Last night, I watched as Padma Lakshmi (star of Top Chef and Carl’s Jr.’s recent ad) explained the virtues of the tiffin trade in India on Discovery Travel & Living. Mumbai is apparently the only city in the word where home-cooked food is delivered by the dabbawala or Tiffin Man to working people all over the city. Basically, your mom or wife cooks your food, the Tiffin Man picks it up around 9-10am, then through a complicated series of train/cart transfers, your tiffin gets to you, filled with hot steaming rotis, curries, meats and a sweet treat at lunchtime. Amazing!
It just makes no sense to bring your lunch with you in the mornings as this system of over 5,000 Tiffin Men delivering to over 200,000 working people has been in place forever! Plus, the dabbawallas, lowly educated Indians from the Pune region, have built their lives around this trade. It’s such an amazing system that you can easily find diagrams and flowcharts online explaining its intricacies. Click HERE for more on the tiffin trade.
Here’s a popular tiffin recipe for Coconut Chicken. Mmmm….
- Cut 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Fry them in oil.
- Add 1 thinly sliced carrot, 1/2 cup sweet peas, 1 chopped green onion, 1 tablespoon curry powder, salt and pepper to the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Combine 1 can of coconut milk to the mixture and mix well. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Pack into your son’s/boyfriend’s/husband’s waiting tiffin and if you don’t live in Mumbai, just look at it until he comes home…