The second leg of Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil’s The Hindu MetroPlus Cookery Contest 2013 at A.S. Rao Nagar was high on enthusiasm and talent, writes MANJULA KOLANU

Exams may be on the minds of most school goers and their parents, but that still hasn’t dampened the foodies of Hyderabad from competing to showcase their culinary skills for The Hindu MetroPlus Cookery Contest 2013, presented by Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil. As in the past, women old and young trooped into the Anupuram Community Hall in A S Rao Nagar with dishes they had prepared in one of the three categories – vegetarian, non-vegetarian and sweets/desserts. Displaying a fierce competitive spirit, contestants gave a free run to their creativity to come up with dishes that were colourful, healthy and delicious as well.

The humble watermelon was the star of the day with several women presenting dishes using various parts of the fruit. If salads, juices, shorbets and shakes are well known preparations with the fruit, women here showed that even the inner white shell which is normally discarded can be transformed into a delectable fare. Armed with the knowledge that this portion is highly nutritive, women experimented with it to create curries and chutneys with it.

A few women used the platform to showcase traditional dishes that are hardly ever prepared or eaten these days, albeit with a modern twist. Lata enriched Telangana’s well known traditional Sarvipindi Rotte with melon to add to its nutritive value. Then there was the very pink doll cake titled ‘Florence Cake’ with a tagline that read ‘Save the Girl Child’. Ironically, a large portion of the cake was devoured by enthusiastic visitors by the close of the contest. The prize winning Betel sweet was actually made with a combination of betel leaves, sugar and cocoa powder among its other ingredients. One lady explained about her dish: “This is a new dish that I tried, I didn’t know what to name it, so I just called it Charminar Chicken.”

Fatima said she had come all the way from Tolichowki to participate, for the third year in a row. The 70-year-old Gomathi said the company of fellow cooking enthusiasts was a big draw for her.

Vivekananda and Suresh, both faculty from the Indian Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) had been roped in to judge the competition. While Vivekananda stressed the need for innovation, taste and presentation, Suresh spoke of growing value of nutritious cooking. While winners walked away with silver coins and gift packs, scores of other contestants were picked as lucky dip winners.

Next week the contest moves to Kukatpally. For registrations, email citizenads@gmail.com.

Winners

Vegetarian:

B. Swati – Soya Oats Tikki

S. Sujatha – Surprise Balls

Sanghamitra Sahu – Meda Peta

Non-vegetarian:

Sabreen Naqeeb– Tawa Katakat

Anjali M Goswami – Malvani Chicken

CVL Sujata Rao – Murgh Rezala

Sweets/Desserts:

Mini Joseph – Grapy Tender Coconut Sweet Delight

P. Sridevi – Betel Sweet

Aradhana Agarwal – Soya Kheer Dips

SPONSORS

Contest sponsor: Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil

Refreshment sponsor: Akanksha

Prize sponsors: Maa Jewellery

Lucky dip gift sponsors: Master Weaver and Homoeocare International

Water sponsor: Bisleri

Media sponsors: Hindi Milap, the Siasat daily, and Red FM.