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Millets, the mantra at restaurants


In a bid to please the palates of customers looking for no/low-carb, low-fat and high-protein diets, more and more mid-range restaurants have begun including millets in their menus. Though a majority of customers are yet unfamiliar with the resurgence of millets, restaurateurs say they don’t mind waiting for the change.

“People are slowly getting conscious about these foods. Many in the younger generation have never tasted such foods, which is why it is taking time. But some have caught on to diets for slimming down or for health reasons,” says K.T. Srinivasa Raja, president, Chennai Hotels Association and proprietor of Adyar Ananda Bhavan, which has millet meals, snacks and tiffin items as part of its menu at its Anna Nagar, Velachery and Porur branches.

Hotel Saravana Bhavan recently dedicated an entire restaurant to health foods. At their outlet called ‘What’s Next’ at Ashok Nagar, they have both south Indian and north Indian foods. “We have tried a different menu here… everything from the starters to the main course and deserts have been created keeping in mind the health conscious. Even our gravies are made using melon seeds,” explained K. Rajasekar of Saravana Bhavan.

The restaurant on the first floor has steamers on the tables, copper tumblers and water jugs to make the feel more traditional. The items on their menu include kambu idli, Kanjeevaram idli, sweet idli made from Kudiravali, Varagu pongal, vaazhai poo fingers, raw jack fruit sticks, cabbage momos, drum stick tofu, crispy broccoli and bitter gourd.

Prem’s Grama Bhojanam in Adyar, which serves ethnic food, is a popular place among health food addicts. Inspired by organic farming scientist G. Nammalvar and a popular columnist in a Tamil magazine, Prem’s owner N. S. Krishnamoorthi chose to serve the right kind of food. “We don’t use white rice, maida, vanaspati, refined sugar, food colours, flavours, chemicals or baking soda. I have converted an old house into a restaurant and I keep what I serve healthy, tasty and simple,” he said.

The fan following for millets and health foods is growing. Home maker Seethalakshmi Suresh, who is currently on a weight loss programme, said she lost quite a bit of weight just by consuming millets, fruits and vegetables in a planned manner. “I love millets now. And if they are available in restaurants it is more fun,” she said.

Source: The Hindu

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