With the subsidy on LPG cylinders drastically reduced to unrealistic levels and the load shedding expected to extend up to 12 hours a day soon, cooking even three meals a day might be hard-pressed for large families unless they are willing to shell out on LPG gas at market price.
But, for a city whose residents have always found opportunity in adversity, now might be a good time consider the old fashioned cooking of food on a charcoal grill in your backyard with no support from electricity or cooking gas.
“And it’s not just economical but fun too,” says Amit Mathur, a businessman who lives with his extended family in suburban Vadavalli. “Besides being good for the health as all nutrients are intact, the process of cooking barbeque food gives us valuable family time,” he says.
Amit took up cooking grilled food seriously way back in the late 90s. “At that time, there were no barbeque grills available here. So, we built one ourselves using steel plates and a brass mesh. On the whole it takes three hours to cook a meal for around 15 to 20 persons and it’s all done in the outdoors,” he says.
Besides setting up a homemade grill or purchasing an off-the-counter barbeque grill, all one needs is some charcoal and a few millilitres of kerosene or other fuel to set a fire. “While chicken and fish come out great, vegetables and panneer are just as good for vegetarians,” he says. "Whats' more fun for the ladies is that men usually do the cooking."
Thyagarajan, city-based retailer for a popular brand of barbeque grills says that the sales have been steady in Coimbatore. “On an average, we do a business of around Rs. 3 lakhs a month and people are slowly tuning into the concept of grilled sizzlers. It cannot replace gas-based or electric stoves but can be used as an effective supplement,” he says. “But charcoal grills are not as popular here as in bigger cities like Chennai or Bengaluru.”
And for those who think that spending three hours out in the open cooking grilled food to tide over the fuel and power crisis in the city might be too much of work, plenty of marinated meat and fish are readily available in super markets here that can be bought and just cooked in a few minutes once you have your grill ready and hot.