A Culinary Love Letter From Tamil Nadu To Jodhpur

Although Jodhpur is renowned for its tangy Pani Patasa and traditional Dal Bati Churma, it has a new addition to its culinary map
A delicacy from the Tamil cuisine at Unaavu, Jodhpur
A delicacy from the Tamil cuisine at Unaavu, JodhpurUnaavu

Inside Unaavu, the delectable memories of South Indian cuisine are served home-cooked to the Jodhpuri residents. With a promise of authenticity, the menu comes with traditional flavours, from tamarind to jaggery, sourced straight from Tamil Nadu.

"My co-founder and I were always passionate about South Indian food and felt that Jodhpur did not have enough options," said co-founder Chandni Arora who chanced upon the idea for Unaavu during a casual conversation in a park with Seema Marothi (co-founder). To bring this idea to fruition, the founding team of Unaavu invited a seasoned home cook from a Tamil household who came down for a month and extensively trained the staff right from the basics of authentic South Indian cooking.

All-women staff at Unaavu
All-women staff at UnaavuUnaavu

Women Of Unaavu

Apart from putting South Indian flavours on Jodhpur’s culinary map, Unaavu—as an enterprise—comes with a crucial sense of ethical responsibility. As demand for organic and "clean label" food rises in the Indian market, it is evident that the market itself is also adjusting to the pace. Accordingly, Unaavu’s “home-cooked” is a step away from frozen and pre-prepped food that is often found in small-scale chains. Another factor that Unaavu is careful about is its carbon footprint. As per the founders, the overarching reason for creating a small-batch kitchen rather than a large-scale commercial setup was quality control and the reduction of the burgeoning carbon footprint. But what sets them apart the most is their tribe of “all women staff.”

“We at Unaavu cater to the unique needs and challenges faced by women, such as balancing work and family responsibilities and creating flexible work arrangements that accommodate caregiving responsibilities,” said Chandni, on hiring local women as Unaavu's cooking staff.

In employing an all women staff, Unaavu helped generate employment for women in the area. At the same time, they also helped create a supportive community that performs the function of a safe group, especially for women in abusive households. Since the staff is trained from scratch, the skill share can benefit these women in the long run and aid them in self-empowerment.

On The Menu

“One of the most popular coolers we serve at Unaavu is the Tender Coconut Cooler,” said Chandni. According to her, this grandmother’s recipe, which was passed on to Unaavu, is a unique twist on traditional coconut coolers as it does not use milk. As per the recipe story, the grandmother who first made this cooler did not agree with milk and instead devised her own mixture.

Apart from the more popular South Indian dishes, Unaavu also serves lesser-known dishes from Tamil cuisine. Words such as Idiyappams served with Kurma, Sweetened Coconut Milk, Kumbakonam Kaddapa, Pattnam Pakoda, Parappu Podi Sadam, and Mor Kozhambu are some lesser-known names.

If you’re going to Unaavu, be sure to try their Idiyappam, which has been a popular dish since its introduction.

Address: 12, Baggi Khana Rd, near Shreenath bazaar, Ratanada, Jodhpur

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