Thiruvananthapuram: It is said that an indulgent Akbar had sent out messengers to all parts of Mughal India to announce a contest. The emperor was desperate for a food recipe that would interest his son Salim who had been refusing to eat anything the palace cooks placed before him. Hundreds of dishes were transported to the palace in Fatehpur Sikri. But the prince who spat out anything he tasted had a sudden glint in his eyes when he placed on his weary tongue a melt-soft brown ball soaked in a rose-scented honey-like liquid. The delicacy later came to be known as ‘gulab jamun’.
Now, centuries later, the Social Justice Department is on a similar hunt like Akbar. If the Mughal court went out of its way to humour a royal child, the LDF government is eager to please the thousands of children from middle- and low-income families who enrol in anganwadis. The nutrition supplement, Amrutham Nutrimix, served in anganwadis has become hugely unpopular. The 32,000-odd anganwadis in the state, therefore, have been asked to come up with recipes that could cause a glint in the eyes of anganwadi children. The last date for all the districts to submit their recipes to the head office in the capital is June 30.
A meeting held here on June 6 had come to the conclusion that regular use of the supplement, consumed in powder form, has caused severe boredom in children. “The taste has become too monotonous. It was also felt that only some innovative change in the ingredients, and the way the supplement is served, could make the children consume the nutrient-rich powder,” a top Social Justice official said. The Department is looking for value addition, a new form in which the supplement can be consumed. Perhaps as ‘chiratta puttu’ or ‘idiyappam’ or 'sweet balls', or as something they had never tasted. Anganwadi teachers and helpers have been asked to come up with their own ideas, and collect recipes from mothers and local cooks. “We can also serve the supplement in different ways in different parts of the state, according to the taste suited to the area,” the official said. “However, besides the taste, the recipe should also be easy to make,” he added.