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Inspired by nature

Drop in at Santrupti and detox with some healthy ayurvedic cuisine


DRIVING ABOUT 28 km, roughly 40 minutes in time, may not be a very appetising idea for lunch. But when you have an exotic platter that borrows elements from palm leaf scrolls and is served in a quiet lakeside restaurant, the effort can be worth it.

Located in the ayurvedic village Punarjani in Shamirpet mandal is Santrupti, a restaurant that has caught on with weekend drive-in crowds, for its corn croquettes, fried rice, tandoori roti and palak dal. But the USP of the kitchen is definitely the maharaja bhojan, low fat healthful ayurvedic cuisine. "This is natural cuisine. The food is cooked in negligible coconut oil, in earthenware and copper pots.

And it contains one-third the calories of a regular meal," says Venugopal, executive chef Santrupti and alumni Prakruti Bhojanshala, Trivandrum.


The meal is priced at Rs. 150 and the mere look of it is filling. The 35-course spread served on a banana leaf is to be eaten in a particular order. Not forgetting four appetisers starting from harika— an extract of greens — coriander, mint and curry leaves, followed by a date and coconut milk drink.

Appetisers follow a tang gradient, ending on a bland note. This is when you take off on the grated coconut and carrot salad, and the subsequent main course - avial, banana shoot curry, hand pounded rice preparations khichdi, brown rice, jaggery chakkara pongal and a rice-and-milk dessert sweetened with misri, on an almost unending food train.

A spoonful of crimson cheru theni (collected by small honeybees) wraps up the lunch. "Honey is good for digestion," says Venugopal.

"We also prepare special ayurvedic food as prescribed by doctors for people on medication. For instance, people on weight reduction are not served potatoes and brinjals. For rheumatism, one is served vegetable juices pounded in bamboo shoot glasses that is supposed to be therapeutic," says Venugopal.

Apart from the cuisine, the ambience here is refreshing - plenty of sunlight and breeze thanks to the neem trees around.

And well you can indulge in some panchakarma massage or shop a little from the souvenir shop that sells balms and chyawanprash among other things.

SYEDA FARIDA

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