For those of you who don’t know what a home delivery meal kit is, let me enlighten you. A meal kit contains pre-portioned food ingredients along with recipes so the home cook, either those in a time crunch or those lacking the skill set to cook, can create a wholesome home cooked meal. It is a subscription service, where customers pick the meals they want to prepare and they are delivered to their door. This concept started in Europe just over 12 years ago and quickly surfaced in the United States. Estimates say that this segment of the food business will garnish 1.3% of the food and beverage business by next year. More popular subscription services are: Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Freshly, though there are well over 100 services now available.
Food manufacturers have taken this concept and created main course kits for the grocery store; usually with three separate envelopes in one package: whole spices, marinades or seasoning paste, and sauces. The consumer just adds the protein or vegetables. What makes these three pouch sauce/seasoning kits different from jarred sauces are the whole spices that the consumer heats in oil to release the full aromatics. I purchased Patak’s Original Taste of India’s – 3 Simple Steps Butter Chicken, it had a pouch with whole bay leaves, fenugreek leaves, cardamom pods, whole red chili and cumin seed which they recommend you remove when the dish is finished. I personally made note of the amount of cardamom pods, bay leaves and chili so I wasn’t biting into them. Step two in the simple three steps was to add the pouch of their seasoning paste with water, allowing the water to cook off and then add the boneless chicken and cook for five minutes. Step three, add the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. If you add up the time it is ready in 23 minutes, so, on their suggestion to serve with basmati rice, I used Success 10 Minute Basmati Rice.
Using approximately a pound of boneless chicken thighs, there was enough sauce that I could have cooked more chicken. Their instruction panel says this will serve three people, but that is up to you as to protein versus your rice and vegetables. All things considered, I would buy this butter chicken kit again. Patak suggests that you can change your protein or strictly go vegetarian, but it is up to you to determine the proper cooking time. So this is just one example of the grocery store main course tri-packaged kits.
Another company to look at is Tasty Bite – Spice & Simmer, they claim their kits can make anyone a culinary master! They feature globally inspired sauces; Korean BBQ, Korma, Sweet & Sour, Szechuan, Thai Green Curry and more; packaged in a convenient three pouch set, again, a pouch with whole spices. The instructions say you can have a meal ready in 30 minutes or less. On my cupboard shelf is the Tasty Bite Szechuan to try, I so want to become a culinary master!
Take note, you will be seeing a growing selection of the tri-pack, quick cook main course options on the shelves of your local supermarkets.
For Dara Bunjon if it is food, Dara Does It, in fact, that is the name of her company which offers creative solutions for the food industry the likes of public relations, marketing, social media, cookbook compilations, food styling, culinary events, networking and freelance writing. You will now find Dara applying her broad range of culinary skills as a food stylist for television chefs/cookbook authors the likes of Steven Raichlen, Sara Moulton, Nick Malgieri, and Nathalie Dupree. Dara Bunjon lives, eats, dreams and writes about food and isn’t hesitant to share her views and experiences about restaurants, culinary trends, recipes, cookbooks or even her childhood food memories. She has been on the food scene for too many years to mention. Known both in Baltimore and nationally, Dara Bunjon is a former member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs’ national public relations committee.
In the past, she has written for Style Magazine, Foodservice Monthly, Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Digest, Urbanite and other sundry publications. Since 2004 she has maintained an award-winning food-related blog called Dining Dish. She co-authored her first cookbook Yum! Tasty Recipes from Culinary Greats in association with Studio Spear. And has written Baltimore restaurant reviews for Gayot.com
Dara believes food is subjective; everyone’s taste is different and she enjoys bringing you to her table to commiserate and enjoy lively discourse.
Considered one of Baltimore’s food influencers, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @daracooks.