ASIAN FOOD

This Deepavali, gift a box of good health

From laddus made of black rice to roasted seeds for easy snacking, this Deepavali is seeing a trend of relatively healthy treats, indigenous produce and curated hampers that claim to bolster immunity

This year, health has been the biggest thing to cherish and celebrate. As the festivities of Deepavali begin, there has been a major shift of consumer preferences changing towards healthy eating and choosing the gift of good health for family and friends. Cashing in on this trend, immunity booster Deepavali hampers are flooding the market.

Grains of goodness

This Deepavali, gift a box of good health

Building a strong immune system has been the focus of 2020, as a result of COVID-19. Chennai-based Spirit of the Earth, however, has had its focus on health and immunity-boosting grains for many years. The organisation, which specialises in heritage rice grown at its 50-acre organic farm in Manjakkudi, Kumbakonam, has come up with kullakar and karuppu kavuni laddus for the festive season. Kullakkar is an ancient red rice variety that has complex carbohydrates while the karuppu kavuni is black rice known for its nutritional benefits.

The laddus are made with these two varieties of rice, peanuts, cashew nuts and jaggery. “Kullakar possesses antioxidant properties and has higher zinc and iron content than white rice. It is known to strengthen, regenerate and energise the body and also regulates blood pressure. Whereas karuppu kavuni has anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants and dietary fibre,” says Jayanti Somasundaram of Spirit of the Earth.

According to her, while ancient rice varieties have increasingly gained popularity over the years, the pandemic has drawn attention to traditional grains with people becoming more conscious about strengthening their immune systems. “This year, about 100 tins with laddus have been booked even before we started promotions. We are making a smaller batch of 200 tins this festive season, keeping in mind safety protocols during the pandemic,” says Jayanti. Each tin consists of 15 laddus (seven kullakar and eight karuppu kavuni) and come in a handcrafted paper bag made by the differently-abled members of NGO AIM For Seva Krupa Care in Chennai.

Priced at ₹299, the tins can be shipped across India. Call 9500082142.

Taste the heritage

This Deepavali, gift a box of good health

Chennai-based Sempulam has put together six varieties of rice for its Immunity Collection Deepavali gift hamper. The hamper consists of 230 grams of each variety with details on nutritional benefits and the method of cooking. The varieties include navara (red raw rice), kalanamak (aromatic white raw rice), thanga samba (white raw rice), kaattu yanam (red raw rice), kaivara samba (red rice) and karuppu kavuni (black raw rice). “We are seeing a huge shift towards ancient rice grains during the pandemic because of the high nutritional benefits of these varieties. The navara, for instance, was traditionally used by Ayurvedic physicians,” says K Vijayalakshmi, director of Sempulam.

The collection is priced at ₹675 and can be ordered at 9790126979.

Raw organics

Even before the pandemic made ‘immunity boosters’ the talk of the town, Mumbai-based Zama Organics was selling organic fruits, nuts and teas. For this Deepavali, the online store, which operates through its website and social media handles, is offering hampers that contain immunity-boosting food.

“The pandemic has brought to focus what we have been talking about for over three years. Every year, rather than processed food, we offer raw organic products like seasoned dry fruits and honey jars that are known to benefit the human body,” says Shriya Naheta, the founder of Zama Organics.

This year, the company is offering Thai Trail Mix, where dry fruits are spiced with flavours from Thai cuisine. The company is also offering an Immunity Latte Mix — a powder largely made of turmeric and ginger — that can be mixed with milk or water.

“For centuries, we have been aware of the immunity-boosting capabilities of turmeric and ginger. The mix is one of our most sought-after products,” she adds.

The hampers are made from ingredients sourced from organic farms across the country and come in three sizes: small, medium and large.

“In addition to the products described, we also have red and black rice along with a jar of pink crystal salt,” adds Shriya. The hampers can be customised on requests.

Visit zamaorganics.com or text via WhatsApp at 70458 56105

Power-packed seeds

This Deepavali, gift a box of good health

Yaadhum, a Madurai-based community of mothers and fathers striving to spread the message of healthy living, has put together five hampers leaning towards their core values. These consist of Raw Honey: a pack of four bottles of raw forest honey sourced from Ecologin (a social enterprise that works with tribal people across India). Then there is Artisanal Tea from Graamya in Kerala, that works with small scale tea farmers in Palar village. A rich source of flavonoids, the tea comes in four flavours.

Yaadhum also has a hamper of ‘immunity-boosting’ spices such as cloves, cardamom, white and black pepper and another one that has four types of roasted seeds curated by a women’s group in Madurai. These include flax, watermelon, pumpkin, and cucumber seeds and make for a healthy snack. For those with a sweet tooth, B Stalin, the founder of Motherway Traditional Sweets, has curated a hamper of traditional sweeteners such as palm sugar, palm jaggery, and jaggery powder that help fight cold and cough.

Prices range from ₹615 onwards; the hampers are customisable and can be shipped across India. For details, call 9629623044, visit theyaadhum.com.

(With inputs from Aishwarya Upadhye and Akila Kannadasan)

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