Food

How this Kerala entrepreneur proves good health begins at home with her multi-grain mix

Priya Ravikrishnan

Priya Ravikrishnan   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

Priya Ravikrishnan from Thiruvananthapuram highlights healthy eating habits with her home-made multi-grain mix that can be used to make a number of dishes

 

Priya Ravikrishnan believes in doing it herself. For the past three decades, the “health enthusiast” has made it a point to prepare her own “home-made health mix”, keeping frugality and hygiene in mind.

“My inspiration is my mother-in-law, Lakshmi Balu, who taught me nutritious home recipes that can be used to prepare various snacks or even simply had as a porridge. This helped us stay clear of junk food. My daughter, Vaishnavi Ravikrishna, used to be a fussy eater as a child and I wanted to ensure she had a balanced diet,” says Priya.

Idiyappam

Idiyappam   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

What began as a wholesome culinary habit sparked an idea one day. Four years ago, Priya decided to scale up preparations, and the former home cook turned entrepreneur when she brought out her multi-grain health mix powder under the name Swasti. Meaning ‘well being’ or ‘good health’ in Sanskrit, the home-made health mix packs in 18 nutritious ingredients, such as bamboo rice, finger millet, foxtail millet, almond, flaxseed, green gram, horse gram and so on, to make a balanced wholesome eat.

“I have tried to maintain a balance of carbs, fibre and protein. You can see how grains such as millets are now being promoted as the new superfoods, at a time when the clamour is for ‘organic’ products,” says Priya, a resident of Karamana.

Quick recipes
  • Simple porridge: Mix a few table spoons of the multi-grain mix in a cup of water. Bring to boil till it attains the consistency of porridge. Can be consumed with milk or palm sugar.
  • Multi-grain veg soup: Sauté onion, ginger, garlic and vegetables such as carrot and beans in butter for a minute or two. Add the health mix porridge and coconut milk and cook for a few minutes. Garnish with salt and pepper.

From sourcing to packaging, Priya says she manages the process single-handedly and it has become viable as the production is on a small scale. “Perhaps, good quality bamboo rice is the most difficult to source among the assorted ingredients but I retain it for its good calorific content. I source bamboo rice from Wayanad and rest of the grains are bought from regular suppliers in the city. It’s a family recipe and I just modified it,” explains the 48-year-old.

It is a laborious process. The raw materials are cleaned and washed a few times before being roasted together in a two-kilogram capacity automatic roaster.

“The dry mixture is then allowed to cool for a day before it’s powdered at a mill and sieved at home,” she says, adding that preservatives and added sugars are a strict no-no. Earlier, Priya used aluminium pouches for packaging but now employs eco-friendly paper packets. She prepares 15 kilograms — 20 kilograms of the mixture in a single batch and the frequency depends on the orders. The health mix comes in half-kg packets that are priced at ₹300.

Ela ada made from the health mix

Ela ada made from the health mix   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

Priya says one advantage of such a health mix, which has a predominantly nutty flavour, is the numerous recipes and snacks that can be prepared solely from the ingredient, which can be made into a batter.

“Essentially, it can be used to make your traditional breakfast items such as puttu, idiyappam and even dosa. Otherwise, snacks such as ela ada with banana and jaggery fillings can be prepared, healthy options that many can enjoy at any time of the day. Or as shakes or veg soup or even sweets such as ladoo by mixing with other suitable ingredients,” points out Priya. Perhaps, if one is pressed for time, a convenient option would be a simple, easy-to-make porridge, she says. A toast to good health!

For details, look up Swasti’s page on Facebook.

 

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:29:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/how-this-kerala-entrepreneur-proves-good-health-begins-at-home-with-her-multi-grain-mix/article31048638.ece

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