By now we’re all getting used to the fact that Christmas will be very different this year. Where usually we’d all pile into the car for a big dinner at our mum’s, now it looks as though we may have to fend for ourselves on Christmas day. But for some people cooking does not come naturally and this can present a challenge. With many restaurants and people in rural areas unable to access a good takeaway, it’s hard to get a taste of truly authentic food during lockdown. Mandira’s Kitchen make award winning Indian meals which are delivered to your door.
‘Sounds like your average takeaway’ I hear you say, but the difference here is that Mandira’s deliver their meals frozen. A women-led and women-staffed business, Mandira’s was born when their owner and founder was tired of not being able to enjoy proper Indian food in the UK. So in her 40s she started with supper clubs and catering from the home kitchen before moving to a beautiful location overlooking the Silent Pool in 2019.
Handmade in small batches with fresh produce, they use absolutely no preservatives or ingredients you wouldn’t find down your local market. Meals can be gluten free and there is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan options. The meals are frozen to keep the flavour and goodness intact so that you can enjoy them at your own convenience within a matter of minutes.
So how does it work?
First of all you choose the dishes you want, either from their selection of pre-made boxes or by building your own menu. www.mandiraskitchen.com. Your chosen dishes are then handmade in small batches.
The dishes are then quickly frozen to preserve their goodness, taste and flavour and delivered frozen in insulated boxes by overnight courier. Once your box arrives, you simply pop it in the freezer. Meals will happily live in your freezer for up to 6 months and can be cooked from frozen in 4 minutes to be enjoyed at any time.
There are a number of options to indulge in such as weekend dining, monthly boxes, christmas gifts and the socially distant friendly, Winter picnics. For more info see www.mandiraskitchen.com.
But the real question here is are the meals as good as a takeaway?
My partner and I opted for the classic dine in for 2 box priced at £25. Within the box is Lemon Rice, Chicken Xacuti, Lehsuni Dal, 2 Vegetable Samosas, 2 Naan breads and a mini chutney. Our mini chutney was the Silent Pool Orange & Gin Chutney which is made with the bald oranges left over after Mandira’s Kitchen’s neighbours, Silent Pool Distillers, who use the peel in their fabulous gin. This was a welcome change to the sweetness of mango chutney and its spicy, bitter flavours went beautifully with our dishes.
The Chicken Xacuti is something I would never order because I can’t pronounce it, however after consuming the soft pieces of chicken thighs in a creamy coconut sauce I’ll be looking out for this in any Indian restaurant I visit from now on.
The Lehsuni Dal was perfect for being scooped up with the warm naan bread and was perfectly spiced and oozing with flavour, it also went well with the fragrant lemon rice, of which there was plenty to go round. In fact there was plenty of everything, I’d go as far to say that this could feed a family of four.
My favourite part of the meal was the samosas. I don’t think I’ve ever had such crispy, flaky, tasty samosas before, usually they’re a bit soggy from being in a polystyrene box or rock hard from being sat under a heat lamp, but these were absolute perfection and I was upset we only got one each as I could have eaten about four!
Now you may think that I don’t get out much and it can’t really be that good. But I live in Oldham and I used to live near the ‘curry mile’ in Manchester. Believe me when I say I’ve had a fair few Indian meals in my time!
In these unprecedented times (meaning we still have no idea whether or not we can hug our Nanna at Christmas) it can be hard to find something new and exciting to look forward to. But at least if you have a selection from Mandira’s Kitchen in your freezer, you can russell up a tasty meal in minutes to enjoy with those closest to you.
Mandira’s Kitchen delivers anywhere in the mainland UK and offers a monthly subscription service. Find out more here www.mandiraskitchen.com.