Amma Canteen warms cold Delhi’s Pongal

Delicacies sold like hot cakes with stalls running out of food before 8 p.m.

January 13, 2014 08:39 am | Updated May 26, 2016 07:58 am IST - NEW DELHI:

ON A PLATTER: People at the ‘Amma Unavagam’ Pongal celebration 2014 at Tamil Nadu Bhawan, in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

ON A PLATTER: People at the ‘Amma Unavagam’ Pongal celebration 2014 at Tamil Nadu Bhawan, in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Now, savour an idli for Re.1 and other South Indian delicacies at equally attractive prices in Delhi. Chennai’s popular ‘Amma Canteen’ has become an instant hit with Delhiites on the first day of its three-day sojourn at the Tamil Nadu Bhawan here.

Visitors who came to attend Pongal celebrations thronged the ‘Amma Canteen’ stall and jostled for their serving of hot, lip-smacking idlis along with usual accompaniments sambar and coconut chutney.

While idli was the most sought-after dish on the menu, there was also good demand for other items such as curd-rice (priced at Rs.3 per plate), lemon-rice, curry leaves-rice and pongal — a dish similar to the north Indian khichdi (for Rs.5 each).

The low-cost delicacies sold like hot cakes with the stalls running out of food before 8 p.m., nearly an hour before the scheduled closing time.

Till 7.30 p.m., nearly 2,200 servings of all items were dished out and the organisers raised a sum of Rs.7,200.

In Tamil Nadu, these canteens are run by the Chennai Corporation and are open for most part of the day.

An initiative of the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, the canteens aim at providing hygienic food to low-income groups at affordable prices so that their nutritional requirements are met. The day-to-day activities at the canteen are managed entirely by women’s self-help groups.

On bringing the canteen to the Capital temporarily, Principal Resident Commissioner at Tamil Nadu House said: “Pongal is one of the main festivals in Tamil Nadu and we celebrate it here as well. Each year, it is our endeavour to showcase what is popular in Tamil Nadu. The canteens also offer those living here a taste of some of the most popular food items back home at cheap prices, we thought of setting up a stall here as well.”

Besides the canteen, replicas of Solar powered Green House Scheme, a scheme of the Tamil Nadu government aimed at constructing houses with solar-powered lighting systems over a period of five years, and artworks from the State are on display.

The three-day festival concludes on Tuesday — the day Pongal will be celebrated.

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