FROM MALNAD TO THE COAST
When the world says “give up”, Hope whispers “try it one more time”. Shilpa, a homemaker turned entrepreneur, successfully running one of the renowned mobile eateries in mangaluru – ‘Halli Mane Rotties’ along with her brother Chiranjeevi, is an inspiration not only to women but every single person. Located near Gandhi park at Urwa, they prepare dishes which you ,would find in the malenadu region of Karnataka, which is highly unlikely to be found in the coastal parts of karnataka, especially in Mangalore. In this small food truck they bring reminiscent joy to customers who crave for Malenadu cuisine in Mangalore.
Their rotties here are to die for, along with the idlis, the aromatic spice of the chicken, which a Mangalorian is unfamiliar about. The halli style donne biryani, ragi mudde, Bisi belle bath are some of the items that aren’t your everyday classy, well presented or styled to look modern kind of dishes, that we get in fast moving cities, they made me appreciate food for its simplicity and the modest taste of Kannadigas. Which is definitely the proudest thing to say.
About the owner:
The journey of ‘Halli Mane Rotties’ from what it was to what it is today was not at all easy. Shilpa had to learn success the hard way than one would ever imagine. Hailing from Hassan from a well-established agriculturist family, Shilpa had moved to Mangaluru along with her 3-year-old son in 2005 to live with her husband and subsequently got her parents and brother Chiranjeevi too. In 2008, her husband Rajshekar, a city-based businessman and the breadwinner of the household had left to Bengaluru for some work and never returned. Attempts were made to find him, all of which went in vain leaving Shilpa and her family depressed and heart broke.
“The young boy has lost his father, let him not lose his mother too,” said the visitors looking at the distressed state of Shilpa. Hence, she started working as a housemaid for some time to meet the family expenditure and also to get over the fatal tragedy. She even worked for a beauty parlor as a saleswoman and other petty occupations earning salaries that were not at all sufficient to take care of her family. Shilpa lost all hopes of giving her family an ideal life but fate had some other plans.
Right from her childhood, Shilpa was very much interested in cooking malnad cuisine which she inherited from her mother. Having kept this in mind, Shilpa thought why not turn her passion into a venture, and this led to the birth of a new chapter – “Halli Mane Rotties” in Shilpa’s life. Troubles did not end right here. With a very good idea in hand, financing the food joint was a problem and therefore with no other way, she reluctantly withdrew the fixed deposit of Rs.100000 that she had set aside for her son’s education and bought a brand new Mahindra Bolero pick-up truck for the mobile eatery. In the initial stage, Criticisms hovered over Shilpa which even made her think that bringing malnad delicacies to the coastal region is a bad idea, but that’s the only cuisine she knew. Despite all the odds, in 2015 Shilpa began with “Halli Mane Rotties” leaving the critics and herself dumbstruck looking at the positive response from the locals. Shilpa never looked back ever since.
Looking at Shilpa’s inspirational struggle and see Mahindra be a small part of it, the chairman of Mahindra Group, Mr.Anand Mahindra promised to invest in her food joint business and gifted her a Mahindra Bolero in 2018 towards the same as a part of Shilpa’s plan of opening another food joint outlet extending her business. The car is currently given for alterations and modifications making it fit for a mobile eatery. Efforts are being put to search the best location in mangalore to have a food truck in business. Shilpa is a recipient of Mahindra Transport Excellence Award 2017 for her achievements.
As of today Shilpa isn’t keeping well, and has been asked to take bed rest, in her absence her brother takes care of the business venture she started.
What TEMPTS my palate is proud to feature Mrs. Shilpa and her “HALLIMANE ROTTIE” with an attempt to tour its readers about the Malanadu cuisine that made “HALLIMANE ROTTIE” what it is today.
