Takeaway in a COVID-19 world: thoughtful curation and packaging win

In a nation nonetheless grappling with COVID-19, it could be a whereas earlier than you may prepare dinner for buddies gathered at your eating desk. The subsequent smartest thing: ordering meals thoughtfully curated and filled with celebration in thoughts

How do you change all of the drama, anticipation and laughter of a feast with a plastic takeaway field? Is it potential to duplicate and ship the cheer of a kitchen filling with a tangle of scents as samosas are fried, dips are assembled and pudding chills in the fridge whereas buddies troop in?

Sharing meals is a highly effective, uplifting solution to join and in 2020, with COVID-19 and necessary bodily distancing, persons are lonelier than ever earlier than.

Takeaway is commonly mundane and impersonal; so it’s encouraging to search out small start-ups motivated extra by the enjoyment of feeding individuals than making earnings. With packaging that’s as endearing as their contents.

Mud Pot Curries

Praveen Khanna turns up at my door at meal time, balancing a heavy mud pot wrapped in the engaging scent of hand-crafted crab curry. He is in a rush, as he’s dropping off one other pot at a good friend’s home, as an engagement reward.

As with lots of the weekend house kitchens — run by busy professionals who dabble in meals for enjoyable — I place my order and pay by way of Google Pay a few days forward to allow Praveen and his mom M V Salomi to plan their Saturday cooking and supply (Mud Pot Curries features solely on Saturdays).

There is only one merchandise on the menu now: crab in a wealthy, spicy, coconutty curry. “I keep asking my mom what to call it,” chuckles Praveen, including that it’s a household recipe, impressed by Sri Lankan cooking, with tamarind and chillies sourced from his mom’s house city Kavali, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Hyderabad.

The gravy, darkish with patiently caramelised onions, highlights the perfect qualities of the crabs, that are candy, contemporary and flaky. Praveen says he scoured Chintadripet until he discovered a provider who was prepared to promote him the identical high quality that’s being exported to Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Priced at ₹1,499 for a pot of the half kilo crab, ₹ 1,999 for jumbo crabs and ₹ 2,900 for the ‘monster’ (two crabs per pot), it’s an indulgent dinner. The jumbo is a satisfying stability of meat, flavour and economics: although admittedly a splurge, it’s a satisfying one.

“We encourage people to order it for celebrations. Customers are now gifting it to each other,” says Praveen, including that he intentionally selected to pack the curry in clay pots, “because it is all about the experience. And I want to give people a memorable meal”.

Servings are pretty beneficiant for a motive. “It is even better the next day, so I always tell customers to keep it in the fridge for Sunday breakfast,” he says. “With dosas and idlis, it is absolutely perfect.”

Order between Monday and Thursday. Call 9884523464


There is one thing joyful about plump kozhukattais, harking back to festivals and household get-togethers. Recently launched Pidi, celebrates this pleasure with a fiesta of dumplings, all packed in cute palm leaf bins.

“It is a boxful of nostalgia,” says Rennee Saradha, discussing the model, which launched — appropriately sufficient — on Vinayaka Chaturthi. Operating out of the identical kitchen as The Bagel Pot (additionally run by Renee) Pidi collaborates with Better Chances, an organisation supporting individuals with psychological well being challenges.

After graduating from the Madras School of Social Work, Renee labored in Auroville, then moved to Chennai to start out The Bagel Pot. Discussing how she spent lockdown studying about indigenous rice, Renee says it impressed her to launch Pidi, which celebrates heritage rice from across the nation. “We have more than two lakh variants of rice in the country. Many of them are highly nutritious and medicinal,” she says, including that they use about 12 varieties now.

The Onam-inspired field (₹450) options greater than a dozen pidis, together with spongy unniyappams made with karuppu kavuni. There is ada, wrapped in banana leaves, its dough tinted golden by nendran bananas. Coconut palm leaves hug wands of navara rice, laced with jaggery and hill bananas. And, to stability the candy, shredded coconut fillings, a handful of fluffy ammini kozhukattais, dusted with Kerala chammanthi powder.

“It is a very heart-warming course of, making kozhukattais,” says Renee, explaining how staff from Better Chances form the dough alongside along with her group on a regular basis. “The dough is soft and pliable, it helps you focus.”

Pidi goals to persuade extra individuals to prepare dinner with heritage rice, and will therefore provide a selection in every curated field. The Ganesh Chathurthi field continues to be accessible (₹ 250) and quickly clients will have the ability to put collectively their very own assortment of pidis. The group plans so as to add extra savoury variations, and incorporate about 100 types of rice over the following few months.

The bins, just like the product, have been impressed by Renee’s house in Karaikudi. “The pidi is near my coronary heart,” she says. “My grandmother taught me how to make it, and our recipes are based on hers.”

Order someday in advance. Call 9840749519

(This weekly column tracks Chennai’s shifting culinary panorama. Heard of a new meals enterprise? Tell me: [email protected])

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