Of Pav Wadas and Pav Bhaji and all things yummy

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May 1 – Maharashtra Day, Labour Day (wonder why a holiday if it is “labour’day!) and also a day off. Needed this time off to keep my feet up for a while as next week is choc a bloc with travel plans – Delhi, Bahrain and then a holiday in Spain.

The show at Bangalore (Bengaluru) was a success: I made something new using prawns marinated in Thai Red Curry wrapped up in tender chicken slices. Turned out well and hope to put the recipe on site for you. I think all those who love to cook need to keep their creative juices flowing otherwise life becomes bland. The other day I was riffling through a magazine and came across a pic of bite sized pav wadas served skewered with a toothpick. Well, it is amazing what a little change in presentation can do. I liked the idea. That reminds me, pav wada is ‘the’ food of Mumbai and as a tribute to Maharashtra Day today I am going to share my favourite Maharashtrian dishes with you.

My association with Maharashtra is since childhood, Bombay being my f

ather’s hometown. At least every four year (hometown LTC) we used to come to Mumbai and get a taste of Bombay. (It wasn’t Mumbai then.) From a very early age my taste buds got accustomed to the tastes of urban Maharashtra, from Batata Vadas to Bhakarwadi, from Pav Bhaji to Poha, from Misal to Modak. Now as even my mouth begins to water let me share some recipes with


Missal Pav, Pav Wada, Pav Bhaji.

Gorge on these and enjoy a good weekend.

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Yesterday was probably a day that I will remember for a long long time. The formal launch of The Yellow Chilli in Ahmedabad. It is likely that I underestimated the love for food that Amdavadis nurture! I was overwhelmed by the media’s enthusiasm in covering the Press Conference yesterday afternoon. I was impressed by the way my team had things working like clock work all through the day. I am sure there were many a tense moment behind the scenes, the creases smoothened out by Rajeev Matta (COO), Saurabh Saxena and Jahid Inamdar. Thanks all and kudos to you. I am sure there were around seventy media persons who addressed their queries and answering them took more than a couple of hours! A short rest period and then it was time for the evening party which was graced by eminent personalities of Ahmedabad. I had a chance to have extensive conversations with Mr Vimal Ambani, IG, DGP and Commissioner Police, Mr Chonas of Havmor, representatives from Zydus, and columnist Esther David.
The food? Well, we had the tables really spread out! Most of the menu items were presented and the sweet tooth of Ahmedabad was truly and magnificently pampered with Chocolate cake, Mango cake, Gulab-e- Gulkand, Fruit jelly, Badam Halwa.

As visions of such great desserts come before you, let me share some more desserts here.

Mango souffle, Chocolate Mousse, Very low fat brownies.

Off now for the live demonstrations at The Kitchen Show (I am in Bengaluru!)…

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Time off, Launch of The Yellow Chilli – Ahmedabad

Hi this is going to be a short note as I am on holiday with family…a long pending one. We had been wanting this break, albeit too short, ever since the kids finished their exams.

Have been travelling a lot and the day after that is 28th April, Wednesday will be in Ahmedabad at The Yellow Chilli, 1st Floor, Heritage Square, Opposite Atlanta Tower, Gulbai Tekra, Ahmedabad – 380 015 for the opening and press conference.

This is the first The Yellow Chilli restaurant in Gujarat, with distinction of being the first pure vegetarian restaurant of this chain. With a capacity of a hundred covers and a private dining area of twenty covers, The Yellow Chilli promises an exciting and different menu with an exotic buffet to be laid out daily. All in all a culinary delight not to be missed. Keeping my fingers crossed.

The press conference is in the day only for media post which there is an exotic buffet. In the evening an exclusive Page 3 party only for the who is who of Ahmedabad. They say it is the preparation that counts and it is so true…even a pilot checks all readings before take off! I am sure my COO and good friend Rajeev has his fingers on the pulse!

May will be exciting on www.sanjeevkapoor.com. We have salads, kiddie recipes (for kids and adults, cooked by kids!), chatpati chaats and mango in its various moods …loads and loads of foods that are appropriate for summer eating.

But April should also end with good food, right?

