New Year-New Look, Exciting prospects

Probably the last blog for this year! I wish all my friends, my viewers, my readers, my fans a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

And personally I am looking forward to a whole lot of new things like the food channel and my new bearded look that I was asked to grow for an ad shoot.

There are two things about getting your own natural beard…that while it is growing you are most uncomfortable (it is itchy) and secondly, your kids refuse to accept your scruffy look. Rachita, my elder daughter, has said a point blank ‘no’ to even see the advertisement for which I have yet to shoot and for which the look is being prepared and my younger daughter Kriti is still in Sweden to participate in a Hand Ball tournament. Missing her! I do talk to her everyday, seems so strange children at young age, going their way- independently. Well fortunately my COO Rajeev just told me that the script has been changed and beard is not required. Back to the clean shaven, good boy look , well in time for the New Year bash.

January has a lot of food waiting to be polished off! Mexican – easy and tasty – and something the kids seem to adore! And later on my shows some steamed foods, some baby foods, healthy cooking with olive oil and delicious rice recipes. And if you are wondering what my plan is for the New Year Eve…getting calls from Aamby Valley, Lonavala. Our HR manager Sabita has arranged some programmes and games in the morning at our office, after that we will be off to Aamby Valley. Love winters! So will enjoy temperature, food and quality time with wife, Alyona. Planning to cook Prawn Pulao, Spaghetti with Pinenut Pesto Chicken and Frozen Chocolate Mousse Cake for dinner! I will have a bit of everything!

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Roast Turkey, Christmas Pudding and movie marathon!

Well, Christmas could not have come at a longer weekend than this! It was bliss being home, in the kitchen, rustling up Roast Turkey and Xmas Pudding. And then it was feast time with family, with Jyotsna, Mayur and Manit joining us!

In fact, turkey has some memories for me dated 1986. I was posted in Varanasi and for Christmas, I wanted to give our hotel guests turkey cooked the traditional way. Little did I know that we could not easily get turkeys in Varanasi and the only way was to check its availability was at a farm in Chunar, near Khurja. I requested our purchase department but they did not seem interested as the only way to check was to actually go down to the village! That village did not have telephones. Our Purchase Manager informed me that every year they ordered bigger chickens and that was acceptable. Not to me. I requested our GM and he offered his official car. I along with the Food and Beverage Manager, started our journey early in the morning. The supplier in Chunar was the sole supplier in the region and we did not even have the proper address to that village. Travelling through different parts of eastern UP, we finally scrambled to reach Chunar and then everybody knew the person who had the prized possession, turkey! We approached him with a lot of confidence but deep inside we were not sure if we would get what we want. Our deepest fears came true when the farm owner (actually there was no farm, we saw a couple of large turkeys wandering around) told us nonchalantly that now it was too late to order the stock. He offered us turkeys for the following Christmas! All my pleadings, offers of a better price fell on deaf ears! We left disappointed but at least we knew what turkeys looked like in the wild, undressed! The following year we ordered turkeys much in advance and made up by cooking not just Roast Turkey but many other dishes including Tandoori Turkey.

Wound up Christmas day with a movie show and enjoyed. Saturday saw Amma’s special Appam with Ishtew as late breakfast and then we lazed around watching some movies at home. Totally relaxed with a playful Manit giving us some joyful moments. Sunday I cooked! My favourite Chicken Laksa with Garlic Bread and later in the evening some TV dinner with leftover turkey sandwiches!

Countdown to 2010!

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Merry Christmas, Stories in recipes

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! May the season bring for you the perfect recipe of good health with wealth, prosperity and wisdom. Like each menu is made of a composition of different dishes, may the menu of your coming year be filled with exciting and fulfilling moments.

Menu planning for a chef is an entirely different story. We know the clientele but we really do not know them personally (with a few exceptions of the regular patrons). So we try to include dishes that have a story or a background with the hope that at least some of them will identify with it. Take the case of Lalla Mussa Dal which is on the TYC menu. It is a hot favourite.

There is an interesting story behind how this dal came into being. Pre independence when my parents used to stay in Pakistan they used to often travel from Lahore to Karachi. The first station that the train halted in the morning was called Lalla Mussa. This place was famous for its delicious food and specially the dal. My father, who was a complete foodie, replicated the dal at home and we all simply loved it. So when I was planning the menu for The Yellow Chilli I said to myself that this dal should be included in the menu. It was indeed a wise decision. In fact we are doing this dal for our guests today (a day of meetings for the channel) along with Dum Paneer Methi Bhurji, Nizami Tarkari Biryani and Kerala Parantha. Starting with Shammi Kabab and Fried Colocassia and ending the meal with Mango Phirni.

So till the week ends and a new one begins, have a party!

Sanjeev Kapoor