About the Food
‘Akki rotti’or ‘rice flour rotti’is a unique Karnataka delicacy served for breakfast and lunch. High in fiber and carbs, these rotis are healthy and at the same time stomach filling. Many methods of preparing ‘akki rottis’are in practice in the northern region of Karnataka but the akki rottis served here are prepared in Malnad style. This very simple version of rice flour rotti is prepared using ingredients like water, salt, and rice flour. Served along with sambar – the south Indian lentil and vegetable stew, akki rotti will definitely make one fall in love with north Karnataka cuisine, the taste is doubled when eaten with the signature spicy green chili chutney.
Ragi Rotti or finger millet flour roti is usually prepared using ragi flour, onion, green chilies and curry leaves. Often used to make malt, ladoo, dosa and healthy biscuits Ragi is very healthy and Ragi rotti is one of the tastiest recipes from ragi. This dish is popular in rural areas of south Karnataka which is rich in nutrients and beneficial to diabetes. The ragi rotties served here are simpler form of the authentic version but no compromise to taste. Soft and crisp texture combined with taste and flavor, the ragi rottis are the all-time favorites among the locals.
Jolada Rotti or Jowar Roti is a popular flatbread originating from North Karnataka prepared using Jolada Hittu or Jowar flour, water and salt. The freshness of the Jolada hittu and the dough consistency play a major role in the authentic taste of the rotti. The jolada rotti is rich in protein, fiber and source of essential nutrients like iron, phosphorous etc.
The Tomato rice is a renowned conventional South Indian dish. As the name says, tomatoes alone and no other vegetables are used in this dish except for onions. Pureed tomatoes are sauteed with spices and then added to the rice. The tangy flavor of tomato makes it an interesting dinner. Palak(spinach) rice, pulav & methi( fenugreek) rice are also served here
‘Bisi Bele Bath’ in English means ‘Hot Lentil rice’ which is a traditional, flavourful rice and lentil based dish from Kannada cuisine. Said to be originated from Mysore Palace, bisibelebath is popular among veg folks who don’t eat onions and garlic, preparing it by using fresh coconut, poppy seeds or dry coconut. Bisibelebath is served only on Thursdays. One of the must-try dishes in the monsoon.
Thatte idli or plate idli is a popular idli variant from Karnataka cuisine prepared on a flat plate. Soft with thin thickness and bigger in size compared to the traditional idli, the Thatte idli is famous amongst travelers, bikers who travel a long way through the Mysore-Bengaluru route where it is served in dhabas along the highway. At “HALLIMANE ROTTIE” you get the same feeling, except for the fact that you intentionally come here. Tender idlis are served with chutney but can be had with sambar too.
For the pure vegetarians out there who do not know how an egg omelet tastes like, tomato omelet is your go-to dish. With the veggies and masala replicating that of an egg omelet, tomato omelet is, in fact, a vegetarian dish and one of the best items to try out here. Served along with spicy green chutney made out of green chilies, this dish is popular amongst the nonvegetarians too because of its originality and taste.
Chicken roast, Chicken donne Biriyani, Chicken green masala :
Apart from the malnad delicacies that they serve, there are some chicken dishes too like the Chicken roast curry and the Chicken green masala which is enjoyed by the locals with ragi, Jola and akki rotti. These curries are prepared in authentic malnad style free from artificial colors etc. What is more fascinating which caught our attention was the Chicken Donne Biriyani. Steaming hot Chicken biriyani is served in dried palm leaf cups called ‘Donne’which gives it a natural taste. The explicit aroma of the biriyani when it hits your nostrils will surely make your taste buds start salivating.
The key to Shilpa’s food is that she sources some materials from her hometown in Hassan and that no additives, taste or color enhancers are used in any of her items with an attempt to make it homely.
Helplessness is a mighty power. Out of difficulties grow miracles. Shipla was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts but because she continued on despite them. What TEMPTS my palate salutes Shilpa and Chiranjeevi for their achievement, for being such an inspiration to others and wishes them all success in their future ventures.
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