Bible studies and beetroot kvass. These are a few of Abha Appasamy’s favourite things.
The 61-year-old, who is an elder at her church, has been fermenting homemade probiotics like a refreshing Black Tea Kombucha and Korean kimchi for a couple of decades now. But it wasn’t until earlier this year in February that she started selling her artisanal line of products. “I started getting a lot of interest from folks on Facebook, so much so that I had to buy a new fridge to keep up with the orders,” she says, with a laugh. Apart from the usual suspects, did we mention she even has a ‘probiotic hummus’?
What was initially just supposed to be an experiment quickly led to unexpected rave reviews, she shares. “I just wanted to see what sauerkraut juice (fermented for six weeks) added to the hummus might taste like. But then everybody who tried it seemed to love it,” Abha says. After giving her creamy version a taste, with barely a hint of sour, we understand why. While the extent of its benefits are still being discovered, we can’t help but be excited at the prospect of a Mediterranean dip-turned-probiotic innovation at a home kitchen in Perungudi!
The rest of the six products on the menu serve up a map of probiotic staples from around the world — like China’s kombucha, Korean kimchi (spicy and addictive), sauerkraut from Germany (so sour you might need to summon some willpower for a taste), kefir from Russia (a more potent version of curd) and the Slavic Beetroot kvass (purple and a tad ascerbic) known to have originated in Eastern Europe. The latter has also inspired a fermented desi version — Abha’s own beetroot kaanji (pickle in brine). “My husband would suffer from hives, and eating this along with our meals really helped his skin allergies settle down,” she recalls.
In-depth research to prepare healthy meals to rid her family of frequent colds or a bout of food poisoning, over the years, led Abha to discover a wealth of information on why you should feed your gut. But still, when she drops bits of trivia like, “Kefir is the most potent milk-based probiotic in the world with 30 strains of lactobacillus in contrast to one in curd,” she catches us by surprise. The next time you need your stomach to settle down, remember thayir sadam isn’t the only ‘whey’ forward.
Order a day in advance on the Facebook page Abha’s Probiotics. Prices: Rs 50 to Rs 70 for 200 ml and Rs 175 to Rs 250 for 315 grams.
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