MANGALURU: Gourmets had always dreamed of the perfectly round halasina happala (jackfruit papad), but it had remained elusive. Till now.
Gajanana Hegde of Tumbemane, near Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district, has developed a fibreboard stencil to speed up jackfruit papad-making, and cottage industries just love it.
The crispy jackfruit wafer is a monsoon delight, and is eaten with almost every meal. It goes well with rice and sambar.
“There was no finesse in the home products now in great demand at local markets. I was wondering why it was not possible to make perfectly round papads. The jackfruit papads were not just uneven in size but also in shape and thickness,” he told Express.
Hegde got thinking, and used geometry instruments and acrylic to cut out a perfect stencil. He pressed the raw mix using it, and the results were encouraging.
“I later improvised and identified a fibreboard that lasts longer and gives uniform thickness,” he said. “It worked splendidly.”
Hegde has now set up a factory in Bengaluru and markets his stencils to cottage industries.
“The papads look better, and home products look more professional now. In fact, the Kadamba Home Products Co-operative Society in Sirsi is one of the top users of this mould,” he told Express.
Earlier, women made papads using rolling pins. The process was labour-intensive. But with the new mould, they just smear the batter with a spatula and put out the papads to dry.
About 300-400 papads can be made in an hour manually. But with the fibreboard stencil, women are making four times as many.
Jackfruit specialist Sree Padre hails the innovation and believes it could put the papad on the export shelf. Hegde has sold 4,500 moulds so far, 500 of them this year. The price of a ‘two-eyed’ stencil is `140.