Budget Day, Shoot in Ahemdabad, Happy Holi

This week has been a roller coaster , right? First the coverage of the cricket matches. I think the world had stopped for so many when Sachin’s double century was on live TV. Alyona told me that the shopkeepers were not keen to attend to their customers that afternoon! And many offices were too silent, because they were logged onto cricinfo. More constructive happenings today with the Budget being announced. I am so happy for the 60% of tax payers who are relieved with the announce ment of tax rate cuts by Pranab da in the Lok Sabha today. It was a long overdue and will make tax compliance more realistic. You can check with me next year that the tax collection will be much higher than what it is this year.

Today was the last day of induction programme with Mr. Hassan Mechmechani who had come down all the way from Baharain. We gave him a farewell and handed him all the soft and hard copies of the programme. His last visit was to The Yellow Chilli, Powai to understand the working of the buffet menu. He was very impressed with the turn out for the lunch at the restaurant.

Will be in Ahmedabad on Sunday to shoot Matla Undhiyo in traditional style and thought that while I am there why not go to some landmark food places and focus camera in places such as Vishala, Rajwadu, Sarkhej Raza, Bhatiyer Gali, Mehta Chawana Shop, Sabarmati jail….

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a long happy weekend with Holi holiday being the most fulfilling and fun filled with friends and family. Some goodies for you to cook on this festival – feather light Poha Idlis, kid friendly Corn and Cheese Dosa, easy to make Rose Sandesh.

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Doing things zara hat ke

Came back from Jaipur quite late last night. Had a live demo of recipes like Fruit kebab with teriyaki sauce and Kathal ki Biryani. The event went on well and everyone enjoyed the kebabs and biryani.

So much has been happening in the trial kitchen too. Some exclusive recipes like Tandoori Paneer Tikka Makhni and Three Pepper Chicken Chettinaad have been under evolution. Today have an induction meeting for the upcoming restaurant in Bahrain and the special pot in the kitchen will present a white based Chicken and Vegetable Stew with Garlic Bread, Fish in Thai Green Curry sauce with steamed rice, Paneer Makhni, Three Pepper Rice, Tossed Salad and finish off with straight-from-the-oven Walnut Brownies. Yummy!

Yesterday had time to read the newspaper at length and came across a small boxed item by a student counsellor who writes about exams being a party with the first question being the welcome drink, the second being a starter and the third onwards the main course! I somehow like, rather love, his comparisons. I think a person who can think in terms of food for everything in life is just my sort! Anyway, cooking and food is a passion with me and just as an artist finds a canvas and paints irresistible, for me creating new dishes and doing things zara hat ke for food are irresistible!

As I wind up, some tasty offerings from the special zara hat ke pot: Very Low Fat Brownies, Pudina Paneer, Palak Tikki with Soya Granules.

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Live show in Pink City Jaipur, fulfil your food wishlist

Flying out to Jaipur early tomorrow morning to participate in an event organised by UNESCO in association with NERDT and the Indian Food Ministry. The venue is Entertainment Paradise. Well, at this point I do not have the event timings but I am demonstrating some recipes in a live show for sure. So it’s Jaipur, February 24th, Entertainment Paradise. Let us meet.

I have been asked many times how I am able to maintain my weight loss over the years. I am sorry but one cliché does come to mind! What gets measured gets improved. Try it. Write down all the things you eat in a day. And number them. In the case of someone who wants to lose weight, then a long list is alarming and one gets thinking as to why did I eat those two biscuits just then, why did I drink one more cup of sugary tea just then??? People on a diet are strictly asked to note down their consumption of the day and then it is not the input of calories that matters sometimes, it is the reason for eating that particular food at that particular time. This leads to whole new reflection on emotional eating but more of that later!

So what gets written also gets done! I have this habit of writing my to-do list every single morning. If I have the time, I do it the night before. If there is a long list that seems absolutely undoable (especially travelling in Mumbai from one end to another!) then we look at solutions and get the meetings done at a mutually convenient place or in my office then. The idea of a to-do list is to get the feeling of achievement and also to get the work done! Alyona has a different list: things to buy or shop for that day. My daughter has a different list: portion to cover today for the upcoming board exam. My colleagues and subordinates have another kind of list! And the best part is that all of us have one thing in common always: a wishlist!!

Coming to wishlists, food always looms large. Don’t you say, oh I feel like having a creamy pastry today, or some chaat from the roadside or then something as simple as hot rotis straight off the tawa! All these wishes can be easily fulfilled….keep logged on to www.sanjeevkapoor.com and enjoy the recipes and be inspired to cook at home.

As the month seems to be rolling to an end, let us shape up the kitchen for some snacks for Holi. Try out Pichkari Thandai, Chocolate Golgappe, Palak ki Chaat.

Till I write again on my return from the Pink City!

