peeled vkind

Peeled: America’s First Vegan Cooking Contest

Being produced by vKind, the ‘Peeled’ will be streamed worldwide on Unchained TV in July-August & will witness 3 participants vying for the ‘Hottest Vegan Chef’ title

The US is all set to witness its first ever all-vegan cooking competition named ‘Peeled’.  The creators have already finalised four contestants: Chef Jaena Moynihan is now being trained for a board-certified Health and Wellness Coach (Spring 2023). Chef Nocile Derseweh is a personal chef for Hollywood’s health-conscious celebrities. Ched Donal Lemperle has three decades of experience in restaurant industry. Chef Sandra Hurtault is a renowned baker.

The ‘Peeled’ will be hosted by Chef Babette (vegan and raw food chef for over 25 years) and Dr. Shabnam Islam (first generation Bangladeshi-American vegan). The participants will be judged by Chef Chris Tucker (a Southern baker with a French twist), Chef Josie Clemens (vegan baker and celebrity chef), Dr. Miles Woodruff (CEO of Sophie’s Kitchen) and Elysabeth Alfano (media personality, producer and host).

The competition has been created by taking inspiration from other major cooking contests like MasterChef. However, it serves as a perfect platform for vegetarians and vegans to display their culinary arts. The series will be filmed on location at Las Vegas Culinary in Arts District. In the first episode, to be shot at Chef Kenny’s Dim Sum, the contestants will share their stories, taste tell Chef Kenny’s vegan dim sums and solve a trivia of questions.

In episodes two to four, to be filmed at Vegas Vegan Culinary School, they will fight to win $1000 to benefit a charity of their choice and named the Hottest Vegan Chef. The chefs will be given a secret crate to prepare a three-course dinner.

To be aired worldwide on Unchained TV in July-August this year, the contest is being hosted up vKind, an online resource website and mobile listing app. The TV can be accessed through Apple TV, Amazon fire, IOS, Android, Roku and internet.

sleepy owl noto coffee

NOTO, Sleepy Owl Create Low Calorie Limited Edition Ice-cream

The Chocolate Coffee Fudgsicle ice-cream has only 98 calories & is free from added sugar, colours, flavours and preservatives

Healthy, low-calorie ice-cream brand NOTO and packaged coffee brand Sleepy Owl jointly created a limited edition ice-cream – Chocolate Coffee Fudgsicle.  The creamy, caffeinated and chocolatey ice-cream has no added sugar, preservatives, flavours or colours and has only 98 calories.

The companies collaborated to offer this ‘fudgsicle’ as a summer treat to their customers. The limited edition ice-cream comes with a price tag of Rs 105 annd can be ordered on, Swiggy and Zomato in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore cities.

In a statement, Sleepy Owl Coffee Co-Founder Arman Sood said: “This collaboration with NOTO has given coffee an innovative boost to excel beyond what anyone would’ve imagined. And we’re more than excited to see what this could mean for coffee and the future."

NOTO Co-Founder and Director Ashni Shah informed that they are delighted to have collaborated with Sleepy Owl for the new limited edition Chocolate Coffee Fudgsicle. “This is our first-ever co-branded product and we couldn’t have asked for a better combination. Ice-cream and coffee are two things our entire team is passionate about, and that is reflected in the product we’ve created. Just in time for the season and perfect for our audience to indulge in guilt-free. We are very excited and look forward to a great response.”


Samosa Party Enters Hyderabad Market

samosa party menu
Snacks & desserts from Samosa Party

Quick Service Restaurant snacking brand Samosa Party launched 15 outlets in Hyderabad. The brand already has stores in 35 locations including Delhi NCR and Bengaluru. With the latest additions, its store count went up to 50 locations and the company is looking forward to enter the Chennai market, too, in near future.

Bengaluru-based Samosa Party delivers 15 varieties of freshly-made delicious samosas at the doorsteps of consumers, along with freshly-brewed teas, other snacks and desserts. Co-founded by Amit Nanwani and Diksha Pande, the brand raised $2 million in pre series-A funding round backed by Kalaari Capital in December 2021.

australian pm khichdi

IndAus ECTA to Benefit Indian Chefs, Yoga Trainers

The IndAus ECTA deal enables 1,800 qualified Indian professional chefs and yoga trainers to work in Australia as Contractual Service Suppliers, annually

Last week, India and Australia signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA), which would offer good employment opportunities for skilled professionals like chefs and yoga trainers. The agreement was signed by Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Australian Minister for Trade Dan Tehan, in a virtual ceremony.

The IndAus ECTA is expected to generate more than 10 lakh jobs in India by boosting the bilateral trade in goods and services from $27 billion to $45-50 billion in the next five years. It will give lower duty access on Australian wines, almonds, lentils and certain fruits, besides 85% zero-duty access of Australia’s exports to the Indian market including coals, wool and meat, said a PTI report.

