Mumbai: Microbiology students create trim almond truffle

Five-star expresses interest nutritional avatar of rich eats that Somaiya College students have created at the end of four years of research

Imagine biting into your favourite almond truffle and knowing you are offering your body much needed nutrition. Students of Microbiology (MSc I and II) at KJ Somaiya College of Science and Commerce in Vidyavihar have spent the last four years researching how they can make popular rich eats, healthy, in an ongoing project titled Functional Food Project.

Samidha Pawaskar, HOD, Biochemistry (left) and her students have researched the Functional Food Project for four years
Samidha Pawaskar, HOD, Biochemistry (left) and her students have researched the Functional Food Project for four years

The idea carries enough business potential for Vakola-based five-star Grand Hyatt to have expressed interest in stocking gluten-free yogurt and thandai on their regular menu. Their challenge was made tougher by the fact that they could use only natural products. Every batch since 2012 took the project one step ahead through laboratory tests and resulting observations.

This year, the project has finally yielded results and the product line includes almond truffle, multigrain dosa, paan booster thandai, sugar-free fruit jellies and chocolates, all to be made available for an sale at an upcoming store on campus and their college canteen.

"Since we became an autonomous institution in 2013, we have focused on application-based education. The project challenged the students, batch after batch, to come up with functional ready-to-cook packet food and ready-to-eat dishes," says Samidha Pawaskar, HOD, Biochemistry.

Vegetable roll
Vegetable roll

The students started by studying the resistance starch value of grains and stability of ingredients. Pawaskar says while theories are mastered in the classroom, it's the lab that allows for a testing ground.

The group has identified three categories of food eaters — working professionals, kids and seniors "We have not compromised on taste," Pawaskar assures, adding that the group is happy to take small orders too (foodprojects@somaiya.edu).

Sara Mukkadam, 21, was on the team that worked on the Masala Paan Booster. "For this thandai, we extracted juice from paan leaves, and added sabja (basil seeds), ice cream for energy, along with dry fruits high in Omega 3 fatty acids," she shares.

The menu also has something for lactose- and gluten-intolerant consumers. "We are making non-dairy yoghurt too made with live culture. One variety is made using pomegranate and strawberry, both good for the heart and great anti-oxidants," says Pawaskar.

The ready-to-cook dosa mix is made of multi-grains like soya bean, wheat, barley and moong. "We sprouted them and used their nutritional water. It's a great source of carbohydrate for diabetics," says student Sanjeevani More.

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