Cookathon For Karnataka – Improving Nutrition in Mid Day Meals

26 February 2016

On 12th April, in the evening at around 4 pm, Something’s Cooking studio was buzzing with enthusiasm. Organic farmers K Kallappa and his wife, Sumangala, had come all the way from Bellary and applied their local knowledge of 1,136 years to create a recipe that is highly nutritious. At 5 pm, they were the most happiest as their recipe was loved by Eaus_„,_ every one. Speaking about their ragi ladoo (made out of sprouted ragi, moong, wheat and jaggery), a proud Kallappa said, “The idea was to make something nutritious as well as ensure that it takes longer to digest so that children don’t feel hungry. Ragi is rich in calcium, battles anemia and has high fiber content whereas jaggery is rich in minerals such as iron. It’s disheartening to see rice and sugar taking over millets and jaggery which are actually ten times more nutritious. And that’s why we decided to show their benefits through our recipe:’ The Akshaya Patra Foundation has expressed an interest in adopting this recipe and other recipes from the event for their mid-day meal menu which reaches to over 1.4 million children every day.

Ashoka India’s ‘Nourishing Schools’ in partnership with The Akshaya Patra Foundation and Something’s Cooking hosted “Cookathon’ from 10th- 12th April. With an aim of using local ingredients creatively to help improve the nutritional status of children availing the mid-day meals, the event witnessed a vibrant participation of 36 cooking enthusiasts and community experts who spent 48 hours together, developing nutritious recipes. The participants were divided in to 8 regions — Hubli, Bellary, Dakshin Kannada, Shimoga, Bangalore Urban, Bidar, Chamrajnagar and Coorg and used commonly-available yet often overlooked local ingredients from these very regions such as jackfruit, banana stem, pumpkin flower, elephant yam, cow peas, drumstick leaves, brahmi leaves, a range of millets, gooseberry (amla) and jaggery to make all the meals.

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On 12th April, in the evening at around 4 pm, Something’s Cooking studio was buzzing with enthusiasm. Organic farmers K Kallappa and his wife, Sumangala, had come all the way from Bellary and applied their local knowledge of years to create a recipe that is highly nutritious. At 5 pm, they were the most happiest as their recipe was loved by every one. Speaking about their ragi ladoo (made out of sprouted ragi, moong, wheat and jaggery), a proud Kallappa said, “The idea was to make something nutritious as well as ensure that it takes longer to digest so that children don’t feel hungry. Ragi is rich in calcium, battles anemia and has high fiber content whereas jaggery is rich in minerals such as iron. It’s disheartening to see rice and sugar taking over millets and jaggery which are actually ten times more nutritious. And that’s why we decided to show their benefits through our recipe The Akshaya Patra Foundation has expressed an interest in adopting this recipe and other recipes from the event for their mid-day meal menu which reaches to over 1.4 million children every day.

All the participants were guided by Ms. Sunetra Roday, well-known Nutritionist and retired Principal of the Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering, Chef Lars Charas, Programme Manager, Feed the Planet from The Netherlands, Chef Manisha Bhasin from ITC Maurya in New Delhi and three professors — Chef Ranajoy Chowdhury, Chef Samuel and Chef Senthil from Institute of Hotel Management Bangalore. They conducted workshops for all the participants on measuring calorific values, various food groups, how to make a complete and nutritious meal, costing, recipe writing, etc.
Panel of Judges (L-R) – Chef Rajesh, MTR Foods, Mr. Madan – COO of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mrs. Sunetra Roday – Nutritionist and Mrs. Vijayalakshmi – Assistant Director of Mid-Day Meal Scheme Karnataka

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All the participants were guided by Ms. Sunetra Roday, well-known Nutritionist and retired Principal of the Maharashtra State Institute of Hotel Management & Catering, Chef Lars Charas, Programme Manager, Feed the Planet from The Netherlands, Chef Manisha Bhasin from ITC Maurya in New Delhi and three professors — Chef Ranajoy Chowdhury, Chef Samuel and Chef Senthil from Institute of Hotel Management Bangalore. They conducted workshops for all the participants on measuring calorific values, various food groups, how to make a complete and nutritious meal, costing, recipe writing, etc.

Panel of Judges (L-R) – Chef Rajesh, MTR Foods, Mr. Madan – COO of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mrs. Sunetra Roday – Nutritionist and Mrs. Vijayalakshmi – Assistant Director of Mid-Day Meal Scheme Karnataka

While almost all recipes can be replicated in schools’ decentralized kitchens, some had the potential to be mass-produced for the children of the entire country. Mr. Madan, COO, The Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “It’s a unique initiative which has helped us see the power of locally-available ingredients and we are excited to see how we can use some of them for our 1.4 million children we feed every day’.’ The Akshaya Patra Foundation along with the judges selected the best recipes such as ragi ladoo, pumpkin chutney, jackfruit-millet pulao, soyabean dal, tomato rice which will be modified for mass production.

Ms. Vijayalakshmi, Assistant Director, Mid-Day Meal Scheme Karnataka said, “In over 32 years of service, I have never witnessed such an event. We now know of a large variety of things we can locally procure that schools to incorporate in their menus. We could also replicate this idea at the district level wherein women cooks can come and exchange recipes. This would highly benefit our children:.

Vishnu Swaminathan, Country Director, Ashoka India says, “Through Nourishing Schools, Ashoka will partner with schools to develop children as young changemakers who can take charge of their own nutrition and that of their communities. We will include many of these recipes in our toolkit for schools, to help midday meal cooks enhance the nutritional content of the meals:’

More pictures on our Ashoko India’s Facebook page – httplgoo.g1/3b1QF4
This post has been written by Shweta Vitto, Communications Consultant for Ashoka India.

 

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