The aroma-filled kitchen at the Department of Catering Science and Hotel Management of SNR Sons College was abuzz with activity

While 19-year-old Sanjana Dakalia was busy preparing a Gujarati special bitter-free bitter-gourd curry, 83-year old P. Lalitha was making a Tamil Nadu special ‘Manathakaali kozhambu’.

They were women of all age groups, the senior-most being two octogenarians. The dishes the 30 of them prepared were also as varied. From traditional to modern, spicy to sweet, South-Indian to North Indian, baked to fried, the cookery contest of The Hindu here on Saturday was a gourmet’s delight.

Organised at SNR Sons College as part of the daily’s International Women’s Day celebrations, the contest saw 30 participants coming out with their best vegetarian recipes to bag the first three places.

The aroma-filled kitchen at the Department of Catering Science and Hotel Management of SNR Sons College was abuzz with activity as the women cut, sautéed, fried, baked, and steamed, to prepare the dish that they liked and would be appreciated by the judges.


Though they were all different and unique, there were some common features too – the generous use of millets, more steaming and less deep frying, and a conscious effort to attribute some nutritive value to each dish.

Judges, S. Muthukumar, Executive Chef, Hotel Alankar Grande, and R. Singaravelavan, Head of the Department of Catering Science and Hotel Management, enjoyed the tasting session, before declaring the winners.

The assessment was focussed on creativity in choice of ingredients and the dish as a whole, while the rest was based on taste, acceptability, texture, cost, appearance, and nutritive value.

While in some cases, the excess use of oil was not accepted, in some others it was justified for the sake of necessity.

The same went with the choice of other ingredients too.

Without oil

Urmila Surana’s multi-grain chatpati chat was much appreciated for the generous use of millets, use of nil oil and the steamed preparation that much resembled the traditional ‘dhokla’ in appearance.

Though a fried delicacy, S. Bhuvaneswari’s ‘Rava Cheese Fingers’ was a hit for the innovative use of ‘rava’ instead of the usual corn flour or ‘besan.’ The crispiness was still there when the judges tasted them after an hour.

Another dish that interested the judges was J. Sathyakala’s ‘Makizhampoo Puttu’, otherwise known as ‘moong dal puttu’. She had used moong dal instead of the usual rice powder. And, she had made the spicy and sweet versions of the puttu.

Another 83-year-old V. Mangalam’s jack fruit seed gravy was a great hit as she served it with ‘ilan dosai’

Spinach pizza, ‘methi’-millet-tofu biriyani, radish dumplings, ‘lauki’ halwa, veggie baked delight, eggless egg curry, memory booster ‘vallarai keerai’ soup, and variety millet pongal, also deserved special mention by the judges.

The Hindu had partnered with Ultra from Elgi Group, Arokya Milk and Gold Winner to organise the contest. Sree Annapoorna Sree Gowrishankar Hotels Private Limited is the hospitality partner, and Nutsbay is the gift sponsor.


Prize winners and those winning prizes under ‘special mention’ categories, can collect the same at a function to be held at Fun Republic Mall on Sunday at 4 p.m.

All participants will receive certificates of appreciation from The Hindu and goodies from Nutsbay.

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