Under the IndAus ECTA, Australia will grant an annual quota of 1,800 qualified professional Indian traditional chefs and yoga trainers entering the country as Contractual Service Suppliers, provided they meet the eligibility conditions. They will get temporary entry permit and stay for up to four years, with possibility of extension.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morisson celebrated the IndAus ECTA by cooking India’s favourite dish Khichdi. He took to social media and posted pictures of him making Khichdi. In his post, Morisson said: “To celebrate our new trade agreement with India, the curries I chose to cook for curry night tonight are all from my dear friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujurat province, including his favourite Khichdi. Jen, girls and mum all approve. ” Indian PM Modi reacted to this post saying “delicious”.

ghee cow istock

Gau Ghrita: An Elixir of Life

Ayurveda has consistently for thousands of years promoted the use of gau ghrita (cow ghee) according to individual needs and their ability to digest it for a variety of reasons

The concept of fat and oil is widely misunderstood in today's society. While sneha includes all substances that are fatty or oily, it is a common misconception that they are simply heavy and harmful to the body. Our bodies have specific requirements for fats and oils to grow and flourish smoothly.

Scientific concepts of anatomy and physiology confirm that our 100 trillion human cells in each body depend on a lipid (fat) double-layer that protects the cell and its functions. The evidence for the importance of this bilayer is clearly seen in diseases where it is damaged or worn away. The insulation of brain cells by glial cells depends on the fatty insulation material provided. Brown fat is the good fat in our body that helps us preserve body temperature, especially in cold weather. Despite abundant medical knowledge about the importance of fat in our body and the need to consume fats in order to save the liver from having to divert from its other functions, there is still a misperception that eating fats and oils are unhealthy.

The categorical disdain for such an essential nutrient -- mostly due to advertising and commercial agendas -- has resulted in society excluding this most basic nutrient from our diet. Sneha includes not only the anatomic fat covering the vital organs but also the lubrication of our life force, the essence of our living. It is commonly defined as having oiliness, unctuousness, fattiness, greasiness, lubricity, and viscidity. But the Sanskrit language provides profound connections and deeper wisdom for human life.

Sneha also connotes smoothness, glossiness, tenderness, affection, or kindness, as discussed in Ayurveda in relation to the body. Unlike refined oils and fats, it nourishes all four levels of our continuum of Being: body, senses, mind, and soul. Sneha is also one of the 24 gua-s of the vaiśeika philosophy, a branch of nyāya- and the study of logic.

Ayurveda reminds us that all body constitutions require sneha for lubrication and stability. An individual's Prakriti is formed at the time of development of the fetus and remains constant from birth to death, but during the lifetime, different functions, seasons, and illnesses can cause changes in the amount and the way fats and oils are used by the body. Thus, Sneha must be one of the essential in a nutritious diet. The quantity and type vary according to the environment, but the fad for the past 50 years of full exclusion of essential fats results in depletion and deleterious effects on human physiology.

Knowing this, Ayurveda detailed knowledge about sneha and distinguished four varieties, ghrita (ghee), taila (oil), vasa(fat), and majja (bone marrow), the best of which is Ghrita. Ghee, or the Sanskrit term ghrita, is clarified cow butter made from cultured yogurt derived from pure cow milk. Gaughrita is the technical complete term.

South Indian vegetarian food
South Indian vegetarian food is incomplete without ghee

When an eater sees ghee on the plate nowadays, he quickly avoids it in the name of excess oil, fat increasing, and heavy food. For a half-century, we have been reminded by modern sciences that foods high in saturated fat, such as ghee, are blamed for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, and metabolic disorders. Only recently has the positive role of fats in the diet been explored by scientists.

In contrast, Ayurveda has consistently for thousands of years promoted the use of gau ghrita according to individual needs and their ability to digest it for a variety of reasons.

The Ghrita

Ghrita is one of India's most popular traditional dairy products. It has been used for religious rites, cooking, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes since the Vedic era tens of thousands of years ago, and it can be used both externally as lepa (poultice/skin cream) or tarpana (moisturizer/rehydrator) and internally as medicinal food or small-dosed drink.

When made properly from pasture-raised, whole and happy, mother cow milk to curd to butter to ghee, ghee has a unique property of effectively assimilating the properties of any ingredients added to it without losing its own inherent properties of cooling and oleating. Ayurveda also describes eight different types of medicinal ghrita made from the milk of eight different animals. Of them, ghrita made from cow's milk is known as gau ghrita and is regarded as the best.

Making Ghee

Many research studies show that the exact composition of ghrita varies, depending on the method of preparation. Commercially produced ghrita contains more saturated fatty acids than traditionally-produced ghrita. The indigenous traditional method has two sub-types.

making of cow ghee
Traditional ghee contributes less to pathologic cholesterol production and is easier to digest

In the first traditional method, cow milk is freshly harvested, soft-boiled on low heat, and then cooled. A teaspoon of yogurt (curd) is added and mixed well into the slightly warm milk and set to curdle in a warm setting. Once solidified fully, it is then churned to extract the butter, which floats to the top, leaving a yellow-green translucent liquid known as buttermilk. Ghee is made by heating the extracted butter.

In the second traditional method, cow milk is again freshly harvested, soft-boiled on low heat, and then cooled. When the cream hardens and floats on the top, it is removed carefully, collected and churned to extract the fat immediately. One day before making ghee, the extracted fat is then fermented with a tablespoon of curd. The fermented butter is heated the next day to make ghee.

Commercial methods simply collect the cream from milk using chemical processes, heat it to extract fat, add tomato seeds to give a yellow color, and prepare ghee from the clarified portion.

The fermentation process in the first traditional method seeks to prepare medicinal ghee, fermenting the milk to curd first, then churning to prepare fresh butter and then ghee. The second method is a time-saving recipe for food-grade, non-medicinal ghee, collecting the milk cream over several days then fermenting just a day prior to making ghee.

