All posts by Amita Gadre

What is an Akhad Party or Gatari Amavasya?

 

The akhad party or the feast on the last day of the month of Ashadh, also known as the ‘gatari amavasya’; is when one binges on alcohol and eats meat to their hearts content- the reason, so that you do not have the urge to eat the forbidden foods during Shravan. Shravan is the Hindu month of fasting and religious importance, during this time, people abstain from non-vegetarian foods and alcohol or eat only one meal a day. But there is a big party that happens right before Shravan begins. The akhad party feasting is taken so seriously that the moonless night (Amavasya) is known as ‘gatari’ cause of the belief that people eat and drink to the extent of falling in the gutters in alcohol induced oblivion! Beat that!

Punekars being the party loving folks that they are, since a few years a new trend has been observed where people have begun their akhad parties a couple of weekends in advance. What better excuse to party till the wee hours of the night than that?! The busy lives that we lead, leaves us with little time to slave over the stove cooking kolhapuri mutton curry, malvani kombdi wada, chicken/mutton biryanis, kebabs, tikkas and other meat delicacies. Zoom in to home-chefs and small party caterers who know what a traditional akhad party feast is and can cater to your party food needs while you too can enjoy the binge drinking and eating in the comfort of your home. This year, Gatari Amavasya is on the 23rd of July, Sunday. But the akhad party season has already begun and the rains are bringing their best to help you create the perfect party mood.

What are you waiting for? Ping your friends and plan a party now! The food bit, leave it to the experts!

Meal Tango presents a special menu for your Akhad Party! Just call us a couple of days in advance and we will have you set up for a hassle free party where you can focus on having fun and we will manage the party food. Here’s some of the specials menu-

  1. Kombdi vade (serves 2) – Rs. 499

Kombdi Vade is a very popular dish from the Malvan region of coastal Maharashtra. Literally translated it means puri and chicken curry. But once you taste these super tasty multigrain puris or vade with the typical malvani chicken curry, there will be no going back! If you want to have a unique traditional menu for your party, then Chef Pankaja’s kombdi vade is your best bet.

  1. Exotic Mutton meal (serves 1) – Rs. 500

Are you a hard core non-vegetarian who prefers mutton over chicken? Then this exotic mutton meal by Chef Anurima is just for you. Mutton seekh kebabs, Adraki mutton Chops, mutton korma curry, aromatic rice pilaf (pulao) and 2 phulkas – what more would one want? Order this and get that bottle of whiskey out, coz you sure are going to have a fantastic party!

  1. Nagpuri Saoji Gavran Chicken combo (serves 2)- Rs. 900

You might have tried and loved Kolhapuri chicken and Malvani Chicken curries, but have you ever tried the ‘thaskebaaz’ fiery Nagpuri Saoji Chicken curry? Here’s your chance; it could not get any better as we offer you a gavran (desi/free range) chicken curry, nagpuri style. They say you haven’t tasted real Maharashtrian hot and spicy food till you have tried Nagpuri cuisine. Why wait? Order away!

There’s more- also on the menu are chicken kebabs, chicken curry, biryanis, mutton kheema, mutton pulao, mutton kebabs, Mughlai chicken biryani and much more. For more details and to order, login to Akhad Menu on Meal tango.

Top 5 PRO-TIPS on eating out without breaking your diet


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Being on a diet means you can never eat out. – Not true

If you want to eat healthy, you have to cook at home for yourself.  – May be, but not always.

We all agree that food cooked at home is the best food. There is a reason why ‘ghar ka khana’ is so cherished by everyone. Home food is comfort food, its food that has been customized and more importantly is freshly cooked as per your dietary needs, likes dislikes etc. Having said that, how many of us have the energy to cook a full meal from scratch after coming back home from a long work day? Or, have access to a great cook/kitchen help who can cook delicious yet healthy food for us every day? Not many.

A lot of us young folks don’t even know how to cook, forget the healthy or delicious part of it. So then, what do we do? We eat out or order in. There are many drawbacks to that-

  1. Eating out is expensive
  2. Eating at a restaurant breaks two things in one go – your bank and your diet or health goals
  3. When you order in, you are stuck with the same biryani, rolls, gravy/curry and roti, Chindian, sandwiches. Because, obviously you want to maximize each buck spent.
  4. Routine eating out leaves you with health issues like acidity, bloating, reflux, indigestion, constipation, flatulence, skin ailments etc.

