When you are stuck inside, crazy busy with work and craving some Netflix time, the last thing you want to be doing is scrubbing potatoes, peeling carrots and trying to make a wicked sauce to make your veggies seem more exciting. Well, that was me today.
Thankfully the legends of healthy fast food, Agrain, came to the rescue like the Batman of Brunch, the Spiderman of Supper...you get my drift.
I am not an easy person to feed. I have serious life-threatening allergies to all types of nuts, coconut and sesame. Yet somehow I survive living in Malaysia!
I am still alive mainly due to cooking for myself most of the time, creating time-consuming sauces etc. from scratch. When I do dine out, I bring a booklet of my allergens translated into various languages with images beside them just to be sure that the message that I can die from eating only one nut gets through. Oh, and I am a vegetarian.
As you can imagine, eating out is a challenge for me. Getting takeout delivered is also a danger zone, especially when (and it has happened!) restaurants don't read my "special requests" on the food delivery platform. There is a limit to how much pizza you can eat. Trust me.
Then up stepped Agrain.
I had been lucky to try them before at the opening of their MidValley outlet, so when they asked me if they could send me a box of goodies to sample their new "grocer" service, I said, "Heck yeah!".
Actually, I emailed back politely and explained my allergies and veggie status thinking they would give this opportunity to one of my less difficult co-workers. But no, they responded, giving me a list of foods they could supply, asking me to make my choice! Yay!
The box arrived containing some nifty vacuum-sealed bags containing par-boiled brown rice, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, a jar of olio paste and a bottle of lemongrass tea. I almost cooked dinner right then but realised I had just eaten a late breakfast and wasn't hungry yet, so I packed them away in the fridge and got on with my work.
When my belly started to rumble later that evening, I sprung into action, excited to know that I didn't have to peel or chop anything. I boiled the rice, par-boiled the potatoes then stir-fried them all together with a dollop of the olio. I threw in some chickpeas for protein, but other than that, there was nothing else for me to do but eat it.
It was delicious. The olio paste had just the right amount of herbiness and tomato to make my otherwise somewhat boring vegetables sing. The jar of paste is enough for approximately 10 portions so I can’t wait to experiment with it and the rest of the veg and rice in the coming days.
And the lemongrass tea. Divine. My mouth is watering again just thinking about it. Oh and I didn't die, so they looked after my allergies too. Told you - heroes.
I know its not the same as ordering in a ready-cooked meal or going out to eat, but sometimes it is fun to cook, especially when all the pain of prep is taken out of the equation, leaving you with a quick, tasty, nutritious meal.
For those of you who are meat eaters without allergies, check out their three meal boxes in two portion sizes. Get your Gordon Ramsey on as you cook a Thai Chicken Green Curry, a Chicken Pasta with pesto or my recommendation of the olio. It's hard to beat a homecooked meal, but Agrain has managed it by making it easier and tastier!