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Always create magic in the kitchen

The Wonderchef event in Bangalore went off well yesterday. Flew down to Delhi in a couple of hours from Bangalore. Only going to pick up Mom from Delhi and then back in Mumbai by late evening Saturday.

We have been doing trials with some recipes that use wine in cooking for the new magazine. New vistas for our kitchen, for sure! And food and cooking is like a cauldron of excitement that has no bottom. In fact if I am ever asked to do a survey on cooking I would choose the topic of daily cooking being a daily chore. To state the obvious, cooking is a daily job so it may be a daily chore and why not? Not every person loves cooking (so what if the same person loves to eat!) and rustling up meal after meal with ingenuity does call for a lot of efforts and planning.

It is to be pointed out that not everybody enjoys new things at every meal…once in a while it is a refreshing idea to serve a new creation or a variation of the same old stuff. So if you are ready, the following pointers will help to make the daily cooking/chore a daily adventure.

Any leftover vegetable like paneer bhurji, baingan bharta, aloo matar ki sabzi or even leftover pulao makes good fillings for stuffed tomatoes. Prepare an array of tomato cases, capsicum cases and onion cases and fill them up. Give toppings of breadcrumbs and grated cheese and let the tray bask under the grill for a while. A very sumptuous and colourful dinner dish is ready!

If your children are fussy about vegetables, why not pierce carrots, tomatoes, paneer cubes, onion chunks, capsicum cubes onto metal skewers and grill them. For more show of creativity make fancy shapes from the vegetables and then skewer them. Brush with salted butter before grilling. Season with salt and pepper or even chaat masala and serve on a bed of lightly flavoured rice. What looks good to eat will definitely find favour with the kids!

The repetitive combinations of dal chawal, roti sabzi, rajma chawal, idli sambar, dosa chutney, chicken curry and parantha, chole bhature can all do with reincarnations. Let us take dal chawal. Serve it by all means but after mixing it in a casserole dish and tempering with chopped onions and beaten yogurt. Garnish with chopped coriander. Roti sabzi can be altered by turning them into closed packets. Simply place some sabzi on one half of the roti. Fold over to make the round edges meet and present a semi circle. Seal the open ends with a little water and make indents with a fork all over. Lightly fry on the pan and serve with tomato ketchup. I am sure even the adults will find nothing amiss in this made up fare!

Making of Holi Quiz for mobile service providers was fun. Everyone in office participated. Lot of non sensical things, questions, debates….. but Indian festivals are like that full of fun and less of definitions.

There’s more in the pot for you! My three promises of getting something different on the table: Palak Lachcha Parantha , Chenna and Fruit Envelope, Penne and Vegetables in Makhni Sauce.

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor

Wonderchef reaches Banglaore, Playing food-food with kids

If you reside in Bangalore then there is a chance of our meeting at the Wonderchef, a business venture of mine where our objective is to empower women and earn money in the process by selling kitchen gadgets and accessories through my recipe shows. To promote this activity and give a stimulus to my people working in Bangalore and neighbouring areas, I myself would be there to interact with you all at Grand Magrath Hotel, Magrath Road, Near Garuda Mall, Bangalore on 19th February, 2010 from 11 a.m. onwards. So if you are looking for an opportunity this well could be your chance to start your own enterprise.

Simplicity sometimes enthrals! Well, in all humility, it enthrals me at all times! Had this rice Amma our cook had made yesterday: Tossed long grain basmati with grated cabbage, grated carrot and thinly sliced capsicum with only salt and pepper. Lovely flavours and very fragrant. I have thanked her for this new recipe! This also is a reminder that our Vegetarian Rice Special Feature is on line on www.sanjeevkapoor.com

As the book on Fussy Kids is ready for the printing house I go back to your queries about ‘how should we make our kid eat vegetables’! In every home there would be one story or the other about how kids have an aversion to vegetables! One can well think of peas lined up on the side of the plate or better still finding their way onto the neighbour’s plate. One friend’s dad (in his early 60s) first fishes out the mushrooms from the baked casserole and back it goes into the dish. Then who can blame children!

One has to think smart and then act smart too. Says my friend who is a practising paediatrician, children who eat fruit may be provided with the same minerals and vitamins as vegetables.

Let me tell you that a bit of trickery can always get those vegetables onto the plate. A puree in the ketchup can often go undetected as also grated carrots in dark honey cakes. Often it is felt that the child is not eating enough. Little does it strike us that one child’s serving can be half of an average adult’s. As in most homes, there is one child at least that avoids a meal…for the simple reason that the snacking around the mealtime has ruined the appetite. Here a bit of discipline is required. A few children thrive on fried foods. With potato chips, french fries, burgers and other Indian fast foods like wadas and pav bhaji being favourites, the parent is often worried by the lack of intake of proper nutritious meals. A sensible thing would be to keep fruit handy, all cut up in plate, around the kitchen area if dinner is likely to be delayed. The hungry horde will reach out for the fruit and in the process avoid less healthier in-between snacks. If the general feeling is that fat intake is on the higher side then skimmed milk can be given instead of full cream milk. And, of course, there is this brigade that screws up every little nose at the sight of a glass of milk! Despair not for a slice of cheese or a cup of yogurt supplies the same amount of calcium. Then outsmart them…slip in milk in puddings, soups and cereals.

