What is a tiffin meal ?


What is a tiffin meal

What is a tiffin meal ?

A lunch or afternoon meal served in an Indian tiffin is mostly an Indian thali-style meal, which has a combination of vegetables, chawal, dal, roti, pickles, curd, chutneys and puddings, all served in one big steel plate or banana leaf. 

All the items added in the Indian veg or non-veg thali meal are based on a tantalising selection of regional delicacies with different tastes and multiple nutrient values to offer all tastes in one meal, giving a kind of divine contentment.

Tiffin was the term used for a light luncheon meal. It went from British colonial legacy to everyday lunch in a box which had several separate compartments with various components of a meal such as rice, curry, dal and chapattis that are kept in separate tiers of the box and these tiffin meal carriers are also called dabbas. 

Tiffing is the term used for having a little swig of diluted liquor. Tiffin is used for light meals, and for those working in Mumbai, India, it refers to the container or the stacked tiffin meal boxes ferried around to the workplace. The famous dabbawallas( also called the tiffin wallahs) carry these containers on bicycles and trains, delivering colour-coded stacked tiffin meal carriers to office workers with clockwork precision. 

As per the Lexicon Balatronicum compiled in 1785, tiffing is used for eating or drinking out of mealtimes. High tea and tiffin meal have since become synonymous with Indian life and cuisine. The tiffin carrier travelled across Asia to places like Singapore, mainland China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. 

Tiffin carriers can be made of wood, bamboo or porcelain and decorated with ornamentation or floral designs. The antique collections displayed by the famous Singapore Raffles Hotel have a restaurant called the Tiffin Room, which is decorated with antique tiffin carriers kept in glass cases where one can order a lavish Indian buffet.  

The typical brass tiffins have been modified into other types of insulated and light carriers. However, brass containers remain part of the luxury and essential Indian tradition of home-cooked food carried to the workplace, college or school. 

Indian Tiffin Meal

Tiffin meal refers to a light meal consumed during the day. It can be a snack, a packed lunchbox or a savoury or sweet dish. It can be vegetarian, vegan, meat -dishes, less spicy, and recipes served in small portions. 

The Indian traditional foods were always served pipping hot, and the tiffin carrier boxes were made up of metals or components that could keep the food warm even in a cold climate. They were sometimes made of aluminium, which kept the food hot for two to three hours. Inside the tiffin meal carrier boxes were food packed in a specific style with cutlery, tastemakers, pickles and sauces. 

In the early days of the British Empire, the delegates from the foreign nations would have afternoon tea as a ubiquitous daily event. However, the Indian climate was hotter, sticky, and humid, so they had to modify how they ate snacks or had tea. Instead of stuffing at a luncheon feast, they took afternoon tea with a light lunch at the hottest time. 

It was called tiffin and tiffing (to take a sip); the name of the meal was a bit irrelevant as the Brits preferred liquids rather than a hearty, full-course meal.  

What is Tiffin Food?

Though a tiffin meal is considered a snack or lunch meal, it can be a tea-time treat or a full multiple-course meal packed in a tall metallic cylindrical container filled with a variety of dishes often served in thali meals by Indian restaurants or hotels. 

In a typical south Indian thali meal, lentils cooked with tamarind and vegetables, a peppery soup-like dish with pepper and tamarind, lentils or vegetables cooked with grated coconut, sautéed vegetables, rice, pappadams and chutneys can be found. 

The lunch box tiffin meal often contains all these items packed separately in small air-tight containers to avoid spilling and contamination with other items. 

In North East, Tiffin is the snack between meals with nibbles, often containing sweet and savoury rice dumplings, pork curries, fried rice, meat keema dishes, chicken choila, lentils curry and other steamed meats and vegetables, and regionally prepared soups packed in spill safe microwavable containers for office workers and schoolchildren.

Indian Tiffin Box

Home-cooked food is considered healthy and divine, and a typical Indian tiffin box presents multiple tantalizing selections of regional delicacies often served in a thali meal. The delicacies include spicy rice, yoghurt, lentil curries, pickles, bread and pudding, traditionally served on a big steel plate or a banana leaf. 

The compact, portable, homemade lunch stored in various compartments in the lunch box holds a complete thali meal, and it is transported to men and women working in the fields, offices or travelling to different places. Hundreds of stainless steel tiered tiffin boxes or dabbas are carried on handcrafts pushed by the dhoti wearing white capped tiffin wallas on Mumbai streets.

Some tiffin meal providers get Indian curries and vegetables prepared from scratch in tiffin meals. You can get a variety of seasonal vegetables, legumes, lentils, healthy fats and tandoori specialities, meat and kebab cooked in a charcoal clay oven, curry sauces, mint sauces, salads, desserts, and one can enjoy a variety of korma, bhuna or vegetable or meat curries. 

Tiffin Curry

You get multiple varieties of tiffin curry to over-indulge in, prepared into thick or watery soups mixed with vegetables or meat curries and paired with rice. It is common to see small eateries in different parts of India with boards saying Tiffin ready. 

It refers to containers holding light snacks or foods like cutlets, idli (rice dumplings), bajjis (vegetable fritters), vadas (lentil fritters), dosas (crisp lentil crepes) or up (snacks made of broken wheat), which are eaten between breakfast and dinner. 

The purpose of such a box is to keep the dishes separate in the compartments. It can be a consistent multi-course Indian meal where sauces, stir-fried dry sauteed meat or vegetable curries are prepared in different styles, where the multi-course meals with sauces must not run into another dish or cause contamination or dilute or change the authentic flavours or aroma of the dish. 

The curry must not flow freely or mingle with other foods, making them soggy, so each meal is packed separately in an air-tight container. 

