13, Oct 2023
What Are Indians Cooking At Home?

Bengaluru, 13th October 2023 – Home cooking has been viewed as a dying art but is now getting a new lease of life. To capture this new wave, upliance.ai, a smart home appliance startup launched the AI Cooking Assistant, delishUp, proudly dishes out its very first comprehensive food trends report. This report is a fun and flavorful journey through the changing tastes of young India’s home kitchens, wrapped with carefully curated, data-driven insights.

Drawing from an extensive dataset of 3000 households and more than 15,000+ cooking sessions on the delishUp across 11 cities, here are some findings that provide intriguing insights into the nation’s evolving culinary landscape. While some perceptions hold true, others challenge stereotypes, making for a diverse and vivid tapestry of tastes and preferences.

  • 80% of delishUp cooks are men, primarily aged 25-40, who are now cooking at home and experimenting with various cuisines.
  • While 51% of owners declare themselves as non-vegetarian, 85% of households prefer cooking vegetarian meals due to perceived difficulty in learning to cook meat.
  • South Indians prefer rice-based meals, but it’s surprising to discover that out of all the recipes, chapati dough is made frequently on the delishUp (3.5% of cooking sessions)
  • 40% express a desire for healthier eating, but less than 10% consistently cook healthy alternatives on the delishUp.
  • Young India is cooking a wider variety of cuisines at home: 40% Indian, 20% Continental, 20% Italian, remaining 20% are spread across beverages, soups, salads and Asian recipes.

Vegetarian vs Non-Vegetarian: Home is where the vegetables are cooked

India, often thought of as a predominantly vegetarian nation, unveils a more diverse culinary tapestry. Approximately 51% of owners proudly declare themselves as non-vegetarian. However, many novice cooks opt for vegetarian dishes due to the perceived complexity of handling meat, leading to 85% of households cooking vegetarian meals on the delishUp. Beloved dishes like Veg Pulao and Kadai Paneer continue to win hearts and plates. Data also showed that other traditional favourites like Poha and Rasam enjoyed widespread popularity.

 North vs South: We are all curious about what’s cooking next door

  • Breaking the misconception that South Indians prefer rice-based meals, chapati dough is made regularly  on the delishUp, making it one of the top 5 recipes (3.5% of meals made)
  • In contrast, users from North and West India are increasingly drawn to South Indian delicacies such as Upma, Lemon Rice, Bangalore-style Sambar, and Cabbage Pachadi.
  • Similarly, in the South, there’s a growing exploration of dishes like Gujarati Kadhi, Mumbai-style Pav Bhaji, Rice Kheer, Surti Cold Coco, and more, showcasing cross-regional interest when cooking new dishes is simplified.

ChatGPT Creations: Sugar, Spice and Everything AI
AI is seamlessly weaving itself into our daily lives, and its influence now extends into the kitchen. Cooking new dishes has always felt like a challenge – discovering the right recipes, getting the technique and instructions just right and for the really novel ones finding ingredient substitutes can be the hardest. With delishUp’s ChefGPT feature, even novice cooks are trying their hand at cooking new dishes every day at home.

Inventive creations, such as a Mexican-inspired beer concoction, the ingenious Rotli nu Shaak that cleverly repurposes leftover roti, and the mouthwatering Ada Pradhaman, a cherished Kerala dessert. The kitchen has become a safe space to try new things, where even dishes like the whimsical Harry Potter Butterbeer, a French Opera Cake, and the refreshing Tambuli, a South Indian twist on raita, have found their place.

Aside from the sheer variety of meals people now want to cook at home, it is the ease with which young Indian homes are adopting technology to ease daily cooking boredom that stands out.

Tea Time Snacks: Everything tastes better at home

Street food, a beloved part of Indian food culture, remains a top choice across home kitchens in the country. delishUp data revealed that for users across the country, age-old classics like Pav Bhaji and  Bhel continue to be made at home frequently, instead of ordering them in or heading out to them.

There are also unconventional dishes like Bread Paneer Poha, Beetroot Rasam, Pudina Palak Khichdi, Creamy Peanut Noodles, Beetroot Halwa, and Chicken Tagine that are taking centre stage in the evenings, making it clear that there is a growing willingness to embrace diverse flavours and experiment at home if made easy.

What Are Indians Cooking At Home - Infographic

Eating and Cooking Healthy At Home: Expectations Vs Reality

In a world increasingly conscious of healthy eating, it’s interesting to note that while 40% of individuals express a desire for healthier eating habits, the data reveals that less than 10% consistently implement these practices in their daily cooking routines. This highlights the eternal tug-of-war between aspiration and reality, as comfort food often takes precedence over health-consciousness in meal preparation.

Adding to this dynamic is the widespread craving for restaurant-style food, with nearly 500 individuals expressing their desire to recreate their favourite meals at home. These cravings span a variety of cuisines, with 40% leaning towards Indian, 20% preferring Continental, and another 20% opting for Italian and the remaining trying anything from chaats to Asian. This aligns with the interest in eating healthy, but by trying to make “outside food” healthier by making it homemade.

Men are entering the kitchen

A whopping 80% of delishUp cooks are men and those aged 25 to 40 years old, many of whom are cooking for the first time.

In the past, cooking was often synonymous with a laborious process of learning and following recipes, all with no guarantee of success. However, the advent of modern kitchen devices has transformed the culinary landscape. It’s as if wielding these gadgets grants individuals a superpower; they can simply switch them on and effortlessly conjure up everyday meals. This newfound convenience eliminates the need for a specialized skill set, a shift that particularly resonates with men who may have previously felt daunted by traditional cooking methods.

Thus, their attraction to cooking technology and the convenience it offers is driving greater independence in the kitchen. This newfound autonomy has been motivating them to experiment with a wide array of dishes and explore their horizons.

What Unites Us All?

In the diverse realm of Indian cuisine, timeless favourites like Poha, Pulao, and Kadai Paneer unite the nation’s taste buds. Mornings often begin with quick meals like Poha and Upma, while dinner brings the comfort of Chapatis paired with an array of sabzis, including Kadai Paneer and Aloo Tamatar Sabzi. Lunch varies but often features rice-based dishes like Veg Pulao and Sambar.

Dessert cravings are dominated by Rice Kheer, enjoyed universally, with Vermicelli Payasam adding a Southern twist. In the realm of non-veg, Butter Chicken takes the crown, delighting non-veg enthusiasts nationwide. These culinary trends showcase the enduring love for traditional flavours and the harmonious blend of regional and national tastes in Indian cuisine.

As the nation’s culinary interests continue to grow, this in-depth research provides valuable insights into the recent changes in the food preferences of people across India. With home cooking now making a comeback, the convenience of a cooking appliance that takes you from prep to plating has democratised cooking and is helping young Indian homes stop eating boring home food.