Another battle front is sweets and chocolates. Ban them and they will eat at the neighbours or friends at the sly. Hence allow a quota and then no more. Kids are copycats…if the elders refrain from sweets the kids will soon follow. In fact this holds true even for the meals and eating habits.

Our kitchen has dished up a lovely lunch for our guests today who are here to take the TV Channel work a little bit further: we are having Pimento and Herb Rice, Grilled Chicken with Two Mushroom Sauce, Vegetable Casserole, Assorted Breads and Fruit Trifle.

Would also like to share these “smartened” recipes that you can serve to your children: Sprout Bhelpuri, Baked Potato Wedges.

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Fruits and Vegetables- Natural Healer

Monday brings a long to-do list! Trials for the soon-to-be-launched SK magazine are keeping us busy in the kitchen…what’s cooking? Wait a while! The ground work for the food channel is continuing in full force and I can hardly believe that six weeks of the new year have already gone by!

Yesterday was a quiet day at home: the gift of time for the family and my loved ones…nothing better yet! Had gone for a movie premiere with Alyona on Friday so I guess that was our special evening out.

I had a chance to read an article yesterday that suggested that it is easy for the doctors to say ‘put sodium, fat and calories on the moderate mode’ and feel healthy. They also say ‘have no cholesterol, but have more of fibre, vitamins A and C and antioxidants’. It does seem like a tall order but only for a fleeting second. Remember the solution lies in eating the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables everyday! The anxiety is just for this moment because fruits and vegetables are the most wonderful sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

The next time you go shopping, allocate a portion of the budget to red apples, ripe plump bananas, a pineapple, a papaya and even some cucumbers, tomatoes, beetroots, and greens. It is not to say do not buy the potatoes and onions, and peas and cabbage. By all means put all these and more in your bag. Fruits and vegetables contain some hundreds of phytochemicals with tongue twisting names. But these compounds are cancer fighting and well worth all the rupees spent on them. The thing is, no one fruit or vegetable has all the phytochemicals. That is why we need a variety. Tomatoes and watermelons have a particular type of carotenoid that is different from the beta-carotene in carrots and sweet potatoes. Broccoli has anti-cancer compounds and this is different from the cancer fighting sulfurous compounds found in garlic and onions. This clearly means that you just can’t eat tons of one fruit or one vegetable that you like and say you got your five servings! So let’s make a quick shopping list:
· Red fruits (tomatoes, watermelons, guavas)
· Cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli)
· Citrus (oranges, mosambis, lemons)
· Make you cry (onions, garlic)
· Orange veggies (carrots, pumpkins)

As the shopping is done, let us also help you out with some recipes. Like these ?
Cabbage Chana Dal, Surprise Orange, Grilled Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Cook with love and a smile

As 14th Feb is meant for an expression of love, the best would be to put in renewed effort and vigour in everyday cooking! Everyday cooking is the most mundane, most taken for granted but the very best way to keep the whole family healthy…so add just two more things in your masala box: love and a smile! See the difference!

I brought back picture of Manit from his birthday celebrations. They say you should learn unconditional love from a child. It is over a period of growing up and the ‘conditional’ love that we parents give so often that sets off the whole cycle of conditional loving. In fact the easiest love to give is unconditional love to your child.

On the work front, going to Nashik to attend The Food Festival under the aegis of Nashik Festival 2010 at Donagare Vasatigruha Maidan, Nashik. It is being organised by the Bhujbal Foundation and has the Grantha Yatra and Haat Bazaar too. I have been invited as Guest of Honour. It should be a one day trip.

The trial kitchen will soon be permeated with the smell of Kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass and other fragrant herbs as we put together a feature of Thai food made easy for the Indian kitchen. Thai food is extremely healthy too as a lot of vegetables are used. More on http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/ as the month turns.

I have been getting a lot of enquiries about non-stick cooking ware that is available in the market. There is some confusion about what is the best way to choose a particular brand. Well, your judgement is the best. I would go for something that is a little heavy in weight, has a smooth even finish with no rough edges, comes with warranty and they are not stingy with giving some wooden tools with it and seem fair-priced. The pans which start to flake from the coating should be discarded. In fact, use only wooden and silicon tools to cook in them.

For the weekend, try these easy chocolate desserts that will be greeted with great joy!
Choco Jamun Fondue, Chocolate Fruit Pizza, Chocolate Truffles.

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.