Shastha Foods


The All-Pervasive Shastha Foods!
By RJ Sudha
A pair of words ubiquitous not just amongst the Indian diaspora of the San Francisco Bay Area, but also that cuts across the US is “Shastha Foods”. So much so that, it is the same pair of words a toddler first attempts to utter after “Ma” and “Pa” here, as they are the ones to provide the earliest, hygienic, soft Indian food for them.

With over 160 million (with a vision of a billion by 2030) Idlis and Dosas made all through the US homes and restaurants with Shastha Foods’ batters made possible through the countless number of retail outlets and @Costco Wholesale selling them, folks have silently tucked away their wet grinders into their garage as Shastha Foods has mastered the proportions, preservation techniques and cost-effectiveness of these healthy, naturally gluten-free and millet-alternatives of them.

A festival to commemorate Shastha Foods’ 20-year anniversary that marked the dynasty that Mr. Subramanian Krishnan had built from humble beginnings to a gigantic multimillion-dollar business was a milestone that definitely needed to be celebrated with the community. This, along with the “World Idli Day” on March 30, was the best possible day to celebrate the “Humble Idli” under a grandiose setting.

World Idli Day

Year after year, March 30 has its own pride of standing out in the world of celebrations. No, it is not a holiday declared by the government. The kids still have to wake up and go to school, the office-goers still have to show up at work. 

But, someone, somewhere, will remind them that “It is WORLD IDLI DAY”! 

This will certainly bring a grin on anyone’s face – remind them how their mothers or grandmothers mentioned to them that this was their first solid meal, how its fluffiness and the purity reminded them of a child’s innocence, how it was such an integral part of a family brunch gatherings and how seamlessly it blended with a plethora of chutneys, podis and sambars. Such are the sweet memories, richness, versatility and humility of our Idlis – man’s best friend during happy occasions or sick times!

Soaking in the Ideas
Planning and the prep work for this SHASTHA IDLI FEST ’24 had begun several months ahead, with @Syamala Raghuram, President, Shastha Fresh, spearheading most of the operations and coordinating amongst various groups of volunteers and supply/chain scenarios. Contributors had to be signed up, several types of menus had to be drawn, online pre-booking site had to be up and running, based of which, batter quantity had to be estimated, the seating style at the venue (@India Community Center, Milpitas) had to be drawn, quantity of fresh batter to be prepared had to be shipped to the venue along with the side dishes, booths for each type of Idli offerings had to be set up, a core group of volunteers had to be identified who were willing to run around on the “D-Day” like the bride’s side of an Indian wedding party. This entire group had their adrenaline high throughout and did not allow a beat to skip.
It ain’t All Whites!
The planners of the event went above and beyond their offerings of the Idli variations to cater to different age groups and eclectic tastes!
  1. Heritage Idlis
    • Rava
    • Thatte
    • Curry Leaf
    • Kanchipuram
  1. Healthy Idlis
    • Ragi
    • Green Moong
    • Pearl Millet
  1. Gen Z Idlis
    • Mini Idlis
    • Idli Burger
    • Idli Manchurian
  1. Traditional Idlis
    • White
    • Podi
  1. Dosa
    • Regular
    • Podi Dosa
It was a Grind Early on!

Describing his early experiments with entrepreneurship, Mr Krishnan, who has a Masters’ Degree in Accounting, recalled how he saw a market potential in readymade Idli/Dosa batter in working Indian households in early 2002. He dived into this opportunity and from then on, there has been no looking back!

The dream of Shastha Foods is to make their batters and other products to be a household name not just amongst the Indian diaspora, but across the American community/ethnicities. It is the responsibility of us, Indians, to create the awareness of this naturally healthy and gluten-free food to the non-Indians. It is noteworthy to mention that Shastha Foods is way ahead in its target of reaching a billion batters by 2030!

Shastha Foods has been a proponent of Women Empowerment and has recently spun off “Shastha Fresh”, the vision of which is to “Deliver healthy and tasty Indian Food and Indian Groceries to every neighborhood.” This unit is headed by @Syamala Raghuram and this wing has enabled several female entrepreneurs and home chefs to work at the flexibility of their homes or from Ghost Kitchens.

Fermentation Means Better Gut Health – Dr Pal!

Two celebrity guests added color and character to the event. @Dr Pal described the importance of fermented food in our diet and the difference between good gut bacteria and bad gut bacteria. Emphasizing the benefits of this fermented food – Idli – that enhances the number of good gut bacteria, he warned the listeners on portion control. He stressed the importance of having 0.8 gms of protein per Kilogram (ages 12 and above) of our body weight per day, strengthening the brain/gut connection, respecting our gut by not using it as a dump ground of processed food, not subjecting ourselves to stress and leading an active life.

Let the Feasting Begin – Madhampatty Rangaraj!

Madhampatty Rangaraj, CEO of @Madhampatty Thangavelu Hospitality Pvt Ltd, was the next celebrity guest to speak at the ceremony. Mr Rangaraj runs a multi-crore catering business in India, focusing on high-profile weddings, acting/directing movies and is also seated as a judge in one of the popular cooking shows in India. Despite his extraordinary position in the community, there were a few traits that stood out about him that everyone noticed– the softness of his nature, his immeasurable humility, the undeniable love for his motherland (Coimbatore), his belief that food should be prepared not just with ingredients and their measurements, but with motherly love. His recently opened “@Kovai Café” restaurant in the Bay Area, has had excellent reviews.

Delegates who gave a Special Appearance

A star-studded panel of local delegates graced the occasion that added value and pride for the organizers. They were: Sunnyvale Mayor @Larry Klein, Sunnyvale Vice Mayor @Murali Srinivasan Fremont Vice Mayor @Teresa Cox, Santa Clara school district board member, who is also running for State Assembly, @Tara Sreekrishnan and Federation of Indo-Americans of Northern California Chairman, Dr. Romesh Japra


Shastha Foods has not only been a trailblazer in its business and a household name, but has also shown the way for many philanthropists. Not a single event in the Bay Area has been conducted without ample donation from Shastha Foods. @Inclusive World, @Community Sewa, @Bay Area Kerala Sangam, @Concord Siva Murugan Temple, @ @SKCC, @Remalaya are just a few.  


Creativity with Idlies and the Tamizh Suvai Radio Team!

Over the past three years, @RJ Sudha, as the founder of Tamizh Suvai Radio, celebrated World Idli Day by calling for entries of creative Idli ideas. There was a deluge of participants over the years and Shastha Foods, once again was kind enough to sponsor generous prizes for the winners. At the Shastha Idli Fest ’24, three members of the winning team from last year – @Priya Rajaram, @Savita Siva and @Asha Ambikavijakumar displayed an array of vibrant, healthy and kid-friendly Idlis. Curious spectators could not take their eyes off the exhibits and many in fact, were willing to put a price for them.

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