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IT city goes gaga over desi pizza


AKKI ROTTIS are no novelty for Bangaloreans. But with 600 rottis melting in ravenous mouths a day, V.N. Uma's Malnad Akkirotti seems to have won over discerning taste buds. The texture, taste, thickness, extent to which they are cooked, and the accompaniments of brinjal curry and chutney are just too much for the indulgent Bangalorean to resist.

It all started during a school function where the Akhila Bharatha Brahmana Sangha was felicitating SSLC students. Five food stalls were set up and Uma's was one of them. So popular were the akki rottis that of the 2,000 people who turned up for the function, nearly 1,000 swarmed to her stall. Uma's sister Sudha, a schoolteacher, encouraged her to go commercial with the rottis. And so she did, at her house near Banashankari.

Perfection

Marriage had taken Uma to Shikaripura, where she lived with her husband's 25-member family. In 2002, however, she came to Bangalore to educate her two sons. Having learnt the art of making rottis and with useful tips from her mother, Uma learnt to toss her rottis to perfection. She was an instant hit at various exhibitions in Girinagar, Kathriguppe, Jayanagar, and the like. At the Karnataka State Women's Association exhibition, not only were her rottis sold out but was also given the first prize for display, earned a memento for serving tasty food, and keeping the stall neat. Uma makes the rottis on the spot and at exhibitions, sells up to 2,500 to 3,000 rottis in three days.

Uma has found ways to market her product regularly. A person already selling jolada rotti in Kathriguppe had asked Uma's husband Ganesh to bring akki rottis to his store. Uma began by supplying just 20 rottis, but their now famous rottis are sold in large numbers in different parts of the city.

The rottis are taken to Kathriguppe near Janata Bazaar, Bank Colony, Jayanagar, Uttara Kanataka foods, Jayanagar 4th T Block, Rajajinagar, Bhashyam Circle, Desi Ruchi in JP Nagar, Kolhapuri Restaurant in Jayanagar, and even marriage halls.

The making

Uma is very particular about the ingredients that go into her rottis. The rice used is the IR64 variety that is ground 80 kilo at a time so the rottis are soft and fluffy. The masala that goes into the rottis is prepared at home and consists of onions, carrots, cucumber, mint, green chillies, methi and jeera. Uma also uses her own rotti papers on which the dough is spread and then placed on the tava.

The rottis roll out of their premises once in the morning and again at noon.

Uma's expanded into ragi rottis and 150 of these are sold daily especially to diabetics. The ragi rotti idea took shape when the TV serial crew of Gupta Gamini, who were hitherto feasting on Uma's akki rottis, wanted a change. The ragi rotti is made of ragi powder, onions, carrot and chillies, mint jeera, and coriander. Except for the vegetables which are put in a food processor, the process is all manual. Three ragi or akki rottis cost Rs. 10.

Brinjal curry

The brinjal curry is made with Mysore brinjal, tomato, onion, capsicum, potato, and a masala made of six ingredients. If one wants only the curry sans the rottis, a separate order must be placed at Rs. 50 a kilo. The red chilli chutney is made of Byadagi chillies and is priced at Rs. 100 a kilo, while the coconut chutney is Rs. 50 a kilo.

The couple has now moved to different premises, where they have five stoves and gas cylinders. They buy rice every three to four days and their daily purchase works out to Rs. 500. They say they will be able to make up to 2,000 rottis a day but they need a bank loan for that. For now, they have counter sales at their premises, and a few premium hotels have been approached and they have shown interest in the product.

Ganesh says that they have been making a decent livelihood out of this and he is confident he can market the product better and with little finance, they can surely do better.

Malnad Akkirotti can be contacted over phone on 57611306 or 98458-69310.

M.V. CHANDRASHEKAR

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