How a small South Indian community with a rich history is on a mission to revive Sankethi cuisine
What started off as a family-run business in 2009, is now a chain of retail stores across Bengaluru and has loyal customers across Japan, USA and UK. This niche South Indian community-driven concept is headed by trio - Mrs Nagaratna Ravindra, her husband Mr Ravindra and her sister-in-law Malathi Sharma, and Adukale is on a mission to bring back authentic Sankethi food. From Tamil Nadu, Karnataka to Kerala, Sankethi cuisine is a blend of all three states. We talk to Mrs Nagaratna about the cuisine and how they're at the forefront of redefining sankethi cuisine.
Tell us about Adukale. How did it start?
Adukale means ‘kitchen’ in Sankethi, a niche South Indian community, that we belong to. This community has its roots and influence from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Similar to our community’s origin our food is a delicious culinary blend of cuisines from these states, ranging from Pohas to Upmas to Kodubale and much more.
For us, food has always been an integral part of our lives. The founding team which comprises of my sister-in-law (Malathi Sharma), husband (Ravindra) and I believe ‘food is central to building relationships’. If we aren’t eating, we are talking about it or planning what to cook. That is how ‘Adukale’ was born, with a mission to spread the joy of Sankethi food and to keep the rich culinary tradition alive.
We started off as a one room set-up at home in Bangalore making Rasam powder back in 2009. Today, we offer 50+ varieties of ready-to-cook/eat and snacks available on various online platforms and in more than 100 retail stores across Bangalore. We have also built a loyal customers base from across the globe – Japan, USA, UK and Europe.
Why this specific kind of cuisine?
Growing up when our grandmothers or mothers used to cook and later when I started cooking, we never really followed a set recipe. The knowledge of our cuisine has always been passed down generations and often each one added their own personal twist a recipe. During our initial stages of setting up our brand, we realized there were either few or almost no documented recipes or cooking techniques as such. We, therefore, felt a strong need to capture our community’s differentiated cuisine in a form that everyone can enjoy. All our products are carefully crafted and tested based on the knowledge we curated from speaking to people from our community.
What are some of the features of this cuisine. That one cannot find anywhere else.
Our products stay true to the Sankethi cuisine and being a blend of Tamil, Karnataka and Kerala food, we offer the best of all three. If you try any of our products, you get a strong sense of familiarity and at the same time a dash of something new. Our Poha range, for example, there is a touch of all three states ranging from Gojjavalakki to Avalakki Bisi Bele Bath, Akki Tari Uppittu (Rice Grits Upma) and Avalakki Uppit. Similarly, our snack range has everything from Aralu Sandige (puffed paddy fryums) to Om Pudi and Kodubales, irresistible delights that most of us would have had growing up in south India.
What are some of the highlights of this cuisine?
Besides the obvious objective of introducing a new cuisine to a larger audience, our customers get to experience the culinary magic from three south Indian cultures. We also wanted to bust the myth about ready-to-eat or cook food being unhealthy. We, therefore, have gone to great lengths to ensure that all Adukale’s products are 100% preservative free. Tapping into the pool of our ancestral knowledge about ingredients and how to balance them, every single ingredient in our product is handpicked for its flavour and nutritional value.
For us, the biggest highlight would be being able to create a strong and loyal customer base for this otherwise unknown cuisine. Today, we can proudly say that we are playing a crucial part in keeping our community and cuisine alive through ‘Adukale’.
What kind of basic spices or techniques does this cooking use?
At Adukale, we have taken age-old recipes and introduced progressive cooking techniques to ensure hygiene and nutrition without compromising on the taste. We use the best of the ingredients, each of which has been tested multiple times for quality. A lot of focus is laid on the quality of not just the final product but every ingredient to ensure consistency in taste and nutrition. We are also in the process of introducing products which are vacuum dried instead of fried. At Adukale, our focus is constant innovation to ensure that our products are tasty, nutritious, healthy and true to Sankethi tradition.
What is the objective behind Adukale.
Our objectives are clear, the revival of the Sankethi cuisine and to bring back the love for traditional healthy food. In today’s fast-paced world, we are able to offer customers an affordable, quick, tasty and healthy food options.
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