Ghee made through the fermentation process has a lower kapha and thus avoids prameha, urinary disorders that precede diabetes mellitus. As a result, traditional ghee contributes less to pathologic cholesterol production and is easier and lighter to digest. Butter, especially old butter that has later been clarified, is more difficult to digest.

Kareena to Endorse FMCG Brand TOPS

Bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor roped in as brand ambassador for FMCG brand TOPS, which recently released a new & exotic range of pickles and sauces

FMCG brand TOPS recently roped in Bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor as its brand ambassador. The actress already did a promotional video for the brand wherein she is seen promoting its pickles and sauces.

TOPS recently launched a new and exotic range of pickles and sauces (available in culinary, specialty and snacks categories), thus taking its product range to 51. Highlighting this achievement, Kareena’s promotional campaign ends with the punch line “Ab Poore 51 Flavours Mein”. The ad will soon be aired on various visual mediums.

With this move, TOPS aims to strengthen its reach and connect with customers across markets. In a recent survey taken up in tier-1 and 2 cities, the brand found out that people look for ‘variety’ and ‘convenience’ in their options, before making a particular purchase decision, while not compromising on ‘taste’ and ‘trust’.

Announcing the partnership, TOPS Vice–Chairman Dr. Nitin Seth felt that the association with Kareena comes at a time when the brand is at the cusp of launching a new range of pickles and sauces. “Kareena Kapoor is a personification of exuberance and resoluteness, virtues that resonate well with the values exhibited by TOPS for its range of pickles and sauces. TOPS pickles have been a huge hit with the consumers, and it is the ‘taste that lingers’ that has helped the brand to transcend boundaries & become a globally cherished brand. The brand is adding exotic variants to its already existing range, which have been curated to cater to various regional tastes and preferences of consumers. Varieties like Dela, Mushroom & Karela are a few cases in point that are sure to tickle everyone’s senses and provide the much-needed satiating effect to every meal,” he added.

On the occasion, Kareena said that she is “really happy to be associated with TOPS as it is one of my favourite brands”.

TOPS, owned by New Delhi-based GD Foods Manufacturing India Private Limited, produces various essential commodities including tomato ketchup, jams, instant mixes, corn flakes, noodles and custard powder, corn flour and drinking chocolate. Set up in 1984, the company exports its products to 25 countries across the world and aims to feature amongst the top 10 food processing company in India by 2025 and the world by 2030.

hesa suhas

Hesa Launches Kitchen Essentials Brand SUHAS

Under SUHAS, Hesa offers lentils, pulses, grains, spices and masala powders – sourced directly from farmers; they’ll be available in south Indian market in the next 12-18 months

One of India’s largest rural digital platforms, Hesa recently launched its own household consumer brand – SUHAS. The new brand offers a variety of kitchen essentials like lentils, pulses, grains, spices and masala powders, sourced directly from farmers. The products will soon be on sale on its website or in local kirana stores. They will be made available in the south Indian market in the next 12-18 months followed by other parts of India.

The company made a statement to this effect on social media: “Presenting SUHAS by Hesa, our new range of premium-quality and affordable culinary essentials including pulses, ready-to-mix masalas and ground spices sourced directly from farmers! Packed with nutrition and delectable flavours – it’ll be your new partner in the kitchen as you prepare healthy and tasty meals for your family!”

hesa rural
Women SHG members at a cold pressed groundnut oil extraction unit set up by Hesa

On the occasion, its Founder-CEO Vamsi Udayagiri said, “Working in rural India for more than a decade, we discovered the consumer need for quality and affordable spices. With Suhas going forward we plan to directly procure produce from Farmers Interest Groups (FIGs), Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), and other agri groups in the future. The idea is to elevate the earning potential of the farmers without any additional cost. Hesa aims to bolster its commitment of empowering rural India by addressing the challenges of branding and market access through SUHAS.”

Hyderabad-based Hesa is a one-stop solution for corporates, SMEs, banks, government and NGOs who wish to access rural India for buy-sell propositions including social responsibilities and branding. The fin tech has over 17 lakh customers and is supported by over 30,000 Hesaathis – who help the rural customers buy or sell their products, avail banking & financing facilities, pay utility bills and explore employment opportunities.

The B2B digital platform aims to phygitally (physical+digital) connect over 6,50,000 villages across India and grow as India’s largest integrated marketplace that enables ease of commerce.


Master Chef Competition to Promote AYUSH Ethos for Food

All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) Announces Master Chef Competition to Promote AYUSH Ethos for Food to be held in Gandhinagar on April 22. The last date for filling the form is 10th April 2022. 

In line with the Central Government’s initiative to support AYUSH mission, the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in association with the National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN), Pune and the Central Council for Research in Naturopathy, has launched ‘Master Chef Competition' in the run up to the Global AYUSH Investment Summit, which will be held from 20-22 April, 2022, at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

The objective of this competition is to reinvent and promote AYUSH ethos for food. It aims to provide an international platform to showcase the diverse and inclusive culture and heritage of Indian foods.

