In a move to make sabha canteens more health-conscious this Margazhi season, a few have started using what they call ‘diabetic rice’ on their menus. For the uninitiated, these are simply unrefined varieties of rice that are higher in nutritional value. How does it help a diabetic patient? Nutritionist Muthulakshmi S explains, “Because the rice is not polished, digestion takes longer, absorption is slower and hence there is better control over sugar levels.”
Used in everything from pongal to upma and dosai, the new trend this year seems to be getting a good response, especially from senior citizens.
Sixty-three-year-old Lalita Krishnamurthy says, “My husband and I never miss a concert, but at our age, we are particular about organic and hygienic food, so much so that we seldom eat out.” And her husband Krishnamurthy, who is a diabetic patient, is happy that he has the option as well — now they won’t have to plan all their meals at home before a show.
The varieties of unrefined rice used include thinai, saamai and varagu. A server behind the counter at the Mint Padmanabhan Canteen at The Music Academy points to the Thinai dosai on their menu. “We make it a point to have at least one item using unrefined rice every day,” he says. There are also healthier alternatives to make desserts like laddu and payasam.
Other catering services like Gnanambika Caterers that is handling service at Narada Gana Sabha this year, have one standard item that uses brown rice, that is available through the music season. “It’s our idiyappam on the menu that is a hotseller,” says Revathi, one of the cooks and she is quick to assure us a moment later, “Don’t worry, it tastes just as good!”