Good health, in a bowl
Sundaresan Layout, Trichy Road
How do you put together a healthy lunch bowl under 500 calories? “Simple. Curate a menu where fresh vegetables and fruits make up 50 per cent, followed by protein food from pulses or chicken while the remaining 20 per cent is carbs,”explains Yegammai Annamalai, founder of Incredibowl, a cloud kitchen that delivers healthy lunch bowls across the city. My lunch bowl arrives loaded with soft whole wheat tacos, a bowl of chilli lime mushrooms, and a helping of shredded yellow and red bell peppers. I toss the vegetables in cilantro lime sauce, and salsa, assemble my tacos and enjoy a fulfilling lunch. Along with the accompanying watermelon salad tossed in tajin seasoning, and a zero-sugar tropical smoothie, a combination of mango and a passion fruit, I achieve my 500-calorie low carb lunch. A non-vegetarian bowl with chicken steak kebab, red pepper sauce and grilled vegetables offers the same calorie count.
Yegammai who is from Karikudi, moved to Coimbatore early on and initially catered to private parties. “ The healthy lunchbwol concept started when my friend wanted to go on a salad diet to lose weight. She posted photos of my lunch bowl on Facebook, I got flooded with enquiries and here we are,” explains Yegammai who experimented all possible fruit and vegetable combinations and arrived at a template on what fruits works well with a particular vegetable and so on. While she sources vegetables from Udhagamandalam, the mulberries, asparagaus, jalapeno, zuccini flowers ( which she uses to make a filling with with grated paneer for a baked dish), edamame beans (for kimchi and Japanese fried rice), and assorted edible flowers like sangu poo come from places like Bengaluru and Chennai. “ Whatever new ingredients I can lay my hands on I try and innovate a healthy combo,” says Yegammai.
A new menu runs from Monday to Saturday every week. “From salads like apple with smoked cheese, we also tried barbecue salad with barbecued chickpeas for protein, and cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, rainbow carrots, and cabbage made as coleslaw in healthy ranch made with greek yoghurt, garlic powder, chives, and fresh cream and a dash of jaggery, honey or brown sugar for sweetness.” She also experimented with beet burger, where beet juice infused bun takes on a pink colour and is sandwiched with a sweet potato and vegetables patty, and served with a side of tossed brussels sprout and broccoli soup.”
Yegammai says her customers and their expectations keeps her motivated. “From Korean ramen bowl and kimchi edamame fried rice to the Japanese box that comes with rice, vegetable skewers, salads and sushi, we keep innovating. We grill or air fry, we replace brown rice with cauliflower rice and make in-house gnocchi pasta with sweet potatoes and whole wheat flour. From 10 bowls, we have progressed to 100 bowls a day in three years. The idea is to ensure a happy you after the meal.”
Follow @incredibowl_cbe on Instagram or call 9842280001
Flavours from across the world
Japanese chicken katsu sando, an iconic Japanese comfort food is a best seller at Dee’s Cookhaus that offers gourmet food for lunch and dinner. The fried bread and chicken sandwich filled with juicy, panko crusted chicken breast, topped with cabbage slaw and Japanese sauces is a meal in itself. “We have introduced 15 sandwiches inspired by flavours from across the world, from the classic American grill cheese, to British chip patty and Indian style Bombay sandwich, to American mushroom filled cheese steak sandwich,” says Deepika Kumaran, founder of Dee’s Cookhaus.
While pursuing her MBA in London, Deepika worked part time at an Indo-Mexican restaurant there. “The exposure helped me curate a menu featuring Italian (thin crust pizzas and pastas), Mexican(quesadillas) and Argentinian (empanada) and Asian with Thai food as well Indonesia, Mongolian, and Chinese,” explains Deepika adding that the Malaysian Roti John sandwich with minced chicken, sambol and egg, lettuce and sauces is particularly liked by the local palate. “With a side of potato wedges or a rainbow salad, it’s a complete meal on the go. Our nasi goreng is a best seller too, be it chicken, or sea food.” While the tofu and broccoli mee goreng comes with a hint of sweet-spice taste, the chicken and fried egg pad krapow is a classic combination of chicken holy basil stir-fry and a fried egg.
Most ingredients, for example the sweet soy, oyster, and fish sauces are imported. “We use jasmine rice for our Asian cuisine and ensure that the pizza dough and pizza sauces are made at our kitchen. Our diverse menu keeps drawing customers, especially families.”
Deepika has also added a sub brand Krumble and Chip for gourmet cookies. “ It’s basically New York style, bigger, and chunkier cookies. Each of the 12 flavours flavour is handcrafted in 113 grams, like the Mexican style spicy chocolate or black forest with cherries inspired from Germany.”
A cloud kitchen is a best way to begin, for taking baby steps in the restaurant business, says Deepika. “You understand customers and their tastes better. I constantly research, travel, try local food of different countries, and create my own recipes with tweaks to match the local taste. Along with ingredients from different countries, we also use local produce. Every single item on the menu goes through rigorous trials,” says Deepika adding that she wants to offer, “Food from across the globe, right here in Coimbatore.”
Follow @deescookhaus on Instagram or call 9894632072
Vegetarian sushi, anyone?
The Platter station
Crispy, spicy and creamy — that’s avocado sushi roll in a nutshell. And, it gets better with variants like cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and tofu in sweet-spicy sauce. “I replicated some of the combinations that stuck with me during my travels to vegan restaurants in New York,” says Payal Jain of The Platter Station that offers vegetarian sushi, Mediterranean, mezze platter and Mexican grazing boards and gourmet catering. While the Mexican sour cream rice filled with cheese, corn, sour cream and cilantro sets the taste buds on fire, the chilly oil noodles is wholesome.
When Payal Jain moved from Bengaluru to Coimbatore, she craved for international cuisine. “I started making them on my own, recreating the tastes I have had at different places like Singapore and Mumbai. I learnt how to roll a sushi at a workshop in Bengaluru.”
Once she started rolling sushi at home, there’s been no stopping her. “As there were limited sushi options, it motivated me to try new flavours like mango basil. I added mezze, with recipes from the cuisines of Turkey, and Lebanon, besides hummus, pita and falafel.” She innovated grazing board menu with fun elements and variations in cheese, dips and chips, and sometimes by adding a portion of sushi. “My journey started when my friends from abroad gifted me spices and sauces like the aglio e olio from Rome, za’atar from Dubai, and wasabi from the US.”
While she stocks up on spices and sauces sourced from indigenous places of origin like Morocco or Dubai, her supply of fresh produce comes from uzhavar sandhai farmers market. “Exotic fruits like farm fresh strawberries come from Udhagamandalam and red bell peppers, broccoli, avocado, and lettuce from Bengaluru. Brie cheese, jalapeno, and edamame beans are imported.”
Be it Mexican or Japanese, authentic cuisine is our prime criteria, says Payal, adding “We want to give a taste of the global cuisine that is not available at restaurants. We do curated menus for our customers on request. We try truffles, shitake, or cream cheese with umami, to name a few. We are planning to collaborate with small cafes to use their kitchen and their space and bring our customers dine in there.”
Payal says trending food globally is now available at gatherings, right here in Coimbatore. “ Recently, we created truffle flat bread pizzas for a party order and it was a big hit.”
Follow @the_platter_station on Instagram or call 9025725020