Under the theme ‘Ahara for Poshan’, the Master Chef Competition has six entry categories for participation- Cereal-based preparations, Millets-based preparations, Nuts/Pulses-based preparations, Fruits/Vegetable-based preparations, Dairy product-based preparations and Fusion. The competition is open for all above the age of 18 years and registration can be done for free by filling a Google form and uploading one recipe video of 5-7 minutes duration. The video should mention the recipe’s method of preparation and its health benefits and can be recorded in either English or Hindi. Only one entry per candidate is allowed and in case of any conflict of interest, the candidate will not be allowed to participate in the competition.

The competition requires recipes to be aligned with the dietary principles of AYUSH streams and should be prepared from natural ingredients sans any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives

After the screening round, five candidates will be shortlisted in each category, and all shortlisted participants must give consent to be present physically in the final round. The shortlisted candidates will participate physically in the final round that will be held on the day of the Global Summit at Gandhinagar. There will be three winners in each of the six categories with a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh for the winner and Rs. 75,000 for the first runner-up and Rs 50,000 for the second runner-up. Overall, there would be 18 winners.

founder-ceo sonal

White Cub: A ‘Conscious’ Brand for Ethical Foodies

“Through White Cub, we want to educate people about veganism, plant-based diets and conscious lifestyle. We’re also working on making plant-based foods more accessible to the masses in India, with a view to reduce carbon footprint” – Sonal, Vegan Activist & Founder-CEO of White Cub

About a decade ago, when Sonal was busy experimenting with ingredients to create dairy-free ice-creams, little did she know that her brand would soon become a favourite for vegans and ice-cream-lovers. What started as a thought, following her son’s inquiry about vegan ice-creams in India, prompted this vegan activist to turn into an entrepreneur and launch her own brand of ice-creams in 2013 – White Cub.

A lot of research went into bringing out the frozen desserts, besides feedback from Sonal’s friends, fellow vegans and health-conscious people. “Initially, we opened our own ice-cream parlour with minimal packaging and started delivering the products to our customers directly. Ingredient procurements, recipe trials, smaller machines and then bigger plant purchase – everything followed in the next one year,” recalled Sonal, in an interview with AYUVE.

Over the years, White Cub expanded its portfolio by not only offering delicious vegan ice-creams, but also producing other dairy alternatives like vegan butter, vegan curd (soy-coconut curd), fruit yogurt (berry), nuts and hazelnut-chocolate spread. In a nutshell, it has become a one-stop destination for the lactose intolerant and people, who look for dairy-free, healthy, plant-based dessert options.

Today, the brand offers more than 20 ice-cream flavours (available in 200ml, 500ml and 1 litre packs) in various categories including premium, exotic, sugar-free and popsicles. Of these, Banarasi Paan, Chocobar and Butterscotch are its bestsellers. “Soon, we’re planning to create dairy-free milk using an enzyme digestion process and a dairy-free mozzarella cheese using a rennet alternative. We’ll soon launch sprinkler parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and milk,” she revealed.

When inquired about the consumer base, Sonal said that they do have a loyal customer base. They have vegans, people following plant-based diet, looking for dairy-free alternatives – without compromising on their ethics, nutrition and taste. “We also have consumers who opt for our products due to their consciousness towards health, environment and animals. Their love and support have helped us grow and expand our product portfolio, over the years.”

With more people willing to try dairy alternatives, plant-based diets and sustainable products, the demand for vegan food in India is increasing by the day. “It was totally a different scenario when we entered the market. But today, consumers have more options to choose from. We are saving their day by satiating their taste buds and catering to their needs,” she added.

At a time when more brands are entering the conscious food segment, how is White Cub planning to sustain the competition? “Unlike other brands, which are mostly newcomers, we have been present in the market since 2013 – when veganism and plant-based diets were still relatively a new concept in India. We understand the Indian vegan market like no others. We are a D2C brand with an omni-channel presence across India. This is why we frequently come up with more dairy-free options and flavours to cater to the consumers’ tastes and needs,” Sonal quipped.

White Cub has an in-house R&D team consisting of food technologists. It also has an in-house manufacturing facility where they follow “industry standard procedures to make healthy dairy-free products”.

Right now, White Cub ice-cream is available at retail outlets in major cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gurugram and Coimbatore. The products can also be ordered on the brand’s own website or other e-commerce stores like Nature Basket and Big Basket.

founder sonal
Sonal, Vegan Activist & Founder-CEO of White Cub

“We’re also planning to expand our delivery operations in other metro cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata, besides opening retail outlets in tier-2 cities like Indore, Surat, Ahmedabad and Dehradun. I want White Cub to grow into a global brand for vegan ice-creams and dairy-free products. As part of it, we will soon raise the first round of capital funds from our investors and enter the global market,” Sonal informed.

For her, White Cub is more of a ‘conscious’ brand set up for ethical foodies. Through this, she wants to educate people about veganism, plant-based food and conscious lifestyle – since animal-derived food is unhealthy in long-term and also impacts the environment.

“Today, White Cub is associated with plant-based celebrities like nutritionist-food scientist Nidhi Mohan Kamal. We envision a planet where people, animals and nature co-exist harmoniously. We aim to create a future where eating healthy, plant-based foods becomes a norm in India; where animals are given the respect they deserve and not exploited for food. We’re also working on making plant-based foods accessible to the masses in India, with a view to reduce carbon footprint,” Sonal signed off.