Cucumber with Chicken and Fresh Red Chillies

Paan Kulfi

Sweet Mango Chutney

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Magnificent Mediterranean!

It was Alyona’s birthday yesterday and we had a small party at the office .Jyotsna , Alyona’s younger sister had come down with her son Manit for the party. The rest of the day went in meeting. Rajeev Matta, COO of our company is working and finalising the things for the launch of The Yellow Chilli, Ahemdabad which is scheduled next week .

It was just a week ago a thick cloud cover due to volcanic eruptions in Iceland disrupted air traffic big time in UK and Europe, our plans for a holiday in Portugal are still not fixed. But I am sure it will happen and we will enjoy the joys of Mediterranean food for a short while.

It is funny how everyone raves about the Mediterranean diet but the fact is that there is actually no formulated ‘Mediterranean’ diet! Well, the word Mediterranean actually covers an enormous variety of restaurants, cooking styles, ingredients, and ethnic influences. But what else can one expect because there are at least 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea! Diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country. Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets. But the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:

  • high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds. The large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Mediterranean diet play a number of roles in protecting the human body. Fruits are high in fibre and rich in nutrients that help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Among the protective substances are carotenoids and vitamins C and E.
  • olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source. More than half the fat calories in a Mediterranean diet come from monounsaturated fats (mainly from olive oil). Monounsaturated fat does not raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fat does.
  • dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten. They have plenty of access to the sea, so fish is found in plenty on the plates. That means they are getting loads of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acid
  • eggs are consumed zero to four times a week.
  • wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts.
  • grains are had in substantial quantities like in baguettes, pasta, polenta, couscous…all of these complex carbohydrates translate into loads of low fat energy.

But when you step out to eat in a Mediterranean eatery, do not think all you have to is reach out for the napkin, look ready to eat and immediately a heart friendly platter of vegetables and pasta will appear! A conventional restaurant meal can carry loads of hidden fat so understand that having pasta and salad in not really an assured low fat meal. But what you can do is request them to give the sauce on the side. And the grated Parmesan too, and even the salad dressing on the side. That way you could probably have a little control! Another popular Italian order is that of lasagna. Well, this too has some dark interiors! It is a high fat cheese dish with little pasta. Understand that having lasagna is like having equivalent calories of two huge burgers. One more much loved article is the garlic bread. It is typically sopping with oil or butter. Instead order plain bread, and if you must, apply a thin smear of butter on it. Just as yummy. Well, what about pizza? From the crust you get carbohydrates, from the cheese you get protein and calcium and from the sauce and vegetable toppings you get vitamins A and C. Most pizzas get a respectable 25 to 30 percent of their calories from fat. But be careful, add a meat topping and the fat count jumps above 40 percent!

But all things said and done, why not make these things at home because they are easy to dish out !

Chunky pasta and vegetable stew, Pan Pizza, Vegetable Lasagne.

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Make your own convenience store

A few days ago I had discouraged you from frozen foods and many of you have asked me you do not want to as the attractions are too many in the malls plus the convenience of cooking. We do expect a lot from frozen foods, don’t we? This is got me thinking and now as we turn more health conscious we can expect to see frozen foods that are low in calories, low in fat content and have less sodium. But one word of caution. You cannot always judge the frozen food by its cover. Not even by the delicious picture that goes on the cover or the catchy name on it.

Well, one simple rule while shopping. Read the label. Check the total calories. See the portion size. They may be smaller than what you expect them to be. This is a smart way used by the packagers to keep fat levels down. Look for the percentage of calories from fat, not on the number of calories. Often fewer calories mean less food, not necessarily less fat. This is what we mentioned earlier about smaller portion sizes. They might put in some type of sauce to make a mini meal look complete but you will have to rustle up a salad and finish off with a piece of fruit to satisfy the appetite. Some prepackaged preparations come with handy sachets of readymade sauces. Skip this product and skimp on the calories and sodium. We have to be more realistic about this.

Look out when shopping for frozen eats! Here’s the what and why:
Read the ingredients: Some cases meat might not be all meat. It might be mixed with soy or wheat products. This makes it lower in fat. The taste might not be different but the portions certainly become heartier. If the label says it is a cheese dish and the list of ingredients reads cheese way down on it then you know this is cheating hence forget picking it up. It is safer to buy a product with generous amount of low fat cheese than buy something that cheats.

