CHENNAI: From ‘kezhvaragu vada’ to ‘karpuravalli dosai’, the 100-plus stalls set up at Island Grounds as part of Madrasapattinam food festival were decorated with organic food recipes and traditional viands.
The festival, organised by the State government, also threw the floor open for small-scale women entrepreneurs to showcase their culinary skills.
Speaking to Express, J Rubitha, an SHG member from Thiruvottriyur, said that it only took upto Rs 10,000 to set up a small stall. ‘Kollu (horsegram) dosai’, ‘mudakathan dosai, and ‘karpuravalli dosai’ are some food items that she had learnt to cook.
While dosas are normally stuffed with oil, butter or ghee, Rubitha, in a bid to spread healthy food, decided to experiment on organic ways of making dosas. ‘’While the ‘mudakadhan dosai’ is good for limbs, ‘karpuravalli dosai’ is good for cold,’’ she says.
At another stall, S Rani of Puthumai Pengal, a Navalur-based SHG, had made ‘raagi puttu,’ ‘kambu puttu’ and ‘sigappu arisi puttu.’ ‘’This can be easily made by everyone at home. Ragi is good for skin and in red rice, iron content is good for women,’’ says Rani.
She started a shop at a cost of Rs 50,000 with six other people. ‘’ We took a loan of Rs 50,000 and started this one year ago. It has been an empowering journey since then,’’ she adds.
Women of Mathinalam SHG came up with ‘kezhvaragu vadai’. Explaining the process, K Sudha, an SHG member, said this could be an ideal replacement for other vadais. ‘’Kezhvaragu does not take much oil and it helps cure irregular periods for women,’’ said Sudha. More than showcasing their culinary skills, the women felt empowered exploring organic products. ‘’ It has given us (SHG members) self-confidence so we do not depend on our husbands and do something for ourselves,’’ says SHG member Sudha.
‘’Women naturally cook well but they have to know they can be entrepreneurs with their culinary skills and the government is helping them with loans for SHG,’’ she adds.