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All about pathrode rush

Mangalore is synonymous with Dakshina Kannada. So, a Mangalore store is essentially a storehouse of coastal cuisine. The City has a whole lot of them, not just catering to the tastes of Mangaloreans, but also to those of locals.



Visit the store for that perfect coastal treat — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

TYPICAL MANGALOREAN delicacies have always been an instant hit among those who have a penchant for good food. Be it Mangaloreans in the City or the cosmopolitan crowd of Bangalore, amchi food has been a real treat for a long time now.

Food made with generous quantities of coconut, desi ghee or coconut oil, jaggery or sugar, usually qualifies as the best of Mangalore fare. The crisp and thin banana chips fried in coconut oil, wheat and banana halwas made from pure ghee, jaggery holiges with channa dal filling, ready-to-eat pathrode, stuffed with a blend of whole moong and coconut, are just some of the popular take-aways at Mangalore Stores that have sprouted in several localities in the City.

At Shenoy Stores in Jayanagar, there is a wild rush for freshly cooked and packed vermicelli. "We get the shevien (in Konkani) made early in the morning," explains K. R. Vittal Shenoy, proprietor of the Shenoy chain of stores in Bangalore. This South Canara favourite, made from ground rice and coconut, is all sold out by afternoon. While Shenoy's customers are mainly the local people of Bangalore, only about 10 per cent of his patrons are South Canara folk.

If Shenoy started his store of Mangalore specialities in 1990 (with subsequent branches in Malleswaram and Vijayanagar), K.M. Nayak's Nayak's Coffee and Condiments in Malleswaram shopping area is 42-years old. Nayak's core competence is coffee powder and Mangalore condiments, which includes papads (jackfruit papad is an exclusive Mangalore delight) and wodees (what is called sandige in Kannada). "We have our own range of Nayak's Home Cooking Products, which includes powders of various kinds," says Nayak, the present proprietor. Nayak's father had started the store in the 1960s, realising the need for such a shop for Mangalore people, as also for the other residents, of Malleswaram.

Among the other early birds of Mangalore food business in the Konkani dominated neighbourhood of Malleswaram, is the New Mangalore Stores. The owner could think of no better business than setting shop for Mangalore snacks and eats, and no better locality than Malleswaram for his new venture. This 28-year-old shop has a 5-year-old branch today, in the same area. "Business is good, with people of all communities coming over asking for specific Mangalore items," quips Santhosh Kumar of New Mangalore Stores, who also stores ayurvedic and herbal tonics, oils, and medicines from Mangalore.

Manohar Mallya of Mangalore Stores in Hanumanthnagar has a good stock of pooja items, cassettes of bhajans and abhangs, books, idols of Hindu gods, besides Mangalore munchies, pulses and cereals. "People from far and near come to the store especially because of our reasonable rates," says Mallya, who found the need for such a store in a locality where there is no such store at all, but with a good population of Mangaloreans.

But if it is fresh vegetables from Mangalore that you are looking for, the variety that New Udupi Stores (established in 1983) has on offer is almost unsurpassable.

Mangalore cucumber, Mangalore tendril spinach, Mangalore brinjal, salted bamboo shoots, pickled jackfruit pods, haldi leaves, phagil (a thorny, small green veggie), kook (a root, like potato, found in Mangalore and Kerala), and so much more. They even have special leaves for typical south Canara idlis, moodo, and khotto (called kadubu in Kannada) woven and ready to be used. "What is unique to our store is some distinctive Mangalore spices and seasoning," mentions Gopalkrishna Kini, who manages this store with his elder brother K. Nagesh Kini. "We also have palm jaggery, which perhaps no other store in Bangalore might have," claims the younger Kini.

The festive season brings with it an array of goodies, characteristic of Mangalore. New Udupi Stores readies pattholi (a sweet preparation using rice batter, coconut and jaggery, cooked in haldi leaves for a distinct aroma), puffed rice laddoos, and the like during particular festive months.

New Mangalore Stores also has on its list goodies for special occasions such as Ashtami laddoos, and Ganesh Chaturthi modakas. Shenoy Stores has gone a step further and set up Shenoy's Mitthai Khazana in Malleswaram, a sweet shoppe for all occasions.

Such shops might hoard nibbles and provisions that Mangaloreans thrive on, but they have also digressed into selling food stuff that is more `in' with the Bangalore populace. Shenoy's ' `TV Chaklis' get sold like hot cakes and his samosas are a steal at Rs. 1 each. While Nayak has a whole assortment of pickles made from South Indian (more so Tamil Nadu) recipes at his store, Santhosh stockpiles crunchy mixtures and laddoos made of besan and rava. "We want all our customers to be satisfied. So, based on the demand, we sell local as well as Mangalore items," Shenoy expounds.

Whether it is the potato sonto you want to try or the jackfruit and mango pulp bars, athirass (made of rice, coconut oil, and jaggery) or maando (with maida, ghee, sugar and powdered beaten rice as the main ingredients), or the ever famous malpuas or rice wodos, almost any of the stores with Mangalore chow on the offing should be able to more than satisfy not just your palate, but your purse as well.

So go ahead: find a Mangalore store in your locality, and indulge in the magic of the coastal town!

VIDYA HEGDE

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