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Grains, including ragi, jowar & millets, among top food trends in 2019
Friday, 31 May, 2019, 12 : 00 PM [IST]
Kayzad Sadri
Healthy and conscious eating has been gaining momentum over the past few years and 2019 is set to be no different as diners increasingly pick natural sugars, earthy flavours and organic ingredients over less healthy options.

Cuisines that strike the perfect balance between earthy, exotic and botanical flavours will satisfy diners’ appetite for innovation and healthy meals while tickling their taste buds.

Flavour is like an art that can always be experimented with to enhance the chemistry of ingredients to create hearty masterpieces. But there are these four trends that will dominate the food scene in 2019.

Authentic flavours will rule the table  
Consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with flavours and ingredients that used to star in traditional dishes. This trend is underpinned by consumers’ desire for traditional, authentic and crafted taste experiences.  Those often-forgotten tiny grains like Ragi, Jowar and Bajra will be in limelight in 2019.
One of the standout examples is the use of millets. Once thought of as a poor man’s grain, millets have surfaced as a hip ingredient served in style in some of the finest restaurants. Considering the extensive varieties of millets we get in India, and their usefulness, the scope to modernise is vast; particularly exciting for modern-era chefs, as this would give them a chance to curate their own special dishes under the millet-menu category.

Spices not garam masalas
2019 will see significant growth in demand for spice mixes made using natural techniques. Brands that offer consumers a combination of organic sourcing and traditional pounding techniques will gain more popularity this year.

Spices are known to be the heartbeat of any household Indian kitchen. Each region in the country adds a sprinkling of its secret mix of local spices to cooking pots to enhance flavours and accentuate the colours of the dishes. Traditional spice mixes like Ras El Hanout found in varying forms in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, the chas from Maharashtra will make their presence felt on menus in different preparations.

Restaurants today have started using authentic spices such as cloves, cardamom, black pepper and cumin to give their customers the true taste of Indian food. Spice blends other than the garam masalas will take the lead as they are an easy way to introduce diners to new international cuisines in an approachable way, while allowing chefs to experiment with personalising classic blends to reflect their vision and interpretation.

Not so sweet will be hot this year Top of Form Bottom of Form
Consumers today are finding a good balance between their indulgent choices and healthy, better-for-you options. Consumption of natural sugar will reign supreme, a lot of restaurants are now using healthier alternatives to refined sugar like jaggery powder, raw sugar. These alternatives are obtained using traditional techniques and in small batches to preserve flavour and goodness of the ingredients which adds to their nutrition value.

Jaggery helps detoxify the body, boosts immunity, aids weight loss and has rich iron content. Organic brown sugar is processed in a completely natural way to maintain as much of the sugarcane's natural nutrition as possible, including vitamins and minerals. It has a caramel flavour and you can use this brown sugar to sweeten various hot beverages, or flavour desserts like candies, cakes and other bakery items.

Some restaurants are also adopting coconut or palm sugar which is a sweetener that is extracted from the sap present in the flower buds of the coconut palm tree. It is known as a natural sugar because it involves minimum processing and no chemicals are used.
Power to the plants

Plant based eating has always been a trend in India, it has been the Indian way.

Much of the world is trending towards plant-based eating — and this global shift could be here to stay. Restaurants today do not want plant-based foods to be an afterthought rather a category that appeals to a more mainstream audience.

The year 2018 has seen a major shift from junk food to more healthy and nutritious food. The year 2019 will see restaurants using more and more raw ingredients as they add to the nutrition quotient of the whole dish. Utilising the botanical ingredients in food is one of the most natural ways to boost the nutritional value and richness of recipes. This trend is tipped to be increasingly popular with a rise in fresh, natural and farm-to-table ingredients.

This trend is only set to accelerate with more and more spirits, tonics and mixers introduced with these interesting and premium sounding blends, encouraging consumers to experiment with food and drink and indulge in new and better taste experiences.

(The writer is GM [corporate], food and beverage, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd.)
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