Shrijika Parikh Agrawal on why taking 15 hours to prepare chyawanprash is worth it

Updated: Aug 12, 2018, 12:42 IST | Anju Maskeri

Founder of The Mumma Secret, Shrijika Parikh Agrawal on putting in 15 hours to prepare chyawanprash, and why it's worth her time

Chyawanprash

As a child growing up in Indore, Shrijika Parikh Agrawal, would happily gobble up chyawanprash, a herbal jam, that her mother would feed her twice a day. "Most children dislike it, because of its grainy texture. Chyawanprash also has a bitter taste because of Ayurvedic herbs. But my mother's recipe somehow did not leave me crinkling my face," she says, adding that her mother, Jigyasa would spend 12 hours in its preparation. The fact that the herb-based formulation kept her healthy, made Agrawal an ardent loyalist.

Chyawanprash

"In 2014, when I had my baby, I thought of feeding chyawanprash to him. So, I scoured the market but all I could find was glossy packaged food items with artificial content — sugar, chemicals and preservatives. That's when I decided to make it myself," she says.A year ago and after multiple trials, she put her mother's recipe to use and launched The Mumma Secret, through which she sells jams, granolas, ketchup and chyawanprash made at home with natural ingredients. It takes Agrawal 12 hours and over 50 ingredients to prepare chyawanprash, her highest selling item. "Of course, it's tedious but the benefits outweigh the effort. It's also possible to make it at home the healthy way even with half the number of ingredients," she says.

All you need is amla, and a handful of herbs like the cinnamon, dry ginger powder, nutmeg, long pepper, saffron and cardamom. Amla, one of the most important ingredients that prevents formation of gas, is usually pressure cooked for 15 minutes after poking holes in it. "After you separate the seeds from each amla, make a paste of the de-seeded amla. If you want a fine texture, sieve the paste through a strainer or a muslin cloth and then saute this in a pan (preferably iron) with ghee and sesame oil till the oil separates. "Honey is always added at the end, because you shouldn't cook in it," she says. It will stay good for a year. "Don't refrigerate and ensure you eat it on an empty stomach," she cautions.

Shrijika Parikh Agrawal
Shrijika Parikh Agrawal

Her efforts are also to bust the myth around chyawanprash. "It's perceived as something that is supposed to be consumed only during illness or by kids, which is untrue. It can be had from the age of two," says the 31-year-old. The jam can also be eaten through the year with a glass of warm milk, never water, she adds. What's important, though, is consistency. "Eat it daily for a year or more, and you'll reap the benefits. You'll see improved digestion, radiant skin, sharper memory and better immunity. I can vouch for it."

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