Man who made Ulavacharu famous

Published Jan 8, 2015, 1:15 pm IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 1:57 am IST
Ratnam designed his own special boiler vessels to make the dish
Venkata Ratnam overseeing the production of Ulavacahru  at Gunadala in Vijayawada on Wednesday. (Photo: DC/File)
 Venkata Ratnam overseeing the production of Ulavacahru at Gunadala in Vijayawada on Wednesday. (Photo: DC/File)
VIJAYAWADAUlavacharu, the popular recipe of coastal Andhra has been rechristened after Mandava Venkata Ratnam as Ulavacharu Ratnam.
In fact “brown soup” as Ulavacharu is known in cities had changed the fortunes of Mr Ratnam. Once this recipe, made from horse grams, was confined mainly to the farming community, but it is now satisfying taste buds beyond boundaries courtesy Mr Ratnam.
It became a celebrated dish in functions not only in AP and Telangana State, but also in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where Telugus reside. It has also reached the United States and other Western countries.
Interestingly,  its popularity has grown through mouth-to-mouth publicity. A number of celebrities have also appreciated this pure Telugu dish including former US President Bill Clinton when he tasted it during TANA meetings. 
Mr Ratnam, 52, is a native of Ventrapragada of Krishna district. He was born in a middle class farming family, but successive losses in cultivation led to many hardships.
During those testing times, Mr Ratnam took to Ulavacharu making from Visakhapatnam in 1995 as a last resort. He moved to Hyderabad on the advice of Jasthi Vijaya Shankar, a well-wisher, and took to making the dish on a larger scale with the help of his father, Venkatramaiah, brother Chandrasekhar Azad and wife, Indira.
After tasting huge success, he expanded his business to Vijayawada in 1998. Gradually he shifted the whole production unit to Gunadala in Vijayawada and started exporting to many places. He soon set up a huge modern unit.
Though he has studied only till Class X, Mr Ratnam designed the “Jacketed Boiler Vessels” which play an important role in making Ulvacharu. “I attribute my success to the efforts of my family who stood by me, the high-quality organic ingredients, monitoring at every stage and purified water,” said Mr Ratnam. Many celebrities and farmers have also visited his manufacturing unit.
The popularity of the dish is thanks to Mr Venkata Ratnam and his family’s years of hard work, commitment to quality and entrepreneurship.
Location: Andhra Pradesh