A new way to enhance the nutrient content in chapathies has been revealed by an Indian-origin scientist, who has used corn distillers dried grains.
Sowmya Arra, the South Dakota State University Food Science graduate student, had won a 1,000-dollar cash award and certificate for her project, 'Fortifying Chapathies an Asian Whole Wheat Unleavened Flat Bread Using Corn Distillers Dried Grains' at the graduate research poster competition at the Institute for Food Technologists Conference in Anaheim, California.
Chapathi is a whole wheat, flat bread popular in Asia.
And since the competition in July, her research has expanded to include naan-an oven-baked, leavened flat bread popular in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan that tastes remarkably like pizza crust.
When choosing her thesis project, Arra said she wanted "to make a product that has all the nutrient values" and she found that in food-grade, corn distillers dried grain, which contains 40 percent dietary fiber and 36 percent protein.
"Due to economics and their culture, many people make their own bread. Since they make flat bread, it only makes sense to provide a better flour ingredient, which has higher nutritional qualities," said Arra.
Developing food products from dried distillers grain has been a challenge faced by Arra's adviser, Professor Padmanaban (Padu) Krishnan since he came to SDSU in 1989.
"The food grade DDG is a product I have been working on at SDSU for the past 20 years," said Krishnan.
And he envisions limitless possibilities for the flour made from dried distillers grain.
Krishnan said that the protein and fibre in the flour could find a market in the United States, Asia or India.
"We need dietary fibre in this society. Others need dietary protein in developing countries. One ingredient, food grade DDG, meets both criteria along with some health-promoting corn phytonutrients," said Krishnan.
Preparing the food grade dried distillers grain for human consumption involves a process of heating, vacuum chamber treatment, grinding and sterilization.
The process isn't like making any other kind of flour from grain.
Dried distillers grain posts some challenges, particularly in processing out the aroma of silage.
Done right, the process results in a product that's bland, colour neutral, nutrient-enriched and ripe for investment.
Krishnan believes that the work has accomplished much to add value to an underutilized co-product.
"Our research was intended to get everything out of the corn, including the squeal," said Krishnan.