Express News Service
HYDERABAD: It was during the lockdown that those who didn’t know how to rustle up a dish for themselves learnt to chop, clean and cook — the essential tasks to live life. That’s how during that time dried and bottled food items especially the condiments like dried onion powder, lemon powder, fried onion ringlets among a gamut of several such other food products.
That’s when a city-based entrepreneur Anubhav Bhatnagar, an XLRI alumnus launched a food range with a shelf life of 12-18 months. His startup Zilli’s is incubated under ‘Atal Incubation Center ALEAP We-hub’.
The quick DIYs range that also helps to reduce the cooking time have preservatives in them. So while it is about quick food, what assures the same is healthy? Shares Anubhav, “The fruits and vegetables have a short shelf life of 7-15 days and they attract fungus and bacteria because of the moisture in them. We follow an age-old technique of dehydration of preserving the food by removing moisture.”
He cites an example of grandmothers using the process of dehydration by drying chips and papad under the sunlight to remove moisture content.
“Once dried it can stay up to 1-2 years without attracting fungus and bacteria. Our process is based on the similar concept of drying the fruit and vegetable under hot air to remove moisture content and then making the powder,” he adds.
He tried making the first product in the kitchen using a microwave oven. “I failed multiple times, burnt a lot of onions and garlic to arrive at my desired product. I tried using dehydrated onion and garlic in my curries to understand the difference (good or bad) it brought to my recipes. I was excited to find out that my curries even tasted better and just a spoonful of these powders was enough to bring that natural flavour. Not only did I not have to chop onions and garlic,” he says.
The powders did not require any roasting as well since they were dehydrated and hence, in concentrated form. “This reduced my cooking time almost to half! This is how to we provide RTC products to our customer without compromising on health,” he shares. The products that his startup offers are red onion powder, tomato powder, green chilli powder, garlic powder among other items.
“We also have five blends in our product catalogue and we are consistently working towards launching many more.Kolkata Jhal Muri (Murmura/Puffed Rice) Masala can be used in puffed rice with chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves, coconut, peanuts mixed in a small quantity of mustard oil and blended with the goodness of spices which makes it a very tasty and healthy snack. We have come up with this authentic blend straight from our kitchen for this snack,” he informs.
They have six fruit roll-ups and fried onion flakes as well.