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The distinct smell of freshly prepared rotis linger as one enters Jiwa, a specialty flour store in Bandra. At the store, an ancient stone chakki is set up in the same space that houses a snazzy dough mixer. This juxtaposition might seem odd, but as one spends more time in the store, the idea of a modern-day chakki becomes increasingly clear.
Started by 27-year-old Raghav Gupta, Jiwa offers customised healthy flour which is made using fibrous grains and millets such as Amaranth (rajgira), jowar, soya bean, flax seeds, fenugreek seeds, mixed with wheat in several proportions. For instance, the store stocks varieties of atta for people who are suffering from diabetes and blood pressure. “We use a special kind of wheat called the dicoccum wheat, which is available only in certain pockets of south India. It basically aids in the slow release of sugar in the body and helps those suffering from diabetes,” says Gupta, whose team boasts of nutritionists, food experts and even a PhD in roti-making.
Taking the family business of supplying flour to some of the biggest names in the baked goods and confectioneries industry, Gupta, a third-generation entrepreneur turned his passion for healthy and nutritional food into finding solutions for people with dietary restrictions. “We will soon introduce gluten-free atta as a lot of our customers are allergic to gluten,” adds Gupta.
At its roti cafe, Gupta hands out a pamphlet that lists various options of rotis, fillings and sauces that one can pick from. For our customised wrap, we chose a roti made of slimming atta along with paneer and green chutney filling. While the roti scored high for its puffiness and freshness, the filling was dry and lacked in flavour. We moved on to an exotic vegetables wrap with Greek yoghurt, which thankfully wasn’t as dry, but again didn’t excite the taste buds.
The tastiest dish on the menu was the roti dessert — a nutella smeared toasted roti with a sprinkle of roasted pistachios. Ironic, considering the healthy tag the cafe carries. While we are not optimistic about the roti cafe, the meticulous engineering that goes behind making the customised flour is a sure winner. Available in the range of Rs 80 to Rs150 per kg, the flours will soon hit the shelves at specialty gourmet stores such as Nature’s Basket and Foodhall.