city tell us why they are serving up a similar feeling by curating new menus with a limited number of dishes every week.
Andheri-based writer Shanti Petiwala, who went live with her deli service Riot of Flavours about six days ago, says that the lockdown led her to realise that a new menu every week gives people something to look forward to. Petiwala, who runs the kitchen with her family, has hosted a couple of pop-ups and catered for friends before. "During this time, I got the chance to perfect my game and one day, I realised I have to get my food out to people," she shares. Her first menu comprises what she calls her pieÌÂÂu00c2u0080ce de résistance — chicken and mushroom pot pies — along with a classic chocolate brownie. She will be offering her own recipes, mostly comfort food, a lot of which have roots in her Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin origin and Bohri influences. "A pot pie or a raan won't be something you get or want regularly, so people like the diversity every week. It's like a pop-up that people, who order from across the city, are part of from their homes. Also, this way, each home chef can carve their own niche," she adds.
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A thali served by Marwah
Kashmiri chef Jasleen Marwah started her food venture Namak Swaad Anusaar in 2016. While she has hosted pop-ups and catered before, she started curating a new menu every week in June, offering meaty delicacies like rogan josh, yakhni, mutton kofta, and lesser-known vegetarian fares such as chokh wangun (using baby brinjals) and tsamun (using paneer). She posts the menus on IG before the weekend and prepares through the week. "I have a lot to offer, but can't put it all out at once as I run this from my Goregaon residence with my family," she explains. Marwah adds that she doesn't put out menus for the heck of it. "I try to talk about the dishes to offer a glimpse of my journey. A specific menu allows me to showcase my fare and experiment with new dishes."
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Iranian pistachio rose cake
"People would head out for a bite on weekends, but now that's not possible," says law graduate Ninaz Baldawala, who started The Bombay Food Company three weeks ago, adding that she feels consumers trust home chefs more for sanitation. "I put up a new menu for the weekends as I'm so underwhelmed by the choices on ordering apps," she elaborates. Baldawala, who was always passionate about cooking, offers a wide variety from Parsi favourites like dhansak based on a family recipe, to Asian buns and desserts.
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Khar residents Sahil Lulla, his wife Kresha, and his brother Nikhil started Weekend Burger Co after creating their signature Cheetos burger during the lockdown. Yes, the burger is packed with actual Cheetos. Word spread through friends, and they began services from June 12. While they noticed the trend of weekly menus, they felt it would be better to change theirs every two to three weeks, says Kresha. "Since it's just us and a couple of family members doing everything from deciding the menu to packaging, a two-to-three-week buffer allows us to do our research, and experiment," she says, pointing to the other burgers and sides they've been dishing out including Fourth of July-inspired chicken wings and mushroom burgers, and the Japanese Katsu Sando-style ones that are coming up.
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