Are meal delivery plans the best option for time-strapped foodies?

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We try out Let's Cook, a meal delivery system, to find if it will ease the burden of our daily cooking.

By Ambica Sachin

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Published: Fri 28 Feb 2020, 11:49 AM

There's nothing worse than reaching home late at night, after a long tiring day at work, to realize there's absolutely nothing to eat. No cooked food and not even the ingredients to whip up a wholesome, tempting dish to eat away our blues. Very often we find ourselves wanting to eat a healthy, home-cooked meal, but either we haven't had time to do the weekly grocery shopping or are too tired to think up an appetizing recipe by the time we reach home. So when we chanced upon a pre planned meal delivery system, Let's Cook, we decided to give it a try for a week. It seemed like a good deal for time-challenged foodies, who love to try out new recipes, but don't have the time to shop for the ingredients and come up with recipes on a daily basis. Here's a meal-by-meal description of what went down in our kitchen: 
Day 1
Grilled Chicken Breast and Green Salad - The best and easiest of the recipes. The chicken was not only tender and fresh, but the cooking time was so quick and in fact along with the salad, there was more than enough left over for a small portion the next day.
Ease of cooking: 5/5
Day 2
Artichoke and Chicken Pasta - Who doesn't like pasta right? Since it was carb heavy, we decided to make it for lunch which meant the whole cooking process took part in the morning ahead of the workday. The readymade Tomato Concasse (by Let's Cook) ensured the process went off smoothly and the artichoke added oomph to an otherwise basic dish along with a smattering of sundried tomatoes and basil leaves.
Ease of cooking: 5/5
Day 3
Baked Potato and a Vegan Chili - Not sure if it was the way we did the potatoes but it took forever to cook in the oven. Maybe we should have par boiled it before baking it like we usually do? The soya nuggets again took a while to cook to the consistency we required despite following the instructions. It tasted pretty good at the end, though our potatoes could have been a bit more done. It defnitely took more than the requisite 50 mts mentioned in the recipe.
Ease of cooking: 3/5
Day 4
Vegan Pad Thai - We love a good Pad Thai and buoyed by memories of a soul-satisfying, stomach filling meal, we embarked on what proved to be a culinary misadventure on our part. We are not sure if the quantity of the rice noodles was too much or the soya sauce too less, but what finally turned up in our wok was too insipid - we had to give it a generous dollop of extra soya sauce and other condiments to make this taste nice. On the upside the fresh and crunchy Pak Choi, Bean Sprouts and Brocolli were easily the best part of the meal!
Ease of cooking: 2/5
Fast and easy delivery: With timely updates on our mobile, the food kits were delivered exactly when they said it would reach our place. 
Professional packaging: Each of the meal plan comes in a sleek cardboard box that's perfect for stacking inside the fridge.
Quality ingredients: The ingredients are all measured and packed individually and from the onions to the herbs, the selection process is top-notch. 
Pre-portioned: Which essentially mean you rarely eat more than you should be!
A few recipes could do with a more elaborate description considering our Pad Thai didn't come up so well. Ditto for the baked potato which took more than the time mentioned to cook through completely. 
Conclusion: Let's Cook is great for time-strapped professionals who want to eat healthy and who enjoy putting together food; the main plus being the pre-packaged ingredients that makes cooking such a delight. With the 4-meal plan for example, you need not worry about going to the grocery and picking up the right stuff and most importantly coming up with the apt recipe each day. The meal plan ensures you can choose from a wide variety of recipes - you can even choose to make something you might have ordinarily ordered from outside! If you are the type who has an erratic lifestyle and decide at the last moment to pop by to the club after work, then this might not be for you. We in fact found ourselves rejecting offers for dinner out knowing that our meal plan was waiting to be cooked up at home! It can def bring some discipline into your eating habits and make cooking fun for those who find it tedious otherwise.
Price: A value meal box for 2 people with 4 recipes can cost around Dhs330/ (roughly Dhs41/ per meal) which if you consider your weekly grocery bills plus prep time or even take-outs on a weekly basis is a good deal. 

Town Grilled Chicken Breast and Green Salad
Town Grilled Chicken Breast and Green Salad
Artichoke and Chicken Pasta
Artichoke and Chicken Pasta
Vegan Pad Thai
Vegan Pad Thai
All the pre packaged ingredients
All the pre packaged ingredients

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