Allana group

Allana Group Forays into Domestic Coffee Market

The Karnataka-based Group exports all grades of coffees like washed & unwashed Monsooned Coffees, Robustas and Arabicas

One of India’s largest exporters of processed food and agro commodities, Allana Group is all set to foray into domestic coffee market, to meet the ever-growing demand for the brewed beverage. As part of it, the company will set up a state-of-the-art roast and ground facility in Karnataka and distribute its products pan-India. It will also invest in roaster and instant coffee machines, with a view to cater to cafes and industrial customers.

The Group diversified into coffee exports in 1982 by setting up a Coffee Division in Bengaluru. Since then, it has been exporting all international grades of washed and unwashed Monsooned Coffees, Robustas and Arabicas, thus catering to all types of customers – specialty, commercial or single estate coffee – particularly in Europe.

In 1992, the company opened its own coffee curing unit at Hassan in Karnataka and also set up an in-house cup-tasting facility. It has been conferred with many awards like the APEDA Trophy for Excellence in Exports constituted by the Government of India.

According to its Business Head-Coffee MP Devaiah, Allana has been at the forefront of the green bean coffee business in India. “Our strong network in sourcing the finest beans as well as our in-house quality control differentiates and brings out the uniqueness in our coffee. Our introduction into the domestic market will aim to cater to true coffee aficionados and deliver a premium experience.”

A sixth-generation member of the Allana Group promoter family, Asim Allana said, “Coffee over the years has become a mainstream consumer drink, especially amongst the vibrant young generation in India. Our foray into the domestic coffee market is our commitment to providing one of the highest grades of coffee to our consumers.Being a veteran player in the industry, our extensive experience and expertise in the food business along with our world-class infrastructure, we aim to create a superior and healthy domestic coffee market in India.”

Besides coffee, the company exports fruits & vegetables, meats, FMCG (edible oils, premium ice-creams and bakery ingredients), agro commodities (spices, oil seeds, pulses and cereals) and pet foods.

rebel foods smoor

Rebel Foods Acquires SMOOR Chocolates

The $25 million-deal will help the luxe chocolate brand to set up its own stores in 9 major cities across India and strengthen its omni-channel presence

Multi-brand cloud kitchen company Rebel Foods Pvt Ltd acquired a majority stake in luxury chocolate brand SMOOR. The deal valued SMOOR at $25 million and it is looking forward to growing three-fold in 2022-23. It is also planning to set up own physical stores in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Gurugram, Noida and Faridabad, besides strengthening its fast-growing omni-channel presence.

rebel foods smoor
Founders of Rebel Foods & SMOOR celebrating the acquisition

Set up in 2015, Bengaluru-based SMOOR is renowned for its couverture chocolates and finely-crafted desserts. The premium range of signature cakes, chocolates, macarons, baked products, gift hampers, beverages and desserts offered by this luxe brand are available in Signature Lounges, cafes, kiosks (in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Chennai currently), its own websites and other e-commerce aggregators like Amazon and Flipkart.

On the occasion, SMOOR Director-CEO Vimal Sharma said, “SMOOR has been growing at a scorching space While our early years were spent building the premium chocolate market, the last two years have been about growing. With a 140% growth last year & plans to grow 3x this year, we were looking for a strategic partner who would enable this scale up. In Rebel Foods, we found the perfect match. Our range fitted like a glove in their portfolio. Their cloud kitchen network & ability to grow F&B businesses was exactly what we need.”

Rebel Foods Co-Founder Raghav Joshi said, “This investment gives us further confidence that we have been able to consistently choose outstanding brands. Being an early adopter of the Thrasio model in food in India, we have disrupted 500 years old industry of the traditional restaurant business, by building a full-stack technology-enabled platform - Rebel Operating System. Our focus will continue to be on bringing great quality brands to every neighbourhood across food missions.”

Through its ‘Rebel Launcher’ programme, Rebel Foods is planning to bring onboard 40-50 food brands across categories like north and south Indian cuisines, Indian sweets and sandwiches in India this year. It is also intending to take its brands to its 10-country footprint – Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, the UAE and the UK.

Founded in 2011, this Mumbai-based Thrasio-style internet restaurant company presently operates over 25 own brands like Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Ovenstory Pizza, Slay Coffee, Wendy’s Mandarin Oak, Sweet Trut, Mad Over Donuts and Holy Cow Curry Sauces (the UK). With a network of 4000-plus restaurants in 450 kitchens spread in more than 60 cities in 10 countries, Rebel Foods is serving more than 2 million customers now.

vegan way protein powder

Supercluster Pi Creates Vegan Protein Powder

Made from pea, brown rice & other superfoods, a sachet of Vegan Way protein powder offers 33g of protein per serving

Coimbatore-based Supercluster Pi (House of Brands) is all set to launch the first-of-its-kind plant-based protein powder under its own brand – Vegan Way – in May. The pre-sale of the powder is already underway. The vegan protein powder is made from pea, brown rice and other superfoods like moringa, amla, papaya, curcumin, green tea, aloevera, cumin, etc. While pea protein contains more protein & iron and fewer carbs, brown rice protein is rich in magnesium and is hypoallergenic.

The vegan protein powder is currently available in café mocha flavour and naturally sweetened with Stevia. The brand will bring out more flavours in future. Vegan Way is rich in amino acids and fibre; hence, easily digestible. The ingredients used are non-GMO, sustainably sourced, have no cholesterol or fat content, no artificial colours or flavours.

protein powder
Vegan Way protein powder (Cafe Mocha flavour)

Vegan Way is believed to solve protein deficiency, observed in 80% of Indians in the age group of 3-55 years, by offering 33g of protein per serving. As per the recommended dietary allowance, an average adult needs 50-60g of protein per day or 0.8-1.0 g per kg of body weight. The vegan protein powder can be consumed by mixing it with water or plant-based milk, blending with favourite smoothies or popping it as a substitute for any flour in the batter of cookies or other baked products.

