The inviting smell of boiled rice with your favourite curries blended with the aroma of half-burnt banana leaf (vaattiya ela) will definitely evoke a sense of nostalgia in any Malayali. With the spread of urban culture among the youth, the much-sought-after ‘Pothichoru’ (lunch packed in half-burnt banana leaf) gradually vanished from their food habits as they preferred more ‘modern’ lunch menus of restaurants or office canteens.
Nevertheless, artificial flavours added to the food they consumed and unhealthy preparation often caused health problems for the employed youth who stayed away from home. It is in this backdrop of the rising demand for quality home-prepared lunch that entrepreneur Lajesh Kolath has launched ‘Oru Pothichoru’, an online platform which can be used by anybody in Kochi to get a mouthwatering ‘pothichoru’ delivered at one’s doorstep.
“Most of the employees usually have light breakfast or skip it altogether and the dinner is always either planned with their family or friends. For them, lunch is always unplanned or unpredictable due to unexpected meetings or conferences. Even if they want to go out and satisfy their appetite, meals would have run out in hotels and they may have to be satisfied with a biriyani or something else,” says Lajesh.
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Upon booking online at the website www.orupothichoru.com, the team will deliver authentic Kerala vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals sans artificial preservatives and taste-makers to the customers in a hot bag before 1.30 pm.
It was the lack of a good food culture here and the difficulty faced in getting healthy lunch while on official trips that prompted Lajesh, who has a sales background, to launch ‘Oru Pothichoru’. “It was difficult to get food without any adulteration. I wanted to offer a solution to this and this is how I came up with the ‘Oru Pothichoru’ idea, which allows anyone to place order for lunch sitting at one’s office,” says the founder of the startup. Lajesh did his Masters in International Business from the UK and has professional experience in Dubai and Kerala. The team had been working on ‘Oru Pothichoru’ concept since August 2017. The site went online in March this year.
“By providing food packed in a banana leaf, it will be easy for people to dispose off the waste. We do not use plastic in our packing. Everything is disposable,” says Lajesh, a native of Chottanikkara.
The food is cooked at a kitchen in Chottanikkara and the menu varies according to the availability of vegetables and meat. “The orders come mainly from employees of Infopark,” he adds.
A vegetarian meal is charged at Rs. 59 while it is Rs. 99 for a non-vegetarian meal. For more details, log on to www.orupothichoru.com