Food

The millet magic

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Food entrepreneurs in the city are dishing out a wide array of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook millet-based and wholegrain food products

The humble millets are making a comeback in the homes of the health-conscious city folks. People are increasingly seeking healthier and nutritious options of food to bring about a difference in their lives. And this trend has resulted in the city witnessing a growing tribe of food entrepreneurs who cater to this section of health-conscious crowd through ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook millet-based and wholegrain food items.

The recently-held ‘Food Rendezvous’ at Starlite Nutrition and Wellness Centre on International Women’s Day brought together a group of women food entrepreneurs who are making an effort to transform popular breakfast and main meal options to nutrition-packed dishes with millets and wholegrain and also offer read-to-cook mixes.

Healthier alternatives

Go Bhaarati is one such unique venture spearheaded by Sri Sudha that originated from the simple idea to replace rice and sugar from the daily life to healthy alternatives. Today, the venture has a successful setup at Hyderabad and has recently stepped into Vizag. The outlet located at Dwarkanagar (near Hotel Budhil Park) serves millet-based breakfast and lunch. So you have the jowar flakes upma, foxtail millet laddu, ragi rawa upma, idli and dosa and bajra idli and upma. Sudha turns the simple curd rice into a millet-based offering by adding barnyard millet instead of rice. A postgraduate in biochemistry, Sudha made a conscious decision of a lifestyle change when she lost her 60-year-old father and some other relatives to early stage diabetes. “I started experimenting with millets and realised how a simple change in diet can protect my family’s health,” she says. The rice and sugar were instantly replaced with millets and jaggery. “Compared to rice, which is high on carbs, millets have greater nutritional value,” she adds. It has been four and half years now and Sudha says the change has had a hugely positive impact in her family’s health. At her city outlet, you can taste pulihora, tomato rice, pudina rice and bisibelebath – all prepared with millets. She also undertakes catering orders and online orders for her products (www.gobhaarati.com).

Packed with fibre, proteins, enzymes and minerals, millets offer a wide spectrum of health benefits. The ready-to-cook millet-based product market is, however, still growing slowly. It was to address this section of market that the food blogger Sonia Vadlamani will soon be rolling out her venture TruFeast. In the initial stages, TruFeast will be launched in the Hyderabad and Vizag markets with seven ready-to-cook mixes and two ready-to-eat snacks – all millet and whole grain based products. “When I did a market study, I realised that while people are aware of the health benefits of millets, not many know how to cook them or introduce these in breakfast or meals. That’s where the idea to start TruFeast came up,” says Sonia. To encourage more people to embrace millets and wholegrain, she has started a seven-day healthy challenge with hashtag #7DayWarrior. “The idea is to encourage people to replace at least one meal of the day with our ready-to-cook wholegrain mixes; introduce any form of exercise five days a week in their regime; observe the difference you feel and share your experience with the TruFeast community. We will share your experiences at our social media platforms,” she adds. TruFeast takes orders from its Facebook page (facebook/trufeast) and also has presence in Instagram and Twitter. You can also reach out to them by mailing them at teamtrufeast@gmail.com.

Cookies with a twist

Others like Dr D. Neelima started a home based enterprise when she delivered twins three years ago. A dentist by profession, she had to move out of dentistry to bring up her twin boys. Her main concern had always been to find healthy food alternatives for them. Thus she came up with her enterprise Twin Delight where she makes cookies and muffins made from millets. Her delicious cookies are made out of ragi, jowar, bajra, oatmeal, multi-grain, walnut and many other flavours.

One of her specialities is the herb cookies which she prepares with a mix of Ayurvedic powders like ashwagandha, shankhpushpi which help to build immunity and in brain development of children. Neelima takes orders from home and can be reached at 8019472656.

The ‘Food Rendenzvous’ also had stalls set up by Kusum Lata Dantu who had kept homemade products like pickles and ready-to-cook mixes under her brand “Happiness is Homemade’. It has around 25 products like til powder, curry leaf powder, peanut powder, kandi podi and idli podi – that are sans any preservatives and all procured from homemakers across AP. Orders can be placed through its Facebook page called ‘Happiness is Homemade’.

Home-based food entrepreneur Mushthri dishes out a host of Kerala delicacies like puttu by giving it a twist with ragi or maize flour instead of rice to push up the nutritional quotient of the dish. What started as a small venture four years ago involving her Malayalee friends in the city, who were craving for some authentic Kerala delicacy, has today spread out to a wider group of people from different communities who reach out to her a day before to place order. “I do it for passion and have today expanded my menu to include more Kerala dishes,” she says.

She stays in Sea Surf Apartments at Beach Road and orders can be picked up from her residence. To reach out to her, contact her at 7795137999.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 7:04:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/the-millet-magic/article23034528.ece

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