Mini celebration today, re-instate sherbets

Those who finish their ICSE finals today will be relieved, jubilant, feeling free! Rachita, my older daughter, wants to party but Kriti my younger one is still in the midst of her final exams! Well, Alyona can best handle the situation I feel. Rachita was also telling me about some of the smses that have already started doing the rounds for April Fools Day…I mean, this is misusing technology but I guess it is the order of the day.

Off to Dubai and as I have already told you about the Zee Dubai Mega Mela let me also tell you that the food demos have something in store for you: something new and intriguing and brand new compositions, something I call zara hat ke, that are of course, easy to do at home but with an exotic finish. Now, I am not going to reveal the recipes here, YET. I am going to demonstrate two recipes on each of the three days April 1, 2 and 3.

What I also want to do is re-introduce the joys of drinking sherbet at home. This will definitely decrease the ‘need’ for aerated drinks and introduce traditional cooling methods at home. In the earlier times medicinal herbs, vegetable extracts, roots and sandalwood were added to enhance the therapeutic and nutritional properties of sherbets. These were truly healthy! But with time the pure ingredients have slowly made their way out. Sherbets are not just sweet coloured beverages. They are high in vitamin content and are rich sources of natural antioxidants. As most of them are sugar syrup based one should remember that they have calories as well. Sherbets maintain and adjust the body’s water and electrolyte balance, encourage the function of liver and kidneys, check vomiting, diarrhoea and indigestion. The organic types are pure syrups of fruits or floral extracts. You can choose from orange, pineapple, carrot, watermelon, rose, kewra. Synthetic sherbets are made with essences and are not high on my favourite drinks list. Moreover they are slightly acidic too. There is no limit to the types of synthetic sherbets that can be produced!

So what to look out for? Gulab or rose sherbet: Highly held as a blood purifier. If it is made from pure gulab jal that has been distilled from desi gulab petals, then you have something that is anti-acidic, anti-flatulent and rich in antioxidants. Khus sherbet is the pure extract of khus roots. It relieves acidity and purifies blood. The khus extract is obtained through a meticulous process and is blended with herbs to enhance the quality. Intake of khus syrup gives instant relief from heat stroke. It has diuretic properties too. Chandan sherbet is an exotic extract of edible chandan derived through conventional methods. Traditionally it was used as a sedative but it is equally efficient as a cardiac tonic, a stimulant and an antiseptic. It has a soothing effect on skin through its blood purifying properties. It can also be used to alleviate gastric irritability. I could go on about zafrani and badam and faalsa and kokum…..but going to catch a flight now.

And now to give foods a twist and increase the pleasures of April 1.

Cheese Fondue with Pavbhaji Masala

Paan Kulfi

Hariyali Paneer Makhani

Till later then,

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Keep your cool .

If Mumbai is close to 32-36 deg now in March, wonder how things will be some more weeks later! We are feeling the heat! The only solution to keep away from the heat is to remain confined indoors and if possible in the lap of air- conditioned luxury. But life has to go on and there is work to do. The Yellow Chilli is nearly ready and I will be busy in Ahemdabad with that coming month, but first, flying off to Dubai for the Dubai Mela. Will be there from April 1-3.

So how would you brave the elements? The principles are simple: dress simply and wear light coloured cottons, exercise early in the morning or in late evenings, drink a lot of water and fluids and shower more than once a day. Spray on the deodorant lavishly and get that hair cut short. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses and hat and never venture out without them. As far as food intake is concerned indulge in light meals and cold soups and crisp salads. Indulge in homemade ice creams. Mix and match fruity flavours and enjoy.

Salads can be trimmed – replace oil dressings with low fat or yogurt-based dressings. Yogurt has a lot of digestive and cooling properties and it is a confirmed summer food! Make a tall glass of sweet lassi or a salty chaas with roasted cumin powder. Smoothies made with yogurt and fresh fruits are also nourishing beverages in summers. Some summer fruits like melons are best had raw and in handsome quantities.

The electricity bills too go upwards in summers! A good tip I have got from a friend is to keep the air filters in the air conditioners clean and dust free. They are more effective. Also keep the curtains drawn during the day to keep the sun out. Another creative thought is to fill up the hot water bottle with chilled water. Wipe dry and let it cool your bed before you retire.

Chilled delights wait: Yogurt and Chickoo Icecream, Tiramisu Icecream, Jelly Belly Icecream.

Many of you must be ready for the pickling season. Some tips for you next time I write.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Be energised in five easy steps

Good to be back home from Tokyo. What greets you when you land in Mumbai? Obvious answer is heat! And the heat saps one’s energy. How many of you feel almost depleted of energy at least three to four days a week? The first day after the weekend could be one of those days! Then somehow the following three days are mechanical. The day before the weekend break somewhat drags along! A lot of us feel the same simply because our energy levels are not up to the mark. If we keep our body fit the stamina is sustained and the basic requirement for sustained stamina is good nutrition every single day.

I have also met some people who ‘think’ they are leading healthy lifestyles. But they too need to rethink because they also feel a lack of energy throughout the day. It may be easy to grab a cup of coffee or energy drink for a quick pick-me-up, but how about including some energy boosting habits into your lifestyle instead? Secret 1: don’t sleep till late on weekends. You’ll wake up feeling sluggish and tired and feel as if you can’t find your bearings for several hours. Secret 2: we say breakfast is a must! A breakfast with high protein, low calories will keep you alert and awake. 3rd tip: Don’t skip snacks. If you have decided you’re going lose a little weight by cutting out all those midday snacks, but you may be doing more harm than good. Try not to go more than four hours without food if possible. The longer you go without food the hungrier you will be and when you finally do eat you actually may overeat. By eating small snacks throughout the day you are keeping your stomach partially full and are less likely to extend the limit at the big meals. Try to eat snacks that are high in water content like fruits, vegetables, a small salad, or even a soup. A small bit of cheese or a few nuts is another healthy choice. Tip no. 4: Watch the water intake! Stay hydrated, especially before you exercise. And of course have your eight glasses a day. 5 and very important tip: take exercise seriously! Don’t skip the warm up or cool down when exercising. These five basic steps will make you feel energetic throughout the week. To help you along I will link you up with some healthy recipes. Salad greens with Strawberry Vinaigrette, Beetroot Chaas, Brown Pohe.

Soon I will be travelling again. To Dubai. There for the Zee Dubai Mega Mela, an open-air festival celebrating Asian culture taking place from 1-3 April at the Amphitheatre in Dubai Media City. Live shows, loads of good food is waiting for you!

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor.