Shawarma has a universal fan base but many health–conscious people stay away from it, thanks to the snack being a recurring character in news on food poisoning. Debates on how safe the meat and mayonnaise used in it also make headlines often. Have you ever wished for a healthier version of the snack? If so, head to Tagore Theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, one of the venues of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). A Singapore-based startup named Grasshopper is serving vegan shawarma here and according to them, the plant-based version of the snack is far healthier than the meat version. Kannan Parakunnil, 35, the man behind the innovation, says the response from foodies has been quite promising ever since he put up the stall at IFFK.
“Whoever has tried the vegan shawarma said that it tastes as good as the regular one and we have served returning customers too,” says Kannan, who serves the shawarma without oil, milk, sugar, or any preservatives. According to him, the vegan shawarma has a long shelf life at room temperature as compared to the regular ones and can be eaten after heating it for 3 minutes. He says, “The main ingredients of vegan shawarma are tender jackfruit, spirulina, and a combination of other plant-based ingredients. Our mayonnaise also has no oil or sugar. Cashew is the main ingredient, alongside 16 other secret items.”
The premium version of the shawarma is available only in Singapore and the mini version is sold at IFFK for Rs 100. Will it be available in Kerala after IFFK? “We will also have a stall at the Christmas programme at Srimoolam Club on December 22 and 23, from 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm. We are also in talks with some prominent airlines and malls,” says Kannan, who is also planning to launch a plant-based ice cream and a herbal drink, soon.