Cumin Club: Indian Food Meal Kits

My experience with an Indian Food meal kit

September 7, 2022

We’ve been trying to stretch our culinary skills by learning to cook beyond the comfortable American and Chinese/Japanese that we normally prepare. I had been hoping to find a true meal kit: something with fresh ingredients and step-by-step instructions – HelloFresh or Blue Apron for ethnic food. But there doesn’t appear to be such a thing (if you know of one, let us know!)

Instead, this week we tried a semi-prepared meal delivery service from a startup called Cumin Club, founded in 2019 by a U-Chicago MBA student. The web site emphasizes their use of fresh ingredients and no preservatives. I’m not sure why that would be the key selling point. Obviously I don’t want funny chemicals in my food – I expect quality and safety is a given – but maybe they have to say this to differentiate themselves from the traditional, competing importers who may push long shelf life and low costs? In general, it looks like the business is aimed at younger Indian ex-pat singles who have a nostalgic favorite food they can’t easily get at home and don’t want to deal with the hassle of shopping or cooking.

The web site seems to assume you already know the dishes by name, so there are few details beyond the ingredients and nutrition information. I had to ask their customer support just to learn the weight of each meal. Are these packets basically just curries intended to be poured on rice or flatbread? If it’s for two people, should we order two of the same packet, or are we better off mixing and matching? It wasn’t clear. Not having any idea what to order, we basically picked meals at random.

The meals are shipped freeze-dried, in packets that resemble those just-add-water meals you take on camping trips. (Come to think of it, these would make great backpacking fare). This makes the box, which arrived by FedEx a few days after we ordered, unexpectedly light weight. This is not because the portions are skimpy. Adding water, I found, turns each packet into a half-pound of food, which when eaten with rice or the included bag of 20 fresh roti (“Indian tortillas”), is an ample meal.

Our first two meals, Kambu Poha and Palak Paneer, were quite tasty.


Using our 20% first time order discount, we paid $47 (including shipping) for the following ten meals:

1 x Dal Chawal

2 x Ven Pongal

1 x Palak Paneer

1 x Paneer Bhurji

1 x Dal Makhani

1 x Pudina Rice

1 x Sambar Idly

1 x Ragi Poha

1 x Kambu Poha

All in all, I thought this was an excellent service and I look forward to digging through the rest of the meals to try the different flavors.