Millets turn engineers into entrepreneurs


Times have changed. The young, educated and spoilt brats feel hungry when they see McDonalds, the Subway, the KFC... They go to the counter and order...

Aahar Kuteer, a millet-specialty restaurant in Hyderabad, is not only serving ethnic delicacies on a platter, but is also attracting Gen X towards ethnic food and flavours

Purnima Sriram

Times have changed. The young, educated and spoilt brats feel hungry when they see McDonalds, the Subway, the KFC... They go to the counter and order hot dogs, hamburger, McRice, Burger, McLobster, McLaks or Gallo Pinto… What a pity, they don’t even know the traditional food items that kept many generations healthy enough to create this funky new age humanoids! Ask them if they ever heard of millets? Err… red-faced! Thankfully, there are at least some young enthusiasts who believe in, advocate, and practice tradition when it comes to food at least.

Not pizza or burger made of refined flour, but it’s food made of millets! For all those, who want to choose healthy and ethnic food, Aahar Kuteer at Begumpet has tasty millet-based food with a rural ambience at an affordable price. The ethnic restaurant is part of ‘Urban Trust’ which works for the welfare of the unemployed, visually impaired and orphans.

It is the brainchild of two engineers - Ram and Sridhar - who came up with this innovative concept of offering millet food with high nutritional value. To their surprise, their customers are mostly youngsters who are tired of eating pizzas and struggling to burn the calories gained by it.

Archana, another co-founder, says that they were initially sceptical about the millet-based food as not many were aware of it. “Earlier, both Ram and Sridhar were fulfilling dual responsibilities of being engineers and entrepreneurs, but with good response from people, they have completely switched over to become fulltime entrepreneurs. We started with the funds we had. The millets are from natural farming where no pesticides are used. We use mineral sugar, natural ghee to make millet laddus and murukus which is our specialty and the most popular product. Recently Dinesh, a young graduate from the US has joined as our new partner. Many youngsters have approached us to be part of this programme,” she shares. “I am planning to start another branch,” says Dinesh. Co-founder Ram says: “Many German students, who have come here for research on organic food, come here to eat and bring along their friends and family as well. We have also catered for major events in the city,” he informs.

Archana, a commerce graduate and a housewife involved with the project, says that they started the kuteer to help both the millet farmers and people who are looking for healthy and low-cal food. “We source millets from the interiors of the State, especially the tribal areas. We want to help the backward classes with this programme,” she adds.

“Our other activities include inculcating living values and skills among the kids and parents besides a one-hour educative interaction with both parents and children on how important family is and how important it is to think about ourselves and our health too. Every fortnight, we visit schools to talk to students on life skills. We collect old clothes and distribute them in slums. For thalassemia patients, we conduct blood camps. We have many more plans and in the process of implementation,” she shares.

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