We love the idea of cooking our own meals. Masterchefing our way through complex Thai, Indian and even African dishes. But shopping for these usually boils down to two things – one, a treasure hunt through Mumbai looking for hard-to-find ingredients, and two, dealing with the INR 800 bottle of fish sauce slowly expiring in our fridge after we used just a spoon of it.

This is where gourmet meal kits come in. The service will home-deliver a neatly-packed box of the exact amount of ingredients as well as detailed recipes, so you can go wild on the cooking without getting a migraine. Here’s what we found.

iChef

iChef is the most popular of the list {thanks to regular ads in newspapers} and offers gourmet meal recipes that change every week. From artisanal Indian to African, they hand-pick fresh, pre-measured ingredients to help us cook up a culinary storm in the kitchen. They have recipe cards to guide the user and an ice pack that keeps the ingredients fresh without refrigeration for upto 24 hours. Full points for innovation.

#LBBTip: They take last order for same day delivery till 1pm and deliver across Mumbai.

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Photo source: Ichef

Out of the box

Out of the Box comes from the guys who brought SoBo that cosy little cafe at Kitaab Khaana called Food for Thought. They are an all-vegetarian meal kit service and source fresh ingredients packed neatly in a cardboard box. Currently delivering between Colaba and Bandra, they have everything for that special date or a kitty party. Some boxes also have a dish and dessert combo, which we love.

#LBBTip: Orders need to be placed a day in advance.

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Photo courtesy: Out of the box

Haute Chef

Haute chef boasts of a big menu that includes Indian, Continental, Thai, Chinese and Moroccan. They have a mix of indulgent and healthy options – from a kale salad to mutton rogan josh, the menu manages to cater to every kind of craving. They also have a kids-special menu.

#LBBTip: Orders need to placed a day in advance. They deliver to most locations in Mumbai but it’s advisable to check on the locator on their website.

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Photo source: Haute Chef

Let’s Chef

Similar to iChef, Let’s Chef has a weekly menu to choose from. Delivering anywhere in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, a Let’s Chef box comes with recipe cards and an icebox to keep the ingredients fresh. They also send kits made for children to whip up something on their own.

#LBBTip: Orders received before 4pm are delivered the same day. All other orders, next day.

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Photo source: Let’s Chef

Featured photo source: Haute Chef