Supercluster Pi claims that Vegan Way is a good alternative for people who are lactose intolerant or are following vegan diet. Its unique formula consists of multi-green blend (spinach, alfalfa, barley grass, moringa, chlorella and amla extract), digestive blend (Bromelain, Papain and Himalayan Pink salt), antioxidant blend (curcumin, green tea and grape seed extracts) and weight management blend (black cumin, guggul, cumin seeds, aloevera extract and malabar tamarind). These ingredients help get rid of radicals in body, fight obesity, support a healthy body mass index and also build body muscle.

As part of pre-sale offer, first-timers can get 50% discount on the product with additional 20% off on purchase value of over Rs 1299. Vegan Way can also be ordered on e-commerce sites like Amazon, 1MG, Flipkart and Meesho.

moringa vegetable with fresh leaves

Where Did You Put Your Drumsticks?

Moringa, known as drumsticks in the kitchen and shigru in the pharmacy, is one of the superfoods of today's planet. In fact, national armies stock moringa powder in the emergency kits of their soldiers so that in lack of food provisions, they can eat moringa powder and survive for days

Moringa is packed with good stuff that has been used by almost every culture and civilization from ancient India to present day. Because it is a fast-growing, drought-resistant deciduous tree in the Brassica plant order that grows on a wide range of soil conditions, it is often available and widely cultivated in dry or tropical regions, either for its long slender seed-pods that look like drumsticks with their triangular ends, or for the tasty roots.

Traditionally, moringa is known as shigru in Sanskrit, drumstick in English, sajne-data in Bengali, saijan in Hindi. Its modern name moringa comes from the ancient Tamil language, with murungai meaning twisted pod of the young growing fruit. Most Indian regional languages have a term for the 10-12 meter (32-40 foot) tree, as it is native to India and is found in most every state and geoclimate. India produces 1.2 million tonnes of fruits annually. It is generally available throughout the year in the tropical farmers vegetable markets, either as flower, leaf, stalk, or fruit and is taken home by millions of families daily. Its value is so great that the National Medicinal Plant Board of the Government of India and each state office will promote farming of the plant wherever it can grow.

In modern botanical language, shigru is known as Moringa oleifera because of its immensely valuable seed oil. Traditionally, many of the parts of the moringa plant are used: the mature five-petaled yellow-white flower, the tripinnate leaves, the stalk, a woody corky whitish-grey bark of the trunk, fruit, the immature seed pods called drumsticks, the mature seeds from which oil is pressed, and endocarp or stone/pit of the fruit.

In the kitchen the drumstick is used to prepare dals and the ever-popular south Indian staple food, sambar, in which each bowl has 2-3" long stalks called drumsticks. These are gleefully chewed until only the long, thin, hard fiber remains to be discarded.

moringa leaves drumstick
Moringa powder is stocked by soldiers in Armies so they can eat the powder and survive for days, in case of an emergency

Ancient medical texts are replete with references to shigru. From the Rig Veda and the Puranas to the Artha-shastra, to ayurvedic recent texts such as the Bhavaprakasha 1000 years ago, that discuss the forest pharmacy, references to shigru and its use in medicinal formulations are found.

In medical conditions, such as hemorrhoids or piles, known as arshas in Sanskrit, the leaf of shigru is used as oral treatment. For visarpa, a type of skin disorder, the bark of the trunk and the oil of the moringa seed is used. For a variety of vision problems, the pounded, expressed juice from the fresh leaf is mixed with honey and applied on the eyes. For headache, the bark of the trunk is combined with old jaggery and taken. For children's worm infestations (krimi roga), especially pinworms in the rectum, the bark of the trunk is combined with vidanga powder and eaten. Due to its strong antimicrobial action, it is also used for natural water purification.

In the spring, when the basanta rogas arise, escalating when the cold weather changes to warm in the spring, diseases such as chickenpox increase, and a stir-fry of shigru flowers are prescribed for consumption. For dental gum ailments, especially gum bleeding, gum swelling or recession, use of shigru leaves boiled in water to make shigru decoction is used as a kevala-gandoosha/mouthwash. The wood bark of shigru is used for toothaches and gingival infection.

The oil of the moringa/shigru seed is commonly effective when used as a massage for arthritic joints. One common medicinal formulation in shigru guggulu, touted for its ability to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain quickly. It is prepared from the stem bark of shigru, along with the resin of guggulu. Shigru targets key enzymes that facilitate the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the joints to help suppress inflammation and pain. The antioxidant phytoconstituents present in shigru alleviate gouty inflammation of the joint by inhibiting the key enzyme that is involved in excessive uric acid production.

If a person wants to strengthen their circulatory system, daily intake of the juice expressed from young shigru leaves is to be drunk. High blood pressure is also normalized gradually over time. For tinea infections, the bark of the trunk is used, but daily use is prohibited.

For injuries on the limbs or fingers, emergency use of shigru is available by mixing fresh ginger paste with the paste of the bark of the shigru trunk and applied to the injured area.