Tiffin Recipe UK

A tiffin recipe UK container presents multiple vegetarian and non-vegetarian meal combos. You can get biriyanis, curries, tandoori chicken, chapatti, rice, vegetable curries, soups, starters, tikkas and much more; get a monthly tiffin subscription for a wholesome meal at affordable rates. 

Tiffin meal services are considered perfect for those who need to cater to special diets such as gluten-free or vegan. You can even get specific meals for family occasions, office parties or lunch boxes for kids. 

What is Indian Tiffin?

There are many places of devotions and social gatherings in India where containers carrying meals were transported to places of worship and worked for distribution to the masses, allowing pilgrims, workers, and travellers to enjoy daily wholesome, delicious meals. 

In South India, tiffin meal is a routine part of hospitality, and the foods vary depending on the occasion. Tiffin boxes can be packaged for outdoor picnics or family get-togethers, and Tiffin snacks are carried to offices and schools as lunchtime meals. Workers carry meals in tiffin boxes, prepared at home and consumed at lunchtime in the office. 

Some restaurants offer tiffin special meals with multiple recipes. Tiffinwalahs present tiffin box carriers who transport orders to deliver for busy workers. 

Define Tiffin

Tiffin originated from the British slang term used for light luncheon snacks. The term was popularised during the colonial era for lunchtime meals. Since tiffin meal is part of the Indian culture, many items are suitable for tea snacks and breakfast; it is widely used for light dinners and lunch. 

Tiffin is sometimes interchanged with luncheon as if it were the quintessentially extravagant style of having everyday meals. However, it can be used even for meals presented with fridge cakes, tea or regional snacks. 

What is Tiffin?

A tiffin is a perfect reusable, compact, hygienic, and sustainable food container. Carefully prepared and packaged meals enveloped in flavours, spices, and comforts are carried by office workers heading to the workplace. 

The four-story tiffins contain fresh basmati rice or bread in the bottom layers, a pickle or salad in another and a curry or lentil in the top containers. These boxes may contain crispy vegetable fritters, salads, yoghurt, papadum and dessert. 

Modern lunchboxes are microwavable, but traditionally, metal boxes were used to store foods that retained the warmth and freshness of home-cooked meals where reheating was unnecessary. 

Many alternative food containers made from glass or food-grade stainless steel or certain types of BPA-free plastic containers are used for packaging and storing foods to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. 

Stainless steel containers do not stain, smell, or wear out with time. These are durable, reusable, and widely used for transporting sumptuous Indian meals.  

What Is Tiffin Service?

You can have a Tiffin service subscription for everyday snacks, lunch or dinner meals from an Indian Tiffin service near me to get various recipes. The tiffin is part of the Indian culture and is widely used in South Asia for light dinners, snacks and breakfast items. It is a food which contains a combination of meals and recipes of rice, curry, lentils, vegetables and chapatti. 

What Are The Different Types Of Tiffins?

Tiffins come in various shapes and sizes, but traditionally, they were round steel cylindrical containers with three to four stacking compartments firmly sealed with a tight-fitting lid and side clip to avoid nasty spillage of foods. They had a handle on the top.

Historically, Indian tiffin meals were carried in brass containers with a locking system and a big spoon to hold the pots of brass. Even today, brass containers carry meals to school, work, picnics or long journeys. 

The inside of the brass was plated in tin to prevent corrosion and tarnishing. Later, some lighter tiffin meal boxes made from aluminium, stainless steel, and polystyrene, which varied in size and shape, were also in use. 

The modern versions have insulated covers to keep the food piping hot. These days, you find meals packaged in disposable plastic containers or food–grade packaging materials that are BPA- and phthalate–free and dishwasher and oven-safe.

What Is A Tiffin Box?

In the past, when there were no hotels or restaurants, tiffin boxes served as a way to transport home-cooked food to places. The food was packed in a style: the lower containers held curries and dry vegetables, and accompaniments were packed on top. Each bowl of food could be taken out, and no plate was required to consume the food.

Where Can I Find An Affordable Tiffin Service Near Me?

You can search for affordable tiffin services near me to have nutritious meals. Many overwhelming choices, such as messes, cloud kitchens, home kitchens, eateries, and others, provide multiple options for tiffin services. You can choose the most affordable and rated tiffin service to cater to your food needs. 

Many tiffin wallahs provide affordable tiffin services to get you the desired taste, but you may not get the quality suitable for your health needs. It is necessary to consider the source of raw material used in the preparation, the quality, and hygiene and packaging methods, as most providers try to cut costs there. 

The kitchens must spend additionally on food preparation techniques to deliver the finest meals. Some providers even skip the stages of raw material washing or may prepare curries or refrigerate raw material for many days. The foods cooked on high flame have low nutrients, and certain food items are stored for months, which can deteriorate the quality. 

Certain restaurants use the same cooking oil multiple times; overburning cooking oils can produce harmful fumes that are considered unhealthy. 

The quality of the packaging of tiffins must be appropriate; one should use non-recyclable plastic bags, thermocol containers, or silver foil bags; one must use packaging which does not react with hot or cold food and alters its chemical composition.

Since there are multiple dishes offered in tiffin and each regional Indian meal has different flavours, if you want to have typical Punjabi curries, you must not order a Maharashtrian or South Indian tiffin meal. Always check the menu carefully and search for nutritious and budget-friendly options.

What Is The Difference Between A Lunchbox And A Tiffin?

Tiffin meal refers to a midday luncheon and, in some regions, a meal snack or a light breakfast. In India, tiffin means packed lunch. The containers where the lunch was packed were either called tiffin-box or tiffin-carrier, and the man who delivered the container was tiffin–wallah. Lunch packed in such a container is also called a lunch box.


Get in touch with us
maa's best bg
You can also order
by phone
whatsapp icon
Call Now on
07780 929265
maa's best yellow line
phone icon