The steam heated cauldrons in Akshaya Patra’s Mysore kitchen are capable of preparing 100 kgs of plain rice within 15 to 20 minutes. This poses a special challenge when making some of the more complex rice dishes, such as tomato bath or vegetable bath, which are children’s favorites. Timing is everything when cooking on such a large scale.
M. P. Ramesh, who has worked with the Akshaya Patra’s kitchen in Mysore for nearly 5 years, is responsible for ensuring that the texture and flavor of food prepared is at its best. He knows exactly how long the rice should be cooked, when the spices need to go in and how much water needs to be added to give it the right taste and consistency. From 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. when cooking in the kitchen takes place, Ramesh carefully oversees every item that goes into the cauldrons.
“We have to put the right ingredients in at the right time. Careful adjustments need to be made to the heat and amount of water poured into a cauldron; otherwise the texture of cooked rice is affected. Children are always particular about these things, and if you don’t get it right, they won’t find it tasty,” explains Ramesh.