Grain gain:Time to make a healthy switch


Fluffy, moist and healthy too! Sounds like the cake of your dreams? With plenty of alternate flours to choose from, guilt-free cakes have become a reality now. And even pizzas and breads can make for healthy indulgence.

Ditching unhealthy flours, one can now take a pick from a variety of alternate flour options such as quinoa, ragi, amaranth and jowar that have become mainstream in the culinary world today.

As keeping healthy and fit becomes one of the prime concerns in a Covid-inflicted word, food lovers are making well thought of healthy choices. And chefs are making sure there are enough options on the menu to meet their needs, while whipping up the best of the flavours.

“Breakfast being the first and most important meal of the day, we offer healthy South Indian delicacies like Dosa and Idli made of a mix of healthy grains or ragi. We also have healthier option in burgers where the bun is made of flours such as rye and ragi,” says chef Vivek Rana, The Claridges, New Delhi.

And there are cakes made of quinoa, pizza base made of ragi or jowar, cookies made of amaranth and breads made of sorghum. “These flours are rich in antioxidants, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins B and E. They are easier to cook and lighter on the stomach. They are convenient to grow in regions where water for irrigation is not ample as these crops need less water, so availability is never a problem,” says chef Rakesh Sethi.

A number of bakeries have put cakes and breads made of alternative flour on their menu.

“We use mixtures of maize, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa and linseed. A growing number of customers now ask for items made of healthier flours instead of refined flour or wheat flour,” says restaurateur Kazem Samandari.

The process of creating that wonderful quinoa cake or bread made of a mix of healthy grains is not easy.

Some may take months to perfect. “It took me 10 months to perfect a bread that is gluten free, sugar free, made without using any gums or starch,” says Kanupriya Khanna, nutritionist and dietitian.

Chef Prem K Pogakula, The Imperial New Delhi says, “Getting close to the classic recipes with alternate flour needs a lot of research and trial runs of the recipes. Due to the texture and flavour differences of alternate flour and all-purpose flour, it is never easy to completely swap these. However, using two different whole-grain flours works well. This way, we achieve results that are closer to the original recipes.”

So, next time you crave for a flavourful cake, you can happily make a healthy choice. Have your cake and eat it, too!

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