I had the opportunity to participate in a 48 hour cookathon, organized for the first time in India, by Ashoka India to develop healthy and nutritious meals using local ingredients for mid-day meals. The selected recipes will be used in Akshayapatra’s kitchens for providing mid-day meals to over 1.4 million children everyday. Something’s Cooking provided the perfect master chef setting for over 36 participants to dish out recipes and the in-house chefs guiding us with their expertise.
I would like to share the experience of the visit to the flawless operation of Akshayapatra kitchen. We visited one of their kitchens in Bangalore, located on Kanakapura road, 5:30 am to witness the real action! Each process or step is broken down into different sections or floors.
Akshayapatra has 24 kitchens out of which 14 are centralized kitchens. They currently serve 14 lac children and aim at feeding 5 million or 50 lac children by 2020. A typical Akshayapatra kitchen is divided into 4 sections – top most floor will contain the cleaned grains like rice and dals/ lentils stocked in a huge capacity drum where the grains are brought up through a motor. The immediate level down will have the cleaning section where the washed grains and vegetables (cut) are sent through the openings (pipes) for the ingredients to be cooked at the next floor. The cooking floor is divided into two sections – one for rice and the other for sambhar. The cooked meal is further sent to the bottom most floor for filling in individual steel containers and then forwarded to distribution trucks. The Akshaypatra kitchen produces 21 tons of rice and 16 tons of sambhar which is freshly prepared everyday without compromising on the hygiene. Food cooked is Sattvic, which means no onion or garlic used in cooking.
The 48 hours cookathon was divided into 8 teams to solve one problem – healthy and nutritious meals for Rs 5/- To know more about the event please go through the Ashoka India blog. This experience got me exposed to some new local ingredients and I also learnt from my fellow participants some new and old forgotten cooking techniques. I’m thrilled to have participated and also to have got one of my recipe selected to feed millions of children! Yay! Our team made kichidi, which was made using Government rice, split green gram, sweet potato and mixed greens served with amla or gooseberry raitha.