Rule number one for every gourmet is to give preference to food in any situation.
One of the many reasons foodies tend to like a certain place of worship is the prasadham. Food in any form is always a preference, but they say prasadham is the quintessential form of food because of its divine power.
When it comes to prasadham, every errand can be put on hold, believes Ravindranathan, an IT professional and a proud food lover. He says, “Prasadham is the best part of visiting a temple. Nothing can beat the one in Dharmashtala in Mangaluru. The prasadham is served on a banana leaf, beginning with soft, fluffy white rice topped with incredibly divine ghee; this is combined with thili saaru, a curry with the combination of spices, toor daal and tamarind extract. Along with this, they serve a vegetable salad, which is mostly a combination of potato and lentils and a sweet dish suffused with ghee that melts in your mouth, giving the best palate satisfaction.”
Foodie Divya Vivek, a fashion designer for the plus-size segment, believes temple prasadham is a way of savouring God’s blessings, she says, “After the long wait in the serpentine queues for prasadham, just the aroma of the spices in the air gives you hope. Kukke Subhramanya temple in Mangaluru is your golden ticket.”
According to her, the regular prasadham here is similar to that in Dharmasthala, a multi-course meal wrapping up with a sweet made from vermicelli and milk. She describes in detail how this dessert is never too strong or subtle —- it’s always the right proportion of milk and sugar. And, apparently if you’re part of a VIP group or have a special darshan ticket, then the prasadham is to die for. Divya extols, “They serve seasoned and fried flat rice with buttermilk and you can never be satisfied with a single serving of it! Fried with coconut oil, the dish is loaded with such a burst of flavour that this might influence you to start cooking with coconut oil at home. Every spoon you savour just dances on your palate, delighting every taste bud.”
Visiting the temple becomes interesting and fun when the prasadham served is your favourite dish says Vijay Shekar, a business development manager at a leading multinational company. He says, “The Venkateshwara temple on Bengaluru’s JP Nagar Main Road serves puliogare. This is one of the most delicious South Indian flavoured rice dishes. It has a nice tangy-spicy taste to it, with the crunchy surprise of groundnuts in every bite. They also serve sweet laddoos made of flour, pure ghee and sugar with dry fruit.”
One of the most famous temples in India is the ISKCON and it’s also well known for its philanthropic practice of serving mid-day meals to students in government schools.
Speaking about their prasadham, Venuvadana Prabhu says, “We offer a free, sumptuous lunch prasadham to temple visitors every day. We serve plain white rice, lentils curry with vegetables like drumsticks, pumpkin and others, a vegetable salad made of Bengal gram and sweet Pongal, which is rice boiled in jaggery and milk. Apart from this, we serve khichdi, a simple one-pot rice and lentils dish served in eco-friendly bowls. Over 33 kgs of rice and 25 kgs of moong daal is used for one meal service. During the week, we have two services a day and over the weekend, it goes up to five to six times.”
If there’s anything calculated to make one worship God even more, this is probably it for today’s foodies.