Functional Ingredients: What is Maca?

Diving into the functional foods trend and finding the right maca latte blends that boost your energy
Culinary World Aug 10, 2021
red-maca-root

You’ve certainly heard about the growing popularity of functional ingredients. More people these days are looking for mood enhancing and stress relieving foods to feel good and, among them these categories of functional ingredients, maca is definitely the product to watch out for.

In our previous article, we talked about the trend of mindful eating taking over the Consumer Packaged Goods market and shed light on how this can find its way on restaurant tables too. This time we explore maca, the trending mood-booster.

What is maca and why is it trending?

Maca is a root vegetable from the family of Brassicaceae that can grow in high altitudes and very inhospitable conditions. It is traditionally used in Peruvian medicine and constitutes a fascinating part of the Andean food heritage - for example, in the Incan Shamanic tradition, people believe that the maca contains feminine and masculine energies in different concentrations.

According to a research on the maca powder market, customers are typically interested in this product to increase chances of fertility - a rising concern among millennials around the world.

What are the different types of maca?

There are three different types of maca:

Black maca is the rarest and it helps with muscle building, stamina, men fertility, and libido

Red maca can be beneficial for bone density and for fertility in women

Yellow maca is the most harvested type and more commonly available in the market, which has various functional effects on the body and mind.

yellow-maca-root

How can you order maca for your restaurant?

Unless you have a connection with a Peruvian maca producer, finding a maca supplier for restaurants is not immediate if you want to order raw maca root. However, you can start by experimenting with different types of maca powders available in the market - and perhaps, start testing it in a special on your restaurant menu.

Fewer providers offer the possibility of ordering bulk maca powder - in case you are ordering from a wholesaler or supplier offering functional foods, we recommend you try and get a sample before ordering for your kitchen.

Here’s a quick-step guide for more on choosing the best suppliers for your restaurant.

maca-powder

What to do with maca?

Maca can be a great addition to your menu, especially when your clientele is all about healthy breakfasts or simple and earthy delights. Here are three different maca recipes inspirations:

1. Maca latte

A simple delight that opens the door to a lot of creative combinations of spices such as cinnamon, cayenne, or even black pepper. You can even cater for the sweet tooths by mixing coconut powder, chocolate, or honey - depending on how much you want to mitigate the nutty, malty, and earthy flavor of maca powder.

Whether you start with animal or plant-based milk, make sure to whisk the maca powder with just half of it, and then add the remaining milk before heating it at medium temperature. Otherwise, you’ll risk that your latte will turn lumpy.

2. Baking with maca

You can use maca powder to make unique and scrumptious baked products like cookies, cakes, or other sweet treats. You can also opt to use maca powder as a substitute for flour, and mix it with nuts and seeds for baking healthy bread.

3. A delicious restorative maca soup

You can use raw maca powder to make different flavorful soups for your restaurant menu, mixing it with lentils, sweet potatoes, or chicken, to mention a few examples.

While in Peru, maca is mainly consumed as a boiled root by itself or as part of stews, there are multiple directions you can take with your recipes.

To get the most out of the bioactive compounds and health benefits of this product, you should consider purchasing maca powder made with pre-cooked dry maca that is heated under pressure. This cooking technique is more similar to the traditional way of consuming it.

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