Baji's Brings Rice Dishes from Around the World to the Table with Authentic Basmati Meals

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Founder and former CEO of Ethnic Gourmet Foods introduces second product under Baji's brand.

Passion Foods, Inc. today announced the launch of Baji's basmati rice meals, the second product line under the Baji's brand. Baji's first product, Indian-style papadum chips, was launched in May 2007.

Baji's rice meals are made with authentic basmati rice, and are vegetarian, all-natural, and wheat-and gluten-free. Ready to eat and easy to pack, the rice meals come in microwavable pouches that require just 90 seconds to yield an especially fragrant, fluffy, and premium basmati rice. Flavors include Indian Lentil Biryani, Thai Lemongrass Basil, Indonesian Nasi Goreng, New Orleans Jambalaya, and Spanish Paella. Three of the five products -- Indian Lentil Biryani, Thai Lemongrass Basil, and Indonesian Nasi Goreng -- are vegan.

"With Baji's, we are bringing unique world flavors to convenient products with which people are already familiar," said Paul Jaggi, founder and president of Passion Foods. "Our debut product was Indian-style snack chips, but we also create fragrant lemongrass basil rice from Thailand, comfort-food Jambalaya from New Orleans, and richly flavored paella from Spain. Consumers want it all: healthy, delicious, convenient, and sophisticated flavors, too."

Baji's uses only true basmati rice in its rice meals because its high quality stands up to convenience cooking, resulting in remarkable fluffy rice. Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its fragrance and flavor. Basmati has been cultivated in the Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years. In fact, the Himalayan foothills are said to produce the best basmati. The basmati plants have a low yield but high quality, which is why it is so sought after. Authentic basmati is aged a couple of years to reduce the moisture. In recent years, a few Western food companies have tried to develop basmati and other long-grain hybrids in the U.S., but there is only one true basmati.

Baji's rice meals are currently available nation wide via Amazon.com, in Whole Foods Market, and in major grocery chains across the country.

Jaggi, the founder and former CEO of Ethnic Gourmet Foods, created Baji's in 2006. "Baji" (BAH-jee) is a term of endearment meaning "mom" in many parts of India. The brand pays homage to Jaggi's mother, and honors moms everywhere for doing their best to provide healthy and delicious meals for their families.

"My mom was a very sweet spirit," said Jaggi. "Even in the most difficult and chaotic of times, she sang while soaking lentils and grinding spices in our hot, small kitchen. With handfuls of fresh herbs, plenty of sweat and a whole lot of laughter, she always managed to provide healthy and delicious meals for all thirteen of us. At Baji's, we want to help moms everywhere so they can do the same."

In keeping with the spirit of Jaggi's mother, Baji's donates a portion of sales to global charities that focus on the education and nutrition of underprivileged children in the Third World. Baji's currently supports Asha for Education, http://www.ashanet.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to socio-economic change through education. Baji's also supports Vidya Integrated Development for Youth and Adults, http://www.vidya-india.org. For 20 years Vidya has been educating and empowering women and children.

Prior to founding Passion Foods, Inc., Jaggi worked in the restaurant and natural foods business. In 1991, Jaggi started packaging frozen Indian meals from his family's Massachusetts restaurant to sell to Bread & Circus. Jaggi grew the business, and in 1997 he and his team acquired two brands -- Thai Chef and Bravissimo -- and integrated them into the company forming Ethnic Gourmet Foods. Ethnic Gourmet Foods produced frozen ethnic meals for a niche market, and grew to be the second largest natural frozen foods company in the convenience foods category. In 2001, Heinz Frozen Foods purchased Ethnic Gourmet Foods and Jaggi stayed on as general manager until 2004.

About Baji's:
Baji's was created by Passion Foods, Inc. with the goal of bringing unique world flavors to convenient, familiar products. Passion Foods was founded in 2006 by Paul Jaggi, former founder and CEO of Ethnic Gourmet Foods. Baji's products are all-natural, vegetarian, and made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Baji's pays homage to Jaggi's mother, and her passion for preparing healthy, delicious food. In keeping with her spirit, Baji's donates a portion of sales to charities that focus on the education and nutrition of underprivileged children in the Third World. For more information, please visit http://www.bajispassion.com.

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Elizabeth Horton
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