CHENNAI: If you knew that Panankarkandu, thaen mittai and Tirunelveli halwa from the original places themselves would be available for only three hours, you would make a beeline for those dishes, in order to catch their original flavour. This is what happened at the Farmer’s Market at Velachery on Sunday.
“Although we had scheduled it for three hours between 8 am and 11 am, the 550 to 560 people who flocked the market bought so much that we were sold out by 10.15 am itself,” said Mohammed Ali, founder of Chennai Food Guide, who had organised the farmer’s market.
There were nine stalls set up by farmers hailing from districts and villages across the State including Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli, which sold a whole range of products from Tamil Nadu, as well as exotic varieties of vegetables that were imported. Thai vegetables such as Bird’s Eye chillies were flown over and the customers were spoilt for choice with 35 to 40 varieties of cheese available. In another corner, special counters were open with chefs making dishes such as Kuttanaloor Parotta, Maasi Sodhiaanam (a gravy made with fish and coconut milk) which the local buyers loved. “There were also a few expats who loved the mildly-spiced sodhiaanam so much that they were seen drinking it out of a cup, rather than eating it as a side dish for idiyappam. That’s how it is normally devoured,” explained Ali for anyone who hasn’t tried it before. There were also cupcake-shaped dum adais made of rava and coconut which were among the unique products sold at the market.
Women from the city itself had come up with their own recipes of home-made ice cream and other delicacies and alongside their stalls were counters selling Goli soda, paneer soda and elaneer, which attracted a huge footfall.
While the foodies and buyers were flocking the stalls, one could hear the cry of the turkey from the pet zoo that got the attention of all children who had come along with their parents. There were also ducks, hens and other fowl from the districts. “It was all nice and the children were feeding them, one turkey’s cry scared a few of them. Some of them, however, were amused,” said Ali with a smile.