Reviving the tiffin custom

Published November 22, 2021, 11:18 AM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

The tiffin is a celebrated word that has its roots in colonial British India. While it refers to the midday meal, it has also expanded to refer to the metal containers that are described as tiffin boxes. As such, any conversation having to do with Indian comfort food will almost always involve the word tiffin, where it now involves a whole range of dishes and equipment, plus suppliers, as in the tiffin wallahs of Bombay. As long as it’s munched on between breakfast and dinner, it’s tiffin.

Tiffin Indian Lunchbox spread

So I was intrigued to see a post from a friend referring to a home food service called Tiffin Indian Lunchbox. Specializing in Indian comfort food with recipes from North India, the aspiration of this food service that just began operation in October, is to be like the “dabbawalas”; literally, one who carries a box.

Tiffin is proud to use recipes that have been tried and tested by North Indian cuisine chefs, and they’ve made sure the right spices, fresh herbs, and ingredients, all sourced locally and from Indian suppliers and grocers are what goes into the tiffin boxes that arrive at your home.

Photo by the author

Tiffin Indian Lunchbox tries to keep things within a limited menu, but with every dish done well. The ones I got to try are the following:

Palak Paneer with basmati rice, which is a spicy vegetarian dish, the paneer a kind of cottage cheese, in a thick paste made from puréed spinach.

Their Prawn Curry with Basmati; cooked in onions, tomatoes, and in an aromatic coconut gravy.

Their specialty is Butter Chicken in spiced yogurt, cooked in the tandoor, and swimming in a buttery gravy mixed with tomatoes and cashews.

And the Chicken Biryani, which is sealed in a clay pot, cooked over a slow fire. The chicken pieces mixed with the basmati.

In the case of the Palak Paneer, the Prawn Curry, and the Butter Chicken, I liked how the basmati rice was kept separate from the actual dish, but all packaged in one container.

Photo from Tiffin Indian Lunchbox

I also got to try their Paneer Kathi Roll and their Chicken kathi Roll. And if you ask me, if you’re going for “sulit” for the peso, these are the ones to order, as they deceptively fill you up. The ones with basmati rice come heavy on the rice (which I know Filipinos will like); but some may find that there isn’t enough of the main course.

Photo by the author

What was nice is that they were consistent on the taste factor; and provided sauces aplenty with their dishes, their mint chutney a house specialty. And they had a nice Saffron Phirni pudding for dessert.

Tiffin’s delivery partners are FoodPanda and GrabFood, and you can visit to get more details.