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Food connoisseurs' delight



Delicious Display.

OF LATE, the number of restaurants conducting festivals to display their potential (or skill) of producing delectable dishes is on the rise. Some time ago, it was `dosa fest'. And now, it is the `puttu festival' at the Freedom Meenakshi Bhavan, a branch of Meenakshi Bhavan.

A visit to the hotel will prove that a veritable feast of wide varieties of `puttu' is in store for customers. The hotel offers a new reason to drop in and have a bite, as the traditional stable food of Keralites, with coconut shavings strewn all over, beckons every customer.

There is a desi touch as one enters in. With rare pictures from the freedom struggle period displayed all over the place, it provides a perfect ambience for the customers to spend the evening at the hotel.

Rummaging through the menu card, the whiff from the fresh `puttus', permeating all over the hall, propels one to enquire about the new arrival. Then comes another menu card where the customer could find the cylindrical cuisine in 12 different kinds. To name some, there are rice, ragi, vermicelli, and scores of millets including corn, `cumbu' (a variety of millet), `thinai' (a variety of millet) and `kavuni' (a coloured rice used by the Chettinad people).

When N. Sethuraman, chairman of the group of hotels, suggested the idea of conducting a food festival, Rajaram, general manager, was sure to make this effort different from their earlier ventures. And then they decided to organise the `puttu' festival. The path to finalisation of the recipe was never smooth, as it took more than 20 days for Mr. Rajaram and Ramesh, manager, to arrive at a conclusion.

"Already, we had an experience in the making of `puttu', as rice and ragi are our regular dish. But we wanted to add some new colour to our recipes wherein our Chettinad chef Sakthivel and Jawahar suggested the idea of making puttu with different millets, apart from the regular stuff," said Mr.Ramesh.

After testing the dishes for 15 days, the team decided to commence the festival on March 15. "The response is overwhelming as we sell more than 200 `puttus' per day, and this number is sure to go up as the Chithrai festival is fast approaching'' he said.



In the making

"On normal days a `puttu' costs Rs.18 with only rice, and ragi variety. But now at this festival, the whole lot of cuisines are lined up to be picked at a reasonable rate of Rs.15", says Mr. Ramesh.

To entertain the kids, the sweet `puttus' are also prepared, while the spicy one is for the elders, he says

From sugar to bananas and from `dhals' to the spicy `kadalakari', there are side-dishes too to woo customers.

"The response to the `cumbu puttu' is quite encouraging, as the health-conscious public want to cash in on the nutritive value of the dish," said Mr. Sakthivel.

After treating the food buffs of the Temple City with puttu, now the hotel plans to feast the people in the Gulf by opening an outlet in Dubaifrom the Tamil New Year Day, says Mr.Ramesh, face beaming with hopes.

T. SARAVANAN

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