Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Thursday, Jun 10, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
Metro Plus
Published on Mondays

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Mangalore   

Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

Cooking made convenient

Want to try out a new dish on your family? Just snip away at covers to bring home the tastes of India


IT'S EIGHT in the evening, you're still in office, and some friends have invited themselves over for dinner. What will you do? Rush home, don the apron and rustle up something delectable? "Nah!" says Rohit, a self-confessed lover of cooking. The great stuff he churns out in the kitchen has many of his bachelor friends lining up for home-made food. What Rohit does now in moments of crisis is pick up ready-to-eat side dishes straight off the super market shelf and team them up with pre-packed parathas and rotis. For dessert, he chooses from any of the readymade ones on offer. His friends can't really make out the difference.

If you're a regular super market shopper, chances are you would've noticed the number of items on offer in this segment growing by the day. Thanks to change in mindset on eating packed food and the fact that no preservatives are used to extend the shelf life, more and more people, especially working couples, are taking to ready-to-eat food in a big way.

And, the variety on offer is mindboggling. Five companies, MTR, ITC, Tasty Bite, Currie Classic and Kohinoor, put together offer customers more than 25 options to choose from. The list goes like this ... The modest Pongal (how does Madras lentil rice sound?), lemon rice and sambar rice share shelf space with their North Indian and Pakistani cousins like Palace paneer, Daly Machine, Narrating Korma, China Masala (all the way from Rawalpindi), Baghare Baigan (Hyderabad), Methi Mutter Malai (from Agra, apparently concocted by Noor Jehan), Kashmiri Rajmah, Avial, Peas and mushroom curry... Phew! And, this is just part of the list.

Sulogena, a mother of two, says she buys these packed meals when the family wants to eat "something else". "We loved the Pindi China of Aashirwad (an ITC brand)."


A staple offering of most companies is the ubiquitous Dal Makhni, a creamy mix of various lentils, Indian spices and fragrant butter (Do I read like the menu card in a star restaurant?). And, that is the fastest moving item in most stores.

These packs come in the range of Rs. 15 (for lemon rice and the like) to Rs. 40 (Palak Paneer et al). The `Buy two get one free' scheme of ITC has caught on very well with customers, store managers say.

In the premium segment are ITC's tinned offerings like Dal Bukhara (from Bill Clinton's favourite restaurant at Maurya Sheraton, Delhi), Dal Dakshini and Chicken Chettinad.

M. Chellayan, Director, the Nilgiri Dairy Farm (Nilgiris), says that with more disposable income on their hand, many middle and upper middle class people are going in for these dishes. S. Prakash, Senior Manager of Alankar Supermarket, agrees. "We've had to replenish our stock often," he says.

Though people are open to trying out new dishes, the fact that it is pre-cooked and packed rankles some. But, one bite and they are hooked. "I opened a packet of MTR's Bisibela bhath bravely, but wondered how it would taste. I refused to believe that something cooked a month ago and packed, that too without any preservatives, would still be fresh. But, one spoon was enough to make me a convert. I now buy packed subzis when I am in the mood to eat something nice without going through the bother of cooking," says Leena, who works in the field of medical transcription.

SUBHA J RAO

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Metro Plus    Bangalore    Chennai    Coimbatore    Delhi    Hyderabad    Kochi    Mangalore   

Features: Magazine | Literary Review | Life | Metro Plus | Open Page | Education Plus | Book Review | Business | SciTech | Entertainment | Young World | Property Plus | Quest | Folio |


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Comments to : thehindu@vsnl.com   Copyright 2004, The Hindu
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu