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One kg. idli, two litres sambar

Assembly-line preparation and weighing of the dishes make for a unique takeaway.

Nammura Hotel: a winner all the way.

LOVE to eat out, but the after-effects have always made you vow not to try it again? So you take all the trouble to pick the right vegetables and provisions, measured to the last gramme and litre, and go about making your favourite dishes.

Wait! You can now buy the food you want without worrying about the kind of vegetables that have gone into it and about the kind of cooking they have been subjected to. And what's more, you can buy the food in kilogrammes and litres.

Nammura Hotel in J.P. Nagar dishes out food off the assembly line. The fully mechanised process ensures there is no human handling of the ingredients, making food totally hygienic, while the mass production ensures that you get a great price advantage. What's more, you are spared of all the time and effort you have to put in to come out with a culinary masterpiece.

The idea conceived by Prabhakar Rao, who has already made a name for himself in Bangalore's eatery business having started the first ever Darshini, and who uses methods and appliances that have never been tested before.

This concept has proved to be a great boon to small restaurants, caterers, and corporate houses, and for those organising family parties and wedding ceremonies. With a range of over 100 dishes to choose from, spanning cuisines Gujarat, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka, one can buy the quantity needed without having to invest on space and spend on labour, water, electricity, and rent.

Support from the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, ensures that the outlet not only has access to modern food technology but also traditional recipe archives.

Idli, vada, dosa (except masala dosa, which must always be had fresh off the tava), chutney, sambar, rasam, sagu, and rice preparations such as bisi bele bath, and kesari bath are all placed on electronic weighing scales like vegetables and picked up by the 2,000 people who come there everyday. On Sundays, the number goes up to about 4,000. Liquids like rasam and sambar are sold by the litre and solid and semi-solids like sagu chutney, kootu, and rice by the kilo. About 50 kg. of rice is ready in seven minutes 48 seconds, and 400 idlis in six minutes.

Automatic pounding machines, potato peeling machines, and coconut scrapers all work with precision. About 50 litres of dosa batter is churned out in half an hour. Another machine mixes the dough for rumali and other rotis.

Krishna Hegde, who heads the food and beverage business development at the hotel, says the project took off after a month-long successful trial run which began on February 17. The food is marketed in five ways: counter sales, home delivery, retailer sales like Darshinis and fast food joints, banquet orders, and corporate orders.

A kg. of lemon, methi or coriander rice costs Rs. 19, Iyengar puliyogare Rs. 22, pulaos and ghee rice Rs. 24. A kg. of rice idli, containing 18 to 20 pieces, costs Rs. 22. Coconut chutney is priced at Rs. 32 a kg. and sambar Rs. 14 a litre. All items are sold in a minimum quantity of a quarter kg. each.

The outlet sells about 5,000 kg. of bisi bele bath on some days. Customers have to bring their own containers. South Indian food is dispensed between 6.30 a.m. and 10 p.m. while North Indian preparations can be bought between 5.30 p.m. and 10 p.m. The menu changes everyday.

Some of the North Indian delicacies include cream of palak soup, rajma masala, kaju rice, palak rice, and raitha. Jeera pulao and ghee rice priced at Rs. 46 are tempting. Lentil soup at Rs. 30 and dal tadka at Rs. 45 are worth a try.

Food-grade, rust-proof Salem Stainless Steel cooking equipment and acid-proof steam cooking systems, housed in a well-lit, well-ventilated kitchen, spread across an area of 9,000 sq. ft. with a sparkling clean floor, set new standards in kitchen automation and hygiene. Organic cleansers remove any possibility of contamination on the surface of the vegetables and fruits. Even the ice used is made from water that has gone through an ultraviolet treatment and a carbon filter. There is no place for monosodium glutamate in the dishes and only natural colouring agents such as ratanjot, kokum, chilli, spinach, turmeric and beetroot are used. Provisions are sourced from ISI-certified suppliers.

The grinder used is an advanced one. Soft stone ones contaminate food due to erosion, and high speed grinding also affects overall quality of food.

The hotel has customised machines with specially selected Bangalore granite with least erosion. There are instruction boards in place for cooks and operators on how to use the equipment. Food is stored in narrow-necked utensils from France to keep the aroma fresh and help retain the taste in the sambar and rasam.

Mr. Hegde also provides advice on ordering the quantity, taking into account the number of diners and their age. For instance, one kg. of rice is adequate for five children or four adults.

People organising wedding lunches have been finding Nammura Hotel convenient. They book food in advance and buy up to 75 kg. of the fare. Others decide on the menu the previous day and drive down the following day and take away their lunches. One can also customise orders like eliminating onion and garlic from the menu. Sweets like holige and obbatu are made, if required, at Rs. 5 a piece.

The hotel's location has helped the pricing, says Mr. Hegde. In the City, high property rates would have made items expensive.

Part of Mr. Prabhakar Rao's plans is to invite about 15 women periodically to show them how to cook the natural way, without chemicals, for the family.

The hotel is located on 65, 21st A Main Road, J. P. Nagar II Phase. For more information, call 649 0077 and 649 1188.


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