For over four years, many people who didn’t know the first thing about cooking have been impressing their dates with gourmet home-cooked meals thanks to Secret Ingredient. This start-up company, which claims that “everyone can be a gourmet chef”, takes the hassle out of shopping and prepping ingredients, delivering pre-weighed and chopped quality ingredients, to help home cooks prepare delicious recipes using a simple ‘cooking by letters’ system.
The company has grown significantly in the last four years, now offering more recipes, including ones designed by some of HK’s most popular restaurants. They now deliver to (almost) everywhere in HK and even offer same day delivery on orders placed before 5pm on HK Island, which is useful for those days you know you’re going to be stuck at work and won’t have a chance to get to a supermarket.
Speaking of supermarkets, I still continuously battle with our options here in HK; either the prices are extortionate, or you simply can’t find what you’re looking for – or both! Back in England I would happily spend hours in Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, browsing aisle by aisle (and probably buying far more than was necessary, simply because the options were there!). Here, however, I try and get in and out as quickly as I can, armed with a clear shopping list that often requires me to visit more than one shop to get what I need.
The beauty of Secret Ingredient is that, even if you don’t have a single grain of salt or drop of oil in your kitchen, every single ingredient you need is included in your pack, meaning you need spend no time at all in Wellcome or Park ‘n’ Shop! All you need in your kitchen are a couple of hobs and some basic cooking utensils.
I’m not a stranger to Secret Ingredient, but it had probably been at least a couple of years since I had last used it, so we thought it was time to give it a go again and sample one of its best-selling dishes, the spicy sesame chicken and peanut noodles.
Alongside the step by step recipe, the pack included 10 little containers, each clearly labelled so you could follow exactly when to add it into the pan. When it comes to packaging, the company has even thought this through and now uses biodegradable packaging made of corn starch, which is very refreshing to see.
Our dinner was cooked and on the table in a mere 20 minutes. How did it taste, you ask? Absolutely delicious! Even my hard-to-impress dinner date (after first saying he thought it looked a little bland) scraped his plate clean and went for seconds – something he rarely does! My only complaint is that although the recipe warned that adding the whole pot of chilli oil might be too spicy for some…I added the whole pot and could barely notice the spice.
It’s great to see that Secret Ingredient is continuing to succeed as a brand and continuing to add depth to its offerings. As well as beverage pairings, you can now also purchase desserts, soups, salads and even quality cuts of Australian beef from the ‘butchery’. It truly is a fantastic service suitable for even the most amateur cooks that not only makes life much, much easier, but also leads to satisfied dinner dates who may even throw you a compliment or two.
Secret Ingredient is currently running a special offer on this particular dish: new customers can enjoy a 35% discount. That makes this meal only $160 for two, instead of the usual $255. So that’s basically $80 for a seriously hearty and delicious meal, prepared in minutes! To get this offer, simply click this link and get shopping. The offer is valid until 31st August 2015.