I have been waiting to get my hands on Madras Bars for quite sometime now. btw I don’t mean the TASMAC Bars 😉 For those of you who do not know what it is, Madras Bars are nicely packed Milagai Podi Idlis.
Generally in traditional South-Indian restaurants, the accompaniments to Idli are Chutney, Sambhar and Milagai Podi. However, when it comes to packing food for travel, since Chutney and Sambhar do not last long, Idlis dipped in Milagai Podi with generous amounts of oil is something that each of us would have seen in our households. This is exactly what Idli Factory’s recent venture is about – ‘Milagai podi Idlis’.
As far as I know, they have about three or four products in the stores. Madras Bars is the most popular of them all. Madras Roundtana is again Milagai Podi Idlis, but with a different flavor. I think there are two flavors right now – Garlic and Curry Leaf powder. These products are yet to be made available in all areas of the city. I have heard that Amma Nana in Alwarpet stocks them, a few BrownTree and Nilgiris outlets in select areas stock them. Staying in Velachery, the closest outlet to me is Amma Nana. I had the opportunity to travel to Alwarpet today and I made sure that I dropped into Amma Nana and picked up a couple of packs of Madras Bars and a pack of Madras Roundtana. Both were packed today and these products have a shelf life of 24 hours. I asked them if they have anything else from Idli Factory to which the shopkeeper replied in negative. I read somewhere that they also make a traditional drink called Paanagam.
To start with, the packing of Madras Bars seemed very cute, and very fancy, I mean you don’t have to worry about the oil staining your dress, carrying it carefully so as to not spill it and so on. It was super good and well-sealed. It was however smaller than what I expected it to be. The picture of the Idlis on the outer cover were too tempting. As I unpacked it, there was a tissue paper and the idlis were nicely wrapped in butter paper (I think that’s how it is called). However, the ‘actual’ Idlis looked different compared to what was on the outer cover. For a second, I cursed the Food Photographers and the post-processing techniques they use, to make the image look better 😉 There were six bars, nicely and evenly coated with Milagai Podi. Tasted one and it was soft, and the podi was enough to retain the taste for the whole mouth. So a lot of trials must have gone into arriving at the ‘right’ amount of podi on an Idli. I liked the taste and it quite reminded me of how we used to pack food as a kid, during travel. The second pack had a bit more podi on the center and a little less on the sides. One pack of Madras Bars has six pieces and I think it must be an equivalent of two normally sized Idlis, or maybe two and a half. It is priced at Rs. 50, which in my opinion, is a little expensive. Of course, there is no doubt about the convenience it gives. If you are not sure of getting good food in the place where you are travelling, you are better off with a couple of these packs. Mind you, they are not hot. So if you are okayish with ‘any’ food, you are better off eating something hot. So it is purely each one’s choice.
Madras Roundtana, on the other hand doesn’t have such a fancy packing. It comes in a normal plastic cover, neatly sealed, and there were ten mini Milagai Podi Idlis in it, with a nice flavour of garlic. It is priced at Rs30, and the same logic as above applies here too.
Overall, the concept of packing and selling Milagai Podi Idlis needs a thumbs up, however, not being a big fan of Idli, I wouldn’t choose to eat this very often.