- Weaning foods-Several types of weaning foods are marketed in India. The cereals are processed to make them easily digestible. Roasted, malted and extruded weaning foods are available.
The weaning foods should be balanced and nutritious to promote healthy growth of babies.
Roasted weaning mixes
- Three cereals, two pulses and groundnuts are taken in equal amounts by weight and roasted separately and powdered finely and packed.
- The roasted cereal flour is mixed with toasted green gram flour and popped bengal gram flour in the ratio of 7:2:
Malted weaning mixes
The cereals and pulses are soaked in water, germinated and malted and powdered to produce malted mixes. Sometimes mixed with milk powder to improve the quality of protein. The weaning food is mixed with water, sugar or jaggery and cooked before feeding.
Quick cooking rice
Rice is soaked in water and 0.5% trisodium phosphate is added, washed well and cooked, then dried in hot air oven at 105˚C for 1 hour. This rice has a cooking time of 7-10 minutes.
Instant mixes based on chemical leavening
- Instant gulab jamun, cake, chapatti, dosai and idli mixes belong to this group.
- These products are produced by blending various ingredients in required proportions along with chemical leavening agents in a planetary or other suitable dry mixer.
- They are mixed with citric or maleic acid as a souring agent and sodium bicarbonate as a leavening agent.
- The formulated mix is packed in polyethylene pouches which are encased in printed duplex card board packets.
- Control of granularity, moisture and adequate mixing are essential for product acceptability and shelf life.
- Infestation which is the major problem in these mixes can be controlled by heating at 60˚C in a cabinet dryer.
- Caking and lumping can also be controlled by cabinet drying.
Instant mixes based on precooked dehydrated products
Instant palav, khichdi, bisibelebath, curried dhal, rice, peas, curried cholay, sambar, rasam, dalia, rava idli, halwas and upama mixes are the important convenience foods.
- The products are prepared by precooking of ingredients preferable under pressure, followed by dehydration and mixing of dehydrated ingredients, salting and spicing. They can be reconstituted in 6-20 minutes in boiling water. The time of reconstitution can be reduced by high temperature, short time dehydration (HTST).
- Use of high temperature (160-180˚C) during initial stages of drying till moisture is reduced to less than 45 per cent and subsequent drying at 70˚C is found to be beneficial in improving the reconstitution characteristics.
- HTST dehydration gelatinizes starch and steam generated inside the grain makes it porous and prevents case hardening.
- This has proved well for instantizing the pulses and starchy vegetables.
- Freezing before conventional drying has also been found effective for rice instantization.
- Irradiation of spices or pre packed mixes is found useful in reducing the microbial count. Heating of spice mixes in oil/fat inactivates enzymes and permits uniform distribution of spices in mix.