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

Fast roll of time, Youtube channel, Christmas party

We are finally going to wrap up another year! 2010 beckons, no doubt, but with each passing day the work’s momentum is picking up. Back to back meetings and interviews today for the upcoming TV channel but the more exciting part is that it is time to present our visitors and guests with some festive creations like Sicilian Arracini Stuffed with Malai Kabab, Roasted Pumpkin and Mushroom Soup, Saagwala Murgh, Ricotta and Asparagus Ravioli, Pindi Chole, Olive and Jalapeno Pilaf. Rounding it off with Port Poached Baby Gulab Jamuns with Basil and Cream.

Also simultaneously the studio is under the hot lights for the camera of our guest from Singapore who is desirous of learning some traditional Indian recipes. Chef Harpal is demonstrating Prawn Malai Curry, Kesar and Pista Phirni besides others. You can catch these on Youtube in some time.

For more such recipes click on

As the long weekend is a blessing for leisurely Christmas parties I am sure you have a packed three days ahead!

More later.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Pune trip, a lot from the wok

Spent most of Sunday’s evening at the College of Engineering here. Was there as speaker at the Gurukul segment at Edugain 2009, an event organized by Saakal, especially for the benefit of those wanting to carve out careers in different fields. My invite came from the sponsors Suryadatta Group of Institutes. I reiterated the importance of the dream and going for it, and not waiting for perfection. You should know what perfection is but don’t think too much whenever you want to start something new. Some people think too much and do not get started at all. I also conveyed that no one should be miserly in having a vision. As far as starting a career is concerned, start with whatever industry you have good contacts in and later on, look out for wider horizons.

Later on drove down to the campus of Suryadatta College of Hospitality Management to inaugurate their Food Festival and had a brief session with the visiting managers of leading hotels in and around Pune, the principals and directors of hotel management institutes in and around Pune, and the students of Suryadatta College of Hospitality Management. Finished quite late in the evening.

Having a short period of rest and soon will be travelling back to amchi Mumbai because I want to be in time to honour good friend Harsha Bhatkal’s invite to a reading of Shobha De’s new book S’s Secret at Andheri’s Infinity Mall.

Many of you want to serve up new dishes for Christmas and New Years. How about some healthy stir fries! Try Five Spice Stir Fry, or use the plump winter baingans in Aubergine Stir Fry or appease the kids with Stir Fried Noodles (with sprouts and vegetables!).

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Learn from mistakes, New Shopping site, Plan for New Year Eve party

Finished Day 1 of Khana Khazana shoot. Got a chance to bake to my heart’s content. In fact, baking is one technique that evokes some fear in the novice cook for they have probably heard about baking disasters! I am sure many bakers will identify with overflowing cake in the tin, or burnt cookie bottoms, or bread dough that refuses to rise, or better still forgetting to add baking powder to that special cake! My endeavour is to use my show in conveying to you that baking is a pleasure, it’s easy and simple and success rate is high. And then who learns from mistakes can actually become an expert because experience is the best teacher!

I have done some goof ups too. In live shows. While talking, placed an empty glass carafe on the gas flame and then went to pour water in it. The carafe separated into two. A little shocked. Then covered up with an apology and a smile and continued the talk. A glass carafe will go on the glass flame but will need some liquid in it to be heated. Actually, it would be fun to know how you have dealt with some mini disasters in your kitchen…all your laugh-a-aloud episodes.

I have a dedicated shopping site for books, food products and kitchen ware: New Year’s Eve is a breath away and you would be wondering about party foods and what to make! How about a few leaves from my Party Book? Smoked Chicken and Fruit Salad,
Savoury Crispies with Creamy Onion Dip and an easy to do Tiramisu!

Sanjeev Kapoor.

New episodes, low salt diet, Jingle Bells

Time has come to share with you the new dishes I learnt and tasted during my last trip to Indonesia. Making whole new Khana Khazana episodes and we are amidst a flurry of activity at this point of time. I am also thinking about Valentine and Easter and of course, some more innovative baking ideas. Some one has suggested no onion cooking, so be it!

All these and more lie ahead for you to watch and cook in the coming few weeks. So tune in!

I have often been asked about how can one cook using less salt. Will the food be tasty? Those who have high BP are normally asked by doctors to restrict intake of salt as over consumption of salt increases the risk of heart problems. We can start by slowly decreasing the amount of salt used in each preparation. Avoid papads and pickles. If you are used to adding salt to roti dough or even to steamed rice, the first step would be to avoid adding these. It would rather be good if your vegetables and dal have namak swaadanusar! In English we say “salt to taste” as salt is a basic flavour and it is not added as a flavouring in its own right but as an enhancement to the overall flavour of the dish. In fact, in many East Asian cultures, salt is not traditionally used as a condiment. However, condiments such as soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce tend to have a high salt content and they play the same role as a salt-providing condiment that table salt serves in western cultures.

As some of you might be baking in full strength for Christmas, for dessert serve Mixed Fruit Gateaux in all its fruity and creamy glory. There are many traditional festive recipes my book Cakes and Bakes, so bring in the flour and butter, sugar, spice and all that’s nice!

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor.