Fermented foods not only mean better health for customers but can also introduce a quirky twist to regular dishes on a menu, says chef Dipna Anand. By Team Viva
While fermented food has been consumed for a long time, its benefits are only gradually becoming apparent. Consequently restaurants are introducing these often times as side dishes which accompany a more familiar main.
Heading into the harsh summers, it becomes all the more important to eat things gut friendly and healthy. The probiotics produced during fermentation restores the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut and may not only alleviate some digestive problems but also give your immune system a boost and reduce your risk of infections like the common cold. Studies have shown that fermented foods may also promote mental health, weight loss and heart health.
Chef Dipna Anand, co-owner of London based Brilliant Restaurant is among the top five Indian women who are shaking up London’s food scene. She explains how fermented food is good for health.
How popular are fermented foods among people?
According to a research by The National Restaurant Association, fermenting was rated a hot trend by 57 per cent of the chefs. One of the major reasons for the popularity is the willingness of consumers to experiment with something new. The trend is certainly gaining ground as more people around the world favour foods such as kimchi, miso and yoghurt due to their health benefits. Locally-grown produce, farm-raised, organic meat, artisan cheese and handcrafted beers appeal more to consumers, who like to know where their food is coming from and this leads to a connection being made between consumers and their food source. Even if it is a beer or a side of pickled cabbage, fermented foods offer a unique twist to normal dishes.
People like quirky trends that are at the same time beneficial. In such a scenario, it is not surprising that fermented foods continue to gain popularity. As an example, only a few people would recommend the awesome pickled cucumber that came as a side with their chicken tikka burger to their friends, however, they are more inclined to tell their friends about the delicious masala kimchi coleslaw served with their burger as it is quirky and has health benefits.
How is fermented food good for health?
Fermentation is a natural process which is used to produce everyday staples including cheese, black tea, bread and chocolate. Recently, more traditional fermented food including kimchi and kefir are gaining ground all over the world and this is specifically driven by the health benefits.
Research suggests that fermented food and drinks introduce beneficial bacteria into the digestive system and help to balance it in your body. Probiotics are known to help in slowing down some
specific diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion and improve immunity. There is also evidence to suggest that having a good balance of gut bacterial and digestive enzymes, helps to absorb more nutrients from the foods you consume. Most of the fermented foods are low in calories when compared with other dishes.
Do you all have a special fermented food dishes in your menu?
I do not have dishes on the menu that fall in to the special fermented food category as yet. However, there are of course dishes that use yoghurt and we also have a tandoori soya dish which is a part of our vegan menu. Maybe in the future, it would be beneficial to have a dedicated menu for fermented foods as I am sure it will be received very well.
For restaurants, fermented foods are often cheaper and have low food costs offering a great way to offset the classic menu items like a chicken tikka masala or chick-pea and potato curry and tandoori mixed grill which sell more and are expensive.
Writer: Team Viva
Courtesy: The Pioneer