YUMMY! Catch an ‘Arusuvai Sappadu’ at the Status Clubhouse restaurant on Sunday courtesy Chef Raman!

Eating is Fun / Eating is Yuck! – A variety food column

By Tara Narayan

IN MY quest for foodie joys I sometimes find what I want! Now ask me what is Arusuvai Sappadu? It’s a humble  Tamil Nadu special lunch comprising such things as poriyal, pachadi, koottu kori, masala vadai, payasam, nei, thayir, rasam, sambar, paruppu, chips and papad, also yellumichai sadam which is lemon or lime rice (but you may also look forward to thayir sadam, puliodorai sadam and other veggie-rich fragrant sadam, thayir sadam is the quintessential cooling curd rice and puliodorai is the flavour-rich tamarind rice). What more can one want for a Sunday’s afternoon meal?

Where? Now I’m in two minds whether I should write this up or not, share or not share! But for some reason I’ve always taken a shine to Chef Raman and more so his wife with the lovely name of Bhagyam (short for Bhagyalakshmi) and actually I went out to the Models Status housing colony out on the highlands of the Bambolim plateau, overlooking Taleigao in the distance…looking for Chef Raman. I wanted to ask him if he was still on the Herbalife nutri milk shakes for breakfast which he once spoke to me about?

Hey, three years running, the welcoming Bhagyam tells me, they’re a family dedicated to Herbalife health products, “You know I couldn’t even walk steadily but after these shakes and vitamins which my daughter who’s a distributor gives me and her father, I’m really much better off now. Sometimes Raman takes the nutri shake for dinner too and that’s all.” A peppery Chef Raman overhearing us nods, in his 80s now he says he’s fit enough to run the Campal promenade in Panaji! They are what is called a Herbalife family and even if they spend something like `10,000 a month on the various Herbalife nutritional products, it’s better than going to hospitals, “No hospitals for us, we’re too old now, thank- you!”

What happened to that restaurant he started at the threshold of Mapusa,  called “Nebula” and which he had thrown open with great fanfare, inviting the media for lunch, etc. He sighed, that was last year and they had to close down because of the law on serving liquor near the highway. Now he is far better off at the Models Status clubhouse restaurant where he takes care of the needs of residents here, “The flats may be 75 per cent occupied now and many are doctors at Manipal Hospital. They come and appreciate the food we serve at the clubhouse restaurant from 7 pm to 10.30 pm every day and on Sundays we have Arusuvai Sappadu for lunch/brunch.”

Bhagyam adds, “Actually, if you like idli-masala dosa-wada you can also come for breakfast on Sunday.” I told her I will certainly take her up on this since I’ve grown up in Mumbai eating out in various Udipi eateries for years on end. It’s rather a nice bit of high land out where the Models `Status’ is and I regret I didn’t book a flat for myself there long ago when I’d got the chance! But now that Chef Raman is taking care of the housing complex clubhouse restaurant I think I’ll go out there often just to drink the best South Indian filter coffee in Goa  and occasionally indulge in the Arusuvai Sappadu (`150 meal) on Sunday, and also catch up with some more fascinating talk with Chef Raman and Bhagyam!

DON’T know why folk still ask me about the Mangalore bun which I wrote about here some time ago, the same friend! Reportedly, this common man’s delight does not taste the same everywhere and obviously not — the Mangalore bun you get at the Healthway Hospital canteen would be different from the one at Café Real or Café Bhonsale — and the price has upped from `10 to `20 now. But one thing I’ve discovered is that in the Goan eateries they do not use banana mash nor traditional natural curd in the batter of this golden cumin seed flecked snack!

They may do it in Udipi or Mangalore, but not in the Goan eateries, instead they use milk cream and sugar and sometimes there’s no cumin at all. Sorry, I’m not eating Goa’s Mangalore bun anymore. In any case if you’re asking me why should Goan eateries serve something so much a part of Karnataka’s breakfast and tea-time fare? Funny, this. This is to say the Manglore bun in Goa is not quite as honest as the real Mangalore bun in Karnataka. In comparison the Goan version of Mangalore bun is a cheat and a tease! The next time I eat a Mangalore bun it will be in Mangalore or Udipi.

AND to continue with my Herbalife adventures and updates. I’ve finally gone a step up the hierarchy and am ordering my own stock of Herbalife products — basically, just Formula 1 and protein powder, multivitamin and their Lifeline which is heart specific. Of course it’s more economical to make one’s own shake at home than go out every morning to one of the nutrition clubs where the shake and two Refresh teas (cinnamon, ginger, elaichi or peach) are retailed at `180 for the first month and `135 for the second month — price has upped a bit since GST. But at the clubs one is served and all I do is sit and drink the teas and shake, spend a happy half hour chatting with others. Although if you like you may go in early and swing with the exercise programs on a television screen.

Once you quit going to the nutritional clubs (and I believe there are something like four to five Herbalife nutrition clubs downtown Panaji alone) and do your own buying with the company online or by phone….then one is all, all alone at home, in the mood or not in the mood to fix oneself this specific guided breakfast of shake and teas (if you want to lose weight then both breakfast and dinner have to be replaced). I must say though that the milk shake I make at home in my kitchen is far more delicious for I use my own fresh skimmed milk and my favourite flavour, the Formula 1 orange cream. I try to make it thin and shake it up before chilling it in the chiller before sipping it. That’s it, no other breakfast? That’s it. If one is inclined one may do a repeat dinner time. This is for the weight loss program and I’m supposed to be doing this! Point is I want to lose weight slow and steady and hopefully arrive someday – wherever, as long as it is a better place.

It’s funny really and I still get amused by all these young and not-so-young folk like me who visit the Herbalife nutrition clubs faithfully every morning for their quota of breakfast shake and two cups of Refresh guarana energy teas. Hey, one may as well be sitting and moon-mooning in a liquor bar nursing one’s poison! The difference is this is not liquor but a nutritious milk shake which comes well recommended; plus, there are the Refresh teas, multivitamin tablets, something called Herbalife Lifeline (specific for heart health), etc. They come with health briefs which if you read up on will reassure you.

This is to say the milk shake I make myself these mornings taste good and I’m already beginning to get familiar enough with it to take a few liberties here and there. For instance I use my own skimmed milk or do it just in water. As long as you stay faithful to the basic guidelines it’s fine to make little favourable changes. Some friends of mine combine Formula I and protein mix with orange juice or whatever juice they fancy. One of these days I’ll experiment too.

If I do both breakfast and dinner replacements with the shakes I guess I will knock off some more weight. All this is more agreeable than going to diet clinics with their fancy diet charts and workout gyms — although I must tell you exercise always speeds up weight loss. Either do the zumba or go for half-an-hour’s brisk walking every day! Enjoy. Herbalife is not just about losing weight though, it’s much more than that, you do some homework now!

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