Mumbai Food: Puducherry served on a plate at hospitality school
Students of a hospitality school are hosting a Franco-Tamil inspired lunch featuring unique fusion fare from the Union Territory
A street in Puducherry with a name plate that depicts both, French and Tamil influences
Extremely few, if any, of the new city restaurant menus or pop-up kitchens we get wind of feature cuisine from Puducherry. It's as if the food from this laid-back Union Territory is like an exotic ingredient lying neglected in our cupboard, being of little or no use in our daily cooking. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find information about an upcoming lunch consisting of a three-course meal of dishes from the region, organised by the second-year students of Don Bosco College of Hospitality Studies.
It will take place later this week and we ask Annabelle Rodrigues, who heads the institution, the reason behind choosing such an unlikely type of cuisine. She says, "The fact that it's unlikely is exactly the reason why we chose it. This lunch is part of our outcome learning programme and we always opt for difficult cuisines so that the students don't have access to easy research. The idea is to push the envelope and ensure that the kids really have to put in work since they have no point of reference."
A student in the school's kitchen
She adds that what sets Puducherry cuisine apart from that of other regions is that it marries various influences. The food in Goa, for instance, is either indigenous in nature or consists of straight-up Portuguese recipes like rechiado, Rodrigues says. "But in Puducherry, they have a version of the regular rasam, but with prawns. See, because its associated with Tamil Nadu, you obviously have those ethnic roots. But the area was also taken over by the French for a long time. So, you have a lot of that influence as well. Ultimately, however, you will find neither authentic French food nor traditional Tamil dishes. You will find a mixture of both," she adds.
A kokum-based welcome drink on the menu
Now, this fusion-food theme will also feature on the menu for the lunch being organised. For instance, the tartine is a sliced masala baguette topped with salsa, while the desserts include a payasam with peanut praline topped with coffee sorbet.
Some of the dishes on offer
But the question is, will the students ultimately pass the taste test for these dishes, which you'd be hard-pressed to find on restaurant menus in the city? Well, the only answer we can offer so far is that the proof of the pudding lies in the eating.
On: Thursday, 11 am to 2 pm
At: Don Bosco College of Hospitality Studies, Kurla
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