Saroj grew up in Haryana, where she learnt about Indian flavours and ingredients from her parents and grandparents. When she moved to Delhi, she came across students and working professionals, especially the ones staying away from their homes, indulging in unhealthy snacking habits due to a lack of a better alternative.
This inspired her to start experimenting with different ingredients – some, she found on the internet, and some she found in the memories of her childhood dining table. She balanced her recipes between using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, and turning them into contemporary, modern-day dishes.
The objective was clear and grounded – she would serve simple and honest food. As she started coming up with different recipes, she surprised people by the minimal processing that went into the making of these products.
The ingredients and recipes she created were not new – only forgotten. For example, the ingredients, such as Ragi, Kulth Dal and Ramdana, which were ones discarded as ‘food for the poor’, have come back full-circle as superfoods. Saroj believes, ‘a lot of businesses exploited the ignorance of consumers, and words like “organic” not only became a keyword for sales, but also carried a premium price. Nutrition, which should be a basic right, became an industry – eating healthy became a luxury.’
AnnDefined was born out of this realisation. It’s an effort to create a community that promotes learning about and reviving the food heritage of India. Today, AnnDefined bears a simple message: eating healthy doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult.
AnnDefined uses simple techniques like dehydration and fermentation to come up with products that are not only healthy and natural but also improve digestion by ensuring that the ingredients being used are bio-available and pre-digestive. The products offered by AnnDefined, are a mix of scientific knowledge and ancestral wisdom.
AnnDefined hopes to continue working towards giving individuals healthier eating alternatives while simultaneously sharing what we learnt from our ancestors. AnnDefined mirrors Saroj Singh’s values of simplicity and honesty and through it, the forgotten recipes of good health.