Mithai gets a guilt-free makeover
Healthier flour alternatives, natural sweeteners and locally sourced ingredients are gaining prominence this festive season
The Godrej Food Trends Report 2023, which involved the participation of over 300 chefs, thought leaders, culinary experts, food bloggers, healthcare professionals, mixologists, restaurateurs, sommeliers and food producers, has highlighted that this festive season, consumers will spend more on healthy treats and diet versions of traditional mithai. With Ganeshotsav marking the beginning of the festive season and Navratri not too far away, eateries have begun prepping curations with the report in mind, primarily using millets, low sugar and low GI (glycemic index) ingredients.
Why so strict?
According to experts, an increase in health consciousness, especially among millennials, is driving the trend of guilt-free indulgence. Social media, too, plays a key role in influencing healthier habits while preserving traditions.
The millet mania
“Our millet-based twist to Indian desserts will be the showstopper of our festive buffet menus and gift hampers. These include ragi malpuas, foxtail halwas, beetroot coconut modaks, jowar puran poli, finger millet laddoos, bajre ka churma and kuttu ki kheer. For sweeteners, we prefer using honey, jaggery or palm jaggery, instead of white sugar. I also love using as figs and apricots to add a hint of natural sweetness,” says Ashutosh Bisht, executive sous chef at Crowne Plaza, New Delhi.
“We have coconut jaggery poha and kakdiche god vade, and plan to introduce sugar-free ragi barfi. These wholesome ingredients are combined to form a nutritious base rich in fibre, minerals and vitamins,” adds Abhijeet Bagwe, executive chef, Novotel Mumbai International Airport.
Seeds of sustenance
At Roseate Hotels and Resorts, the spotlight is on sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds in desserts, along with dates, apricot and prunes. At Shangri-La Eros New Delhi, too, a variety of seeds are at play. They will also use high-quality, locally sourced seasonal produce, incorporate traditional spices and herbs to capture the essence of Indianness.
Sugar? No please!
At Benaras-based Ksheer Sagar, the focus is on incorporating ingredients with a low GI, such as almond flour or coconut flour, in a bid to ensure blood sugar is in control. The menu comprises almond and pistachio barfi, sugar-free gulab jamun, diabetic-friendly kaju katli, etc. “We’ll also offer customisable gift hampers for the festive season,” says Shikhar Yadav, managing director.