There was a time, not so long ago, when chapatis in South Indian homes was considered special. Not anymore - chapatis are now a part of everyday diet in a lot of South Indian homes. And, one of the 'Southies' has even ventured out into mechanised chapathi- making!
Mr.E.B.Bhat, also known as Baala maama, has been in the food industry for 20-25 years now. By sheer diligence and hard work, he has expanded his range of products from milk bread to different types of bread, buns, cakes & biscuits. Also, other stuff like puffs, cutlets, samosas & pizza bases.
Recently, Baala maama invited us to check out his new, mechanised chapati-making unit - an invitation that we readily accepted.
On entering the industrial estate at Kamakshipalya, B'lore, our noses led us in the right direction :) - to 'Polykorp Food Industries', where Baala maama was waiting for us with thin, use-and-throw caps. Wearing them and leaving our footwear outside, we entered the tidy interiors of the chapati-making unit.
(Pic courtesy, Sandhya)
From the viewer side of the glass partition, one could very clearly see what was happening. A huge mixer made the dough - mixing the flour, oil, salt and other ingredients - in the tried, tested and perfected proportions (Baala maama personally perfects a product before mass production). A water purifier was supplying clean water. The mound of dough was then placed on a feeder.
From there, the machine took over, by cutting the mound into small spheres & pressing each sphere into a perfect circle. This, in turn, went through a series of conveyor belts along a burner (that big, green box in the pic). The evenly burnt chapati dropped into another conveyor, and, a short journey later, the cooled chapati fell into a container, to be sorted and packed.
Fresh, off the conveyor, the chapatis tasted perfect :) (Ditto when we heated the chapatis the next day. Unrefridgerated, the shelf life is about 3 days. Double that if one refridgerates).
While we were there, we also checked out the unit that made the other stuff. The huge ovens, the bun dividing machine, the bread cutting machine, the implement that dates the packed food,....I think, we will carry all those images with us for a long time.
Thanks to Baala maama for inviting us and showing us around. But for that, we would have never given a thought to the effort that actually goes into making ready-to-eat food - the ingredients to be procured, the hygiene and the machines to be maintained, the labourers, packing and marketing to be managed - phew!! Not an easy task at all!