In trying to understand the modern scientific basis of shigru's amazing variety of medicinal applications, chemical analysis shows that shigru has abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, beta-carotene, folic acid, pyridoxine, and  vitamins B, C, D, E. Shigru also contains many tannins, flavonoids, saponins, alkaloids as well as phytochemicals such as glucosinolates and isothiocyanates that are highly effective in preventing or reducing the risk of cancer induced by carcinogens.

While shigru is celebrated for its role as a vegetable in food kitchens as the famous drumstick expounded for its aromatic taste, it also holds abundant respect in the medicinal plant world for its many properties and already-documented uses for thousands of years.

Ayurveda often uses such powerful herbs as both medicines and kitchen foods side by side.  It emphasizes the gunas in each of our earth's products, whichever part of the plant it may be, and declares that every combination of guna in a part of nature must have a counterpart imbalance for which it is a key to unlock healing and restore balance.

varun dhawan

Varun Dhawan Invests in Curefoods

Varun Dhawan will also be the brand ambassador for EatFit - a multiple-brand food ordering platform from Curefoods

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan made an undisclosed investment in cloud kitchen company Curefoods. He will also be the brand ambassador for EatFit, one of the house brands of Curefoods. Henceforth, the actor will be seen advocating healthy eating habits through the company’s promotional campaigns. Last year, he invested in nutrition brand Fast&Up.

Curefoods operates various brands like Frozen Bottle, CakeZone, Paratha Box, Aligarh House, Great Indian Khichdi, Chaat Street, Iceberg Organic Ice-creams, Canteen Central, Nomad Pizza, Yumlane and Olio Pizzeria, to name a few. It runs the multiple-brand D2C (direct-to-customer) food ordering platform which, the company claims, plays a vital role in inculcating sustainable food ordering habits by offering subscription options – like weekly and monthly meal plans – for healthy food brands.

On the occasion, Curefoods Founder-CEO Ankit Nagori said: “Having Varun Dhawan as an investor adds another level to our association with him. His belief in our capabilities and vision really encourages us further to scale greater heights. We are excited to have him on board right around the time of our D2C platform launch and hope that we can make greater headway in the industry together.”

Varun Dhawan said that he resonates with Curefoods and EatFit’s mission to provide access to multiple food categories while featuring healthy options. “As such, I am beyond excited to endorse Ankit and his team as an investor and brand ambassador. I can’t wait to show the audience some of the great campaigns we have in the works.”

Set up in 2020, Curefoods recently acquired Frozen Bottle and the south Indian franchise rights of American pizza chain Sbarro. The company is planning to open 50 Sbarro outlets in the next three years. The company roped in actress Mithila Palkar as its brand ambassador for EatFit to promote multigrain pizzas.

In January this year, it raised $62 million in funding from Iron Pillar, Sixteenth Street Capital, Binny Bansal, Chiratae Ventures and Accel Partners. It has more than 150 cloud kitchens operating in 15 cities where 10 different dishes are offered to the consumers.

Kikkoman brand ambassador

Kikkoman’s Soy Sauce Recipes for India

Kikkoman Corporation is releasing recipes of 100 multiple cuisines, co-created by top Indian chefs, to spread awareness about how to use its soy sauce as everyday ingredient in Indian kitchens

After grabbing the headlines by distributing 10,000 free samples of its soy sauce among select restaurants and hospitality institutions across India, as part of its 'Kikkoman Honjozo Authentic Soy Sauce Experience' programme launched in October 2021, Kikkoman Corporation is back again with yet another feat. This time, it is all set to introduce recipes of 100 multiple cuisines to spread awareness about using its naturally-brewed soy sauce as everyday ingredient in Indian kitchens. The custom-made recipes will feature Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Continental, Italian, Mexican and Indian-Chinese dishes.

The Japanese company teamed up with top professional chefs in India for this purpose. It will initially release the recipes of 50 dishes, which can be accessed on Kikkoman India’s digital platform including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. In the first set of recipes, Kikkoman Corporation worked with its brand ambassadors Chef Vicky Ratnani (leading chef-restaurateur), Chef Seefah Ketchaiyo & Chef Karan (owners of Seefah restaurant in Mumbai) and Prashant Issar (owner of Ishaara in Mumbai). These dishes can be prepared easily by both home and professional chefs.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that the company came up with ‘localisation’ concept. In 1957, Kikkoman opened its subsidiary in San Francisco, USA and developed a range of local multiple recipes for Americans, with the help of local professional chefs. These recipes were laced as neck-hangers on its product bottles at retail stores. From these, cookbooks were compiled, too. This helped Kikkoman Soy Sauce become a popular everyday all-purpose seasoning in America. The company did a similar act in Europe, Asia and Oceania.

Chef Vicky Ratnani uses Kikkoman Soy Sauce not only in Japanese but also Indian and Western dishes. Commenting on the ‘100 multi-cuisine recipe’ concept, he said, “There are countless possibilities that the Kikkoman Soy Sauce offers, something that not many Indians know yet. The idea is to inspire and educate both professional and home chefs through the new recipes that I and many other chefs in India will create. In fact, I believe Kikkoman Soy Sauce will be a crucial ingredient in Indian kitchens in the near future.”

soy sauce kikkoman

Osamu Mogi, Director-Senior Executive Corporate Officer, International Operations Division, Kikkoman Corporation said: “Kikkoman has a deeply comprehensive vision for India, and these recipes are just the beginning of an exciting journey that forms part of the Kikkoman Honjozo Authentic Soy Sauce Experience. We believe the varied recipes prove how versatile our soy sauce actually is. With sincere respect for the long history and flourishing culture in India, we want Kikkoman Honjozo Soy Sauce to be a part of Indian food culture, not just ‘a foreign ingredient’. ‘Becoming a part of local food culture’ is our basic business philosophy.”

