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Binging on bars

Almost ready to eat  

A bar of goodness just melts in my mouth; crunchy almonds, slivers of muesli, dollops of peanut butter and a chunk of chocolate —all tasty and nutritious stuff have been packed into the breakfast bar I am now savouring. These bars have travelled all the way from a kitchen in Bangalore that serves as a mini-lab for Huda Masood, a compulsive baker.

She is on a mission to serve a healthy breakfast to those who are too busy to whip one up. Her easy-to-carry nutrition bars contain generous doses of dates, almonds, millets and jaggery. “The point is to not make people eat junk. You cannot enjoy life if you suffer from ill health. These bars are quick and healthy meal replacements,” says Huda.

A quick glance at her Facebook page reveals that she has fans all over the country. Some of her loyal customers include bikers and travellers. “It began as a hobby. But, thanks to a friend from Bangalore who went to Bhutan and binged on my bars, others also came to know about it.”

Six years ago, Huda realised she was gaining weight and leading an unhealthy lifestyle because she did not take her morning meal seriously. “I ended up eating junk or over-eating lunch. So, I began to make these for myself.” Soon it grew into a passion and a catering business.

She is a true hands-on person and believes in crafting everything herself. From the peanut butter to muesli, she makes it all herself. “Muesli is expensive. It is easier to make my own. There is no better binding agent than caramelised jaggery, butter and honey. I am planning to play around with regional flavours such as South Indian podis and masalas.”

She sources the materials from Navadarshanam and Farmer’s Co-opt from Tamil Nadu and does not compromise on quality. It is a high-fibre diet, says Huda. “There are flaxseeds, chunks of dates, badams. These bars consist of soluble fibre that are heart-healthy and insoluble fibre that takes care of your digestive system.”

It is not surprising that Huda is aware of the nutritional aspects. She is working on her Masters in nutrition and dietetics at IGNOU. She also assists the nutritionist at the Sita Bhateja Speciality Hospital.

She gets a chance to bake only in the evening. Huda says she is still terrified when she delivers an order. “That is why I would like to branch out slowly. I am happy with the customers I have.”

 She customises these bars the way you want it. “I have many clients who are diabetic. I use coconut sugar in their samples and tweak components so that it is low on sugar.”

There is no one way of eating her bars, she says. “For instance, you can dunk the squares in milk and heat it in the microwave. All the chocolate, honey and butter will seep into the milk, the bar will soak and you can have it as a meal in itself.”

Baking nutrition bars is only one the many things she does. When she is not baking, she spends time with her cats or lounges on her sofa reading a Roald Dahl. An avid biker, she loves to explore new places and take off on road trips.  She used to make bar soaps, wire jewellery and, according to her friends and roommates, get into fits of cooking marathons!

The kitchen is a happy space, she says.  “I love to experiment and learn new things. I am lucky that I am not bogged down by too many responsibilities. Baking these bars is almost therapeutic. The toasty smell of roasted almonds and oats and the gooey caramel, the aroma of honey... all of this gives me a quiet pleasure. I enjoy every bit of what I cook.”


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 12:03:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/breakfast-nutrition-bars-of-huda-masood/article7586744.ece

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