Rustle up a fancy meal at home with Kook’s DIY meal kits

Kook delivering in Delhi-NCR enables you to prepare a restaurant-quality meal at home with its easy-to-follow DIY meal kits.
Kook ingredients
Locally sourced, pre-portioned and semi-prepped ingredients are delivered in a hygienically-packed box along with a recipe  

Confession. I can’t cook. It’s a skill that continues to evade me. A friend who happens to be a famous chef asked me if I can’t cook or I don’t cook. Well, I don’t cook because I can’t cook. My experiments in the kitchen are disastrous.

And so when Kook, a Delhi-based meal kit service delivering DIY meal kits asked me to review their kits, I was apprehensive. But then I figured that I was their litmus test. If I could cook using their kit, anyone else could do it too.

On the destined day, a large box with ‘We can tell you have good taste’ written in big bold letters on its side arrived at my doorstep right in time, so that I could cook dinner. Since this was a test for both me and Kook I decided to be adventurous. I had ordered a 3-course meal kit for two – romantically called Butterflies & Violins (Rs 1299) — that included a Tuscan salad, grilled chicken breast and chocolate lava cake. For good measure I also ordered the Khao Suey (Rs 499) that had enough ingredients to serve two.

The goodie box when opened revealed locally sourced ingredients which were pre-portioned and semi-prepped (the chicken breast was marinated, the potatoes boiled and mashed) along with a recipe card with a detailed step-by-step recipe that assured me dinner would be ready in 35 minutes.

The package also came with a note that said the ingredients could be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. So I decided to keep the Khao Suey for the next day.

Arpitta jerath kook
Kook was conceptualized by arpitta jerath and her partner, both isb alumni, during the lockdown last year but it took shape only in september after they had drawn out their business plan

Arpitta Jerath, the 30-year-old founder of Kook has put in a lot of thought in designing the meal kits and her eye for detail is commendable. Besides the ingredients the kits come with a 100 ml paper cup to ensure there is no inconsistency in measurements. “A lot of the recipes on the net use a cup as measurement, but the cup in my house and yours is going to be different and it’s too much to expect everyone to have measuring cups at home. So we decided to provide the cup,” she tells me.

Preparing the Tuscan salad was fairly simple as the given ingredients — marinated mozzarella, croutons, Italian dressing, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives and onions — just had to be assembled. The instructions were detailed and even included things like chill the salad bowl.

Ready with a fresh bowl of nutritious salad in five minutes without having to bother with shopping or chopping had me quite encouraged.

Next, it was time to prepare the main course – the grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and pan sauce. The recipe is fairly simple but leaves nothing to chance. If at first it asks you to cover the pan and cook the chicken, it also asks you to uncover the pan and check if the chicken is cooked, just in case it wasn’t intuitive. It also tells you that your chicken may not be thoroughly cooked as this will vary depending upon the size and thickness of the chicken as well as the flame. And that not to worry but to give it another minute or two under a covered pan. Truly the recipe is written for novices like me.

Grilled chicken kook
The grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and pan sauce is easy to kook

I am happy to report that my chicken breast cooked perfectly in time, the vegetables were crunchy, the mashed potatoes were creamy and the pan sauce was full of flavour. A restaurant quality dish prepared at home with the least amount of hassle. The recipe also tells you how to plate it. I just wish they would provide a high resolution image of what the final dish should look like.

The chocolate lava cake takes just 15 minutes and is made in the microwave so it’s very convenient. It’s moist and tastes great.

Kook was conceptualized by Jerath and her partner, both ISB alumni, during the lockdown last year but it took shape only in September after they had drawn out their business plan.

Since the start up is in its initial stages, Jerath still has a full-time job, as head sales and marketing for a B2B e-commerce platform. While she is in Mumbai and her partner in Hyderabad, Kook was launched in Delhi as she has friends and family here and has lived here for long. “We have a cloud kitchen in Gurgaon with a team of 10, including chefs. All procurement and sourcing is done by them. We figured that if we could run it remotely then it would be that much easier to expand to other cities,” says Jerath. There are plans to launch in Mumbai, Bangalore and other major cities.

Kook came up because Jerath realised that during the lockdown last year while a lot of people took up cooking, procuring and sourcing ingredients was a hassle for most. There was also the issue of ingredients going waste. I bought a bottle of oyster sauce last year because some recipe I was experimenting with required it. Having used one tablespoon, the bottle is still collecting dust on my kitchen shelf. Kook solves that problem.

So how does Jerath and team finalise the menu? It starts with general brainstorming within the team and what the customers would like to cook. Once a dish is finalised, the chefs come up with a recipe. This is then tested at multiple stages and four-five people test the recipe to ensure that the instructions and final output are standardised. “My partner is a noob in the kitchen. All our kits are tested by him. If he can cook it, anyone can,” smiles Jerath. They release a new menu with fresh recipes every 15 days, though bestsellers such as the biryani remain.

Satisfied with my dinner experiment, I decided to cook the Khao Suey for lunch the next day. The box had all ingredients including everything required for garnishing. The recipe was as simple and detailed. And I was feeling super confident. But I messed up. I added the chilli oil instead of the Khao Suey spice mix. By the time I realised my mistake it was too late. What was that I said about my cooking experiments being disasters?

Kook is delivering across Delhi-NCR. For orders placed before 2pm, the delivery is made on the same day. Post 2pm, the delivery is made the next day. Prices start at Rs 299.

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