Always supplement your frozen meal with lots of either frozen or steamed vegetables which are quick and convenient. Remember the recommendation is to have five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. As for desserts, you could indulge in fruit yogurt etc but remember they are still sweetened with sugar and can be high in calories.

Why not make your own freezer work wonders for you in the convenience department?

Happy cooking
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Tips on hydration

The other day I heard Alyona pressing Kriti to have more water to drink. This got me thinking. So how much water is enough for you? Or better still how much is needed on a daily basis? Well, I know for sure that an average healthy individual should consume 1500 – 2500 ml of water per day for proper functioning of the body and to prevent dehydration, constipation, urinary infection etc and this requirement is based on the dietetic habits, climate and physical activities. With meals, a moderate amount will not dilute the digestive juices but do not drink copious amounts. As summer has fully embraced us hydration at the right moments becomes more and more important for an active person. If you are travelling, ensure some extra glasses of water a day before and on the day of the trip. While in flight, keep in consideration the low humidity levels, so have one glass of water for every hour in the air. Summer sears so needless to say, as the temperature outside rises, the water intake should increase! In fact, if you know you are going to be in the warm outdoors for long, spruce up with lots of water. Even summer colds and flus can lead to dehydration. Be careful because it does not help the sickness. Drink more water and fight the germs. You’ll get better sooner. And yes, the cup that cheers, that is tea and for some coffee – these liquids brighten the mood but they are sure dehydraters. For every cup of beverages like these, drink up a glass of water.

Why not also eat foods that have a high water content? Watermelon has the highest content of water (95.8%). Another good food is cabbage. Milk and fruits have around 70 % whereas solids like bread, eggs, fowl, rice, wheat range between 10 and 50 %.

Here are some recipes, clean and light, but brimming with full flavour. So enjoy and know that your body is in the process of hydration!

Mango Panna, Homestyle mixed vegetable soup, Cucumber Koshimbir

Be cool.
Sanjeev Kapoor

There are sweet smells and sour smells, and the smell of sugar syrup on the boil, and the smell of pungent raw mango….all from our kitchen where new pickles are being tried out for you! I am sure most homes have the same activity in these weeks.

Also happening is a lot of decluttering …time to pick up and throw out the culprits like the foods that can cause any diet to falter. No matter what diet you are following, these few foods I will list are the ones that anyone serious about losing weight should give a miss:

White bread is really tasty. Especially when there is a nice layer of butter one slice and jam on the other! There is a good reason to love white bread. Most of us grew up on it! Plus, it is easy to like the taste of it better than whole grain varieties. White bread digests much quicker than whole wheat and therefore leaves you feeling hungry much sooner.

Fizzy drinks – This ‘sugar water’ is full of empty calories that go down so easily. Just one serving of regular cola packs in more than a hundred calories. But how many of us stop at just one serving? Go back for refills at your favourite fast food eatery and you can easily consume thousands of liquid calories in one sitting.
Juice sounds healthy, but fruit juice can pack in as many — if not more — calories than sweet aerated drinks. Go for the freshly squeezed citrus juices and try to avoid the pre-packed tetra packs. They only offer a momentarily quenching of thirst at convenience but the price to pay for this is heavy!
Frozen foods – Fish sticks and chicken nuggets may be convenient as they are easy to cook in the microwave, absolutely ready in seconds but they always mean diet disaster. They have been deep fried long before they have made their way to your freezer. Stick with fish and chicken as your protein choices, they are great for a low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet. Ensure to choose broiled, grilled, steamed and roasted varieties instead. Dairy is good for us because of its nutrient-content, particularly for women, who need calcium to prevent osteoporosis. But full-fat dairy products like whole milk and regular cheese are very not waistline-friendly in the least.

Well, the fact is that no one can always avoid fattening foods all the time. Remember, when it comes to long-term weight management, small changes are the ones you will find it easier to stick with. Try these low fat foods but tasty foods: Chicken stew, Apple Slaw, Chutney Lassi.

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.