Bakeries, pâtisseries, and the food and beverage processing industry are using walnuts in an ever-increasing manner. California walnuts make for a great ingredient. Walnut-embellished menu items are rich in texture, have a great mouth-feel and crunchiness. These are nutritious as well. Walnuts are being used to create menus that incorporate healthy salads, curries, and desserts. Walnuts are also being used for snacks to be served along with High-Tea.
The global pandemic has been a watershed moment for the Indian food-led businesses. Nutrition and family health have become a priority. It has compelled the food-led industry to re-imagine and reposition their business concept and culinary-product profile. Whether as an outlet or through food retail, food brands are tapping into the moments of consumption of customers with healthier options. The nutrition-packed walnut has become a trusted vital ingredient. Customers are extending their repeat patronage to walnut-based menu items and food-retail products.
Food and beverage businesses collaborate with the wellness sector and nutritionists to pave the path to a healthy today and a fitter tomorrow. Higher revenues and increased profitability are the results. The purchasing behavior of customers has changed completely. The transparency created by food retailers through detailed product-profiling allows customers to select food products carefully. Products such as walnut bread and walnut butter find prominent places on food-retail shelves and favor customers. According to research, consumption of walnut butter would increase, thereby increasing its profitability. Walnut butter is being marked in a creative and nutrition-led blend with other ingredients.
Consuming plant-based ingredients such as nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetable produce, whole grains, beans, pulses, soy foods, plant oils, herbs, and spices are recommended for a healthier life. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have recently suggested incorporating such ingredients in one’s daily diet to maintain good health and optimal immunity.
Since the Indian F&B industry has been intensely influenced by the western wave and innovates within itself, it is only fair for it to resort to the US-based premium brand, California Walnuts. The brand boasts a fine rapport in the sector and delivers the best quality walnuts, helping the F&B vertical prosper.
More than 99% of walnuts grown in the United States come from California 141,640 bearing hectares of walnut orchards. The Central Valley of California is the State’s prime walnut growing region, with the mild climate and deep fertile soils that provide ideal growing conditions. There are more than 4,800 California walnut growers, and most farms are owned and operated by families who have been in the walnut business for several generations. With the strong brand lineage of harvesting high-quality walnuts for ages, the Indian market has seen a massive demand for California Walnuts’ consumption lately.
Nutrition from California walnuts
California walnuts are a nutrition-storehouse, which are entering the priority list of health-conscious menus and encouraging the F&B industry to promote meals and dishes with nutritional value. These super nuts are packed with nutrients to support the heart, brain, and gut and have prebiotic properties that enhance beneficial bacteria’s growth in the stomach. They further act as an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 ALA, which is essential for heart health, thus being recommended in the fitness and dietary industry. With these health benefits, consumer behaviorism in India is seen siding with walnuts and catapulting nuts in India as it gives frontline players in the F&B industry to bet big on the sector.
Expert Views on California Walnuts
Chef Yaduvansh Bahadur Mathur retired from ITC Hotels’ services as Senior Executive Chef, is also an author and a culinary research and development specialist. Chef Mathur reminisces and emphatically shares his love for walnuts:
“My first romance with walnuts goes back to my childhood, extending to my teens. Pleasant memories come flooding in as to how in New Delhi’s winters, my mother would fill the front bib pocket of my woolen dungaree with walnuts. Interestingly, we did not have a nutcracker at home. We used a hammer to break open the walnut shell or pressed the walnuts in the gap between a door and the sturdy door-frame. That did get the thumb caught too!
Eating walnuts regularly, therefore, reinforced “taste-imprinting” throughout my life and career. As a professional chef, I discovered fresh ways to cook with walnuts and enjoyed eating walnuts. Eating walnuts became an indulgence. Early in my career, I realized that walnuts are not only convenient and delicious but are nutritious also.
I have used walnuts as a bar-snack and in energy-bar formulations. I have used walnuts in salads, especially those made with crunchy salad leaves and minimal dressing. The classic Waldorf salad is just one of those salads. I have made pantry puddings, desserts, and afternoon tea-cakes with walnuts.
California walnuts are wonderful thickening agents and have a culinary marriage with fishes, poultry, meats, and vegetables. Walnuts work wonders with Indian curries and formulations as diverse as the diversity of regional Indian cuisines. Recipes range from the professional to the home-style.
Chef Mathur presents a signature recipe below
Akhrot ke kabab (Walnut kebab)
Key Functionality: (i) Savoury and (ii) Vegetarian snack
- Walnut kernels 250 gm
- Raw (green) bananas 500 gm
- Onions 100 gm
- Ginger 20 gm
- Garlic 25 gm
- Green chillies 20 gm
- Yellow chilli powder 8 gm
- Green cardamom powder 3 gm
- Mace powder 3 gm
- Salt to taste (approximately 12 gm)
- Green coriander 50 gm
- Pure ghee 250 gm
Steps of preparation
- Roughly chop onions, ginger, and green chillies. Chop green coriander very finely.
- Powder walnuts coarsely.
- Boil and mash the bananas. Set aside.
- Heat 100 gm pure ghee in a Karahi or a suitable vessel. Fry the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger lightly. Add the banana pulp, salt, yellow chilli powder, and green chillies in quick succession to each other. Add the green cardamom and mace powders. Stir well. Add the walnut powder and chopped green coriander. Continue to cook for another 7 to 8 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.
- Shape the mixture into a flat round patty. Shallow fry in the remaining ghee.
- Serve hot with tomato relish, pickles, or green coriander and mint chutney.
- Boiling raw (green) bananas: Boil the green bananas with their skin intact in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or till tender. Remove from the fire and cool. Remove the skin; pass the bananas through a mincing machine using the fine plate. Alternately mash the bananas manually with the help of a heavy spoon.
- Do not grind walnuts into a fine powder.
- Garam masala powder can be substituted for green cardamom and mace powders.