Putu Mayam or Iddiyappam is a South Indian snack of rice flour steamed noodles, eaten with sweetened toppings such as grated coconut and gula melaka (palm sugar) or with savoury dishes like chicken curry or sothi (yellow coconut curry).
This snack is normally made in white colour, but Ipoh born, R.Navin Kumar fascinates us with putu mayam in a variety of colours. He serves 14 different putu mayam flavours, including strawberry, orange and cappuccino.
Other than that, this 24-year-old also sells Bamboo putu and 20 varieties of kolukattai with his father, L.Ravi.
His father used to sell putu mayam made by another supplier, but due to some dissatisfaction with the price, Navin decided to learn how to make putu mayam through a friend, Jaganesh Rasarathnam, to support his family.
After a day dedicated on learning how to make the delicious putu mayam, he was ready to make a set of 300 putu mayams that ended up being uncooked. Although failing in his first attempt, he did not let that hinder him from attempting to make more putu mayams.
He did not give up and strived harder to innovate the recipe creatively to make it appetising and appealing to his potential customers.
One day, while he was at the bakery, the aroma and flavours of the bread, buns and pastries sparked a thought. That’s when he became inspired to create putu mayam of various flavours.
After coming up with this idea, he started to share his multi flavoured putu mayams on his Facebook and Instagram handles respectively, this successfully attracted multiracial customers all over the country.
Many were unsure if the colour added to the Putu Mayam was organic, but Navin assured that his Putu Mayam has only flavour and not food colouring.
While the son is busy making putu mayam, Ravi, on the other hand, helps to sell them in nearby neighbourhoods on a motorcycle at RM2 for three pieces.
While his business is going great, this young entrepreneur goes a step higher to make ‘Instant Putu Mayam’ and ‘Instant Kolukattai’ to expand his business.
Meanwhile, Navin is also planning to get himself a machine that will help him automatically press the dough into putu mayam.
This is because he had suffered an accident that resulted in injuries to his arm and both his legs. So, doing it manually causes more physical pain to his arms. He must therefore apply for a loan to obtain an auto-machine worth RM20,000 to further grow his business.
Despite that, he is also willing to train youngsters who are interested in this business, and he believes that this business can help in providing a good and sustainable income.
He sets a perfect example for many youths out there to aspire for success, no matter what challenges they face. He is not a quitter and one hack of a determined individual.
We from Varnam are very proud of your creativity and dedication, young man! Let’s unite as a community to help expand his business.