So what is the way out then? I am not saying that everyone needs to join cooking classes and get cooking, although that would be ideal; but there are some simple tips to keep in mind when you eat out or order your food in –

  • Strategize and stick to a plan – If you know you are going to go out with friends on a Friday night, then eat light meals through the day. Similarly, when you happen to have a heavy indulgent lunch, go easy on dinner.
  • Choose wisely – Go to a restaurant that has many whole, vegetable filled, healthy options. Check out the menu online and then decide what you are going to have before you reach the restaurant. There is no point in going to a pub with only bar bites and asking for a salad. Be wise, choose wise.
  • Eat ahead – The number one reason for people losing all self-control when they eat out is the fact that by the time they reach the restaurant they are ravenous and on the point of going crazy, if they don’t eat something really quick. And unfortunately, most quick food options available then, are deep fried. When you know that it will be way past your regular dinner time till you reach the pub, it makes sense to eat a vegetable sandwich or a smoothie before you leave home/work. That way you are not ready to ravage whatever food comes in front of you.
  • Know basic cooking terms – Ordering from an elaborate menu is no mean feat. You need to know the meaning of basic cooking terms like steamed, grilled, braised, pan fried, roasted, fried, wok-tossed etc. Also, when ordering a salad, always order the dressing on the side so that you can control how much of the dressing you eat. When eating a meat dish like meat steak, opt for veggies instead of mashed potato or French fries.
  • Smart ordering in – For the times when you have to order in, opt for home chefs making healthy customized food (like Meal Tango 😉 ) or salad subscriptions and health food services rather than going for the regular neighbourhood takeaway centre. There is always a choice available when eating healthy, that choice is completely yours to make. Choose health, as its your body and mind that matters most of all!

How will GST impact home-chefs and home-bakers?

GST homechef homebaker impact. GST impact on home food business. FB Live Event

On July 1 2017, the Government of India launched a nationwide tax reform called the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST has been creating a lot of news since the past six months and since the launch there has been a furore of activities to align all the businesses with the current tax reform. But a large number of the 40 million micro small and medium enterprises in our country, of which home run businesses are a big part, are yet unaware of how GST will impact them and what changes if at all, do they need to make in the way they operate their business and pay their taxes.

There is a general sense of confusion and panic where everyone wants to do right and no one wants to be in a position of having defied this tax regimen, and yet there is not much clarity on how to go about it. Coming to the food industry, as that is where we operate in, the dilemma continues. Most bakers are wondering on whether they need to start charging 28% extra on all chocolate confections. Home chefs are in a quandary on whether to increase their product prices or not. Pune based baker Shruti Kapre has questions about whether she needs to register for GST at all and whether she needs to charge the tax separately. Home chef Rashmi wants to know whether she needs to take receipts from all her suppliers and then give receipts to her customers herself.

Some more questions that have been raised are-

  • How to register for GST and what are the tax slabs?
  • Who pays the tax on the chocolate, the supplier or the baker?
  • Some say GST will make products cheaper while others say things will be more expensive. What is the truth?
  • I have never filed a return for my business; will I need to do that now?
  • How do I calculate my turnover? I need to pay tax according to that, right?
  • I read about input tax credit, what is that? And how is that applicable to my situation?
  • If I increase my prices by 28%, my sales will decrease and on top of that there will be more tax on me. How will I do business then?
  • My suppliers do not give me a receipt; can I not buy my materials from them now?
  • I have a part time job and run a home based baking business too. So I will have to pay income tax and GST both?

MealTango brings to you a unique helpline to resolve all such and more queries of home chefs and home bakers. Our expert Lalit Valecha (ex PWC, owner of Ahuja Valecha LLP) will be there to help you understand what GST is, what its impact will be on your business, who needs to register, how to manage pricing, etc. So make the most of this opportunity and make your home business GST compliant. Remember, this is a tax reform, which can be understood and implemented. And for any help needed, you have the MealTango GST helpline. So tune in to the MealTango facebook live session on GST for homechefs and homebakers, on Saturday, 8th July, 2017 , 4.30pm IST at facebook.com/mealtango.