By localising the soy sauce through incorporating it in local cooking methods and ingredients, the company is planning to expand the traditional Japanese seasoning into a seasoning loved by people in India. “There will be regular regional meetings and an annual conference bringing together professional chefs and home chefs, industry leaders, government representatives, academics and media – both from Japan and India. We would like to see some great chemical reactions among the participants and the birth of new culinary innovations in India,” he added.

desi ghee

The Secret Gifts of Ghrita

The acharyas (wisemen) of Ayurveda deciphered life's complexities, tested their theories for validity, and then disseminated that verified knowledge in the Samhitas. For these renowned seers, cow ghee also known as ghrita and gaughrita (gau means cow) is their go-to or all-purpose remedy.


This celebrated title is due to many properties that make ghee unparalleled for the human body. Ghee is a vehicle that effectively and safely carries nutrients to the most remote crevices of our bodies and assists transfer into the tissues. This unique guna (quality) is termed sanskarsaya anuvartana; ghee retains the qualities of other medicinal components added to it during sneha paka (cooking or processing) without sacrificing its own properties. In practical terms, it means that we can add useful medicinal herbs to ghee and improve its characteristics by minor modification without changing its main actions. As a result, ghee is often used as a vehicle to reach parts of our bodies that the passenger -- in this case any added medicinal herb -- wants to go, including crossing the blood-brain barrier and getting into the brain.

organic ghee
Adding medicinal herbs will improve the characteristics of ghee by minor modification

Hard Worker:

Another name for ghrita is sahastra-karmakrita (Sanskrit, performing a hundred tasks), gifted to describe its distinct guna of sanskarsaya anuvartana adopting actions and traits of added components.


Ghrita can be given to anyone, at any time, in any situation. For each of the three doshas, various ghrita combinations are mentioned.

  1. Pitta dosha - ghrita alone
  2. Vata dosha - ghrita + saindhava lavana (cooking salts from Sindhi rocks)
  3. Kapha dosha - ghrita + vyosha also known as trikatu - shunthi + maricha + pippali [dry ginger + black pepper + long pepper]


Ghee is one of 4 classic oleaginous substances categorized as sneha -- ghrita, taila (oils especially sesame oil), vasa (muscle fat) and majja (bone marrow). Sneha is also divided into 2 categories based on use for internal application and for external application. These chatur-vidha sneha (4 wise oils) are jeevaniya (providing vitality), varnya (improving complexion), and bala (rendering stamina/strength). They balance the 3 doshas, vata, pitta, and Kapha.

According to Acharya Charaka, these four snehas are used in four ways:

  1. Paana-oral ingestion
  2. Abhyanga-external application
  3. Basti-enema
  4. Nasya-instillation in the nose

Gaughrita is described by Acharya Charaka as uttam sneha (the ultimate, the superior/best of the 4 snehas), and various health benefits are expounded in the classic texts, including its ability to improve strength and immunity.

According to Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Vagbhata, subtypes of these 4 uses include:

1a - bhojana - along with meals
2a - mastika - application on the head
2b - akshi tarpana - medicated sneha into the eyes
2c - gandoosha - gargling
2d - karnapoorana - ear-filling as lubricant and vata-reducer
3a - uttar basti - instillation of medicine into the urethra


The acharyas compare the qualities of ghrita to those of Ojas, the Ayurvedic concept of strength and vitality defining the optimal intersection of spiritual, mental, and physical health. Ojas denotes bodily strength, vigor, energy, ability, power, light, brightness, and lustre, as well as vitality and is often described as the principle of vital warmth and action throughout the body. This vital power of our bodies holds everything together. The Samhitas (ayurvedic treatises) state that Ojas is the last element that can be harmed in the body; if this occurs, the consequence is fatal. Ojas play a unique role as the summation of functioning of the body; without ojas, there is no life.

butter ghee
Ghee can be given to any one, at any time, in any situation


Scientific studies on ghrita, both plain and medicated, have found that medicated ghrita has impressive effects in gross behavioral tests, sleeping time, analgesic impact, and stimulatory effect on cognition. Furthermore, research examining the effect of ghrita on serum lipid levels revealed a dose-dependent reduction in total cholesterol and very-low-density lipoproteins. Ghrita has also been reported to have wound healing properties.

Ghrita promotes memory, intelligence, agni (digestive fire), semen, ojas, kapha, and medas; alleviates vata, pitta, poison, insanity, pulmonary tuberculosis, inauspicious feelings, and fever. It is the best of all fats. It possesses excellent tonic and invigorating properties. It is satmya (suitability or agreeability) for every person from their childhood. It is also used in both shodhana (purification or removing impurities) and Shamana (palliative care) treatment.

Despite these amazing properties, recent ignorance has villified ghee and prevented health seekers from finding authentic ghee as a healing aid. But those who are persistent eventually find the treasure trove that is ghee and unlock its gifts.