Read full article by Nivedita Ganguly@ The Hindu Photo Credit: KR Deepak, The Hindu
On a recent visit to Visakhapatnam, M Venkaiah Naidu enjoyed a breakfast of innovative conical idlis, wrapped in vistharaku leaves, and made by Chittem Sudheer from nine varieties of organic millets grown in the tribal belt of Paderu
Chittem Sudheer was in for a surprise on Wednesday morning. Busy serving millet idlis to a long queue of customers at Vasena Poli stall at Waltair Uplands, Visakhapatnam, Sudheer was taken aback when a special breakfast order came from the Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu.
The Vice President, who was on a visit to Visakhapatnam this week, took to Twitter after his meal. He tweeted: ‘Had a sumptuous breakfast of millet idlis today made by ‘Vasena Poli’ stall run by a young agri-entrepreneur Chittem Sudheer in Visakhapatnam. With a rich flavour and taste, such millet based food offer a healthy and organic alternative to our diet… Such innovative efforts by our youth to go back to our traditional diet & lifestyle are commendable.’ The tweet quickly went viral.
Wrapped in the vistharaku — which are dried leaves stitched together to make plates — Sudheer’s millet idlis are made with ragi (finger millet), jowar (sorghum millet), bajra (pearl millet), korra (foxtail millet), ooda (barnyard millet), aarika (kodo millet), saama (little millet) and variga (proso millet). The batter is poured into small vistharaku leaf containers and steamed over fire. These conical idlies are served with three types of chutneys: groundnut, ginger and a mix of vegetables.
What started off as a small home-based enterprise in 2018 has today turned into a well-loved city landmark. A post graduate in agriculture economics, 28-year-old Sudheer launched his first food stall of Vasena Poli last year and has been on his toes ever since, catering to a rising demand for his millet idlis. “There is a greater awareness for shifting to millet-based food, especially after the pandemic,” he says. Every day, he gets more than 200 orders from his millet idlis and dosas. Now, his daily sales total about Rs 15,000.