Making 1000 litres of Dalma and 10,000 laddus

Bhagirath Sarangi has seen Akshaya Patra in Puri from its beginning, when we started by feeding just a few hundred children in a handful of schools. Now he is the Operations Supervisor of the kitchen, in charge of the actual cooking process that takes place early each morning. Bhagirath explains what goes into making one of the staple diets of children in Odisha: dalma (a dish rich in nutrients, made from pulses and vegetables and seasoned with spices).

“For every 1,100 liter cauldron of dalma, we need to add around 280 kilograms of vegetables and a 180 kgs of dal. For the spices, we add around 1.5 kgs of turmeric, 8 kgs of cumen seeds, 2 kgs of chilly powder, 12 kgs of salt and 6 kgs of freshly grated ginger” 
Dalma is a special dish of Odisha containing dal (pulses) as well as vegetables. It not only contains the necessary proteins found in dal, but also the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables. Being an authentic traditional dish of Odisha, it is perfectly suited to the local palates of the children. To enhance taste, he says “We grate fresh ginger whenever we make the dalma.” For every 1,100 liters of dalma which serves around 6,500 children, Bhagirath and his colleagues must grate 6kgs of ginger.

Recently, says Bhagirath, the Puri kitchen has introduced laddus in its menu.

“We have two trial periods for the laddu. It’s just a pilot now, but we received a good response from the children,” he says. “Right now, we can make around 10,000 laddus a day,” he adds.

Why make 10,000 laddus everyday? At Akshaya Patra, we have to find different ways to increase the food intake of children. And laddus make for a healthy, tasty side dish!

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