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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

At Rs 130 per kg, onion requests off the menu at Pune eateries

Eighty five per cent of the gravy base in 90 per cent of Pune’s restaurants are onion-based

pune Updated: Dec 05, 2019 16:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
A worker at a city restaurant puts up a notice on Wednesday stating that no extra onions will be served.
A worker at a city restaurant puts up a notice on Wednesday stating that no extra onions will be served.(HT/PHOTO)

Eighty five per cent of the gravy base in 90 per cent of Pune’s restaurants are onion-based. The cost of one kg of onions, wholesale to restaurants on an average, in the city on Wednesday, was Rs 130 per kg.

Ganesh Shetty, president, Pune Hoteliers Association, says, “There are 4,000 restaurants - big and small - in the city and 85 per cent of the gravy base is onion. An average restaurant kitchen needs a minimum 50kg of onion per day, and we are paying Rs 130 per kg currently.”

Shetty’s restaurants do not serve onions as part of the complimentary salad any more.

Sharan Shetty, president, Pune Restaurants and Hotel Association, says, “Seventy of our member hotels are quite badly affected. Food cost has shot up drastically and as onions are a main ingredient in our Indian kitchens. We have to absorb the cost. The market will definitely correct in some time, till then, we are limiting the use of onions.” 

Jawahar Chorge, owner, SP Biryani house, a biryani and non-vegetarion specialty unit off Tilak road, can’t think of serving biryani without fried onions.

“One has to maintain the quality of food served and there is no compromise, so I will buy onions, even at Rs 140 per kg for the ‘old variety’, of which we need 300 kg per week,” Chorge says. 

The small khanawals (eatieries) lining Navi peth and Narayan peth are all onion-heavy menus (misal pav) and are feeling the pinch.

Hotel Tulja Bhavani has put up a notice stating that they will not be offering “extra onions” anymore. “I run my hotel serving nonveg meals. I could compromise on making the gravies thin, but people still want quality and also want onion in their plates, which I have to no to. Tomorrow I will make a trip to Market Yard to buy 10 kgs of onions. I expect to be charged Rs 130 per kg,” said Bajrang Zodge, owner Tulja Bhavani.

Kandha-free household kitchens rue 150 per kg as “unaffordable” price

Kitchens in households across the city are faced with the onion dilemma as prices continue to spiral out of control.

“I bought onions at Rs 150 per kg as in our household, there is not a single dish that can be cooked without onions. If the price keeps rising like this, it is going to be difficult to manage our household budget,” said Sumangla Suryavanshi, a retired housewife, living in Bibwewadi.

There are other women who have found a way around the increased onion prices, making gravies and vegetables using alternative ingredients.

“We used to have onions daily, but now, due to the prices we have started using coconut for the gravy, and vegetables which don’t need onions, like cabbage and pumpkin,” said Sindhu Bhanu, a homemaker in Aundh.

Shobhana Malviya , a freelance content writer, said, “I use onion as and when required, but due to the severe price increase I am looking at onion-free recipes. Imagine eating onion with roti, once a symbol of survival, but now, the irony, with onion prices hitting an all-new high.”