Come September

A wow month awaits! There are festivals and feasts that bring so much good cheer…the rains continue to bless Mumbai and I think we have a reason to smile.

So on www.sanjeevkapoor.com, come September, we not only make you smile but also tell you some reasons why Laughter is the best medicine. As the monsoon continues, look out for Food Poisoning (we have some tips). Those who think their kitchen is small, learn some exciting storage tips and also many many festive recipes that will load your table with glee.

I have noticed that the potato is one thing that is an extremely versatile….it is not only meant for chips and crisps plus it is not the tuber that is fattening, it is the treatment we give it that makes it so. In days gone, the potato was blamed for those extra inches around the waist because of its starch content. But now the blame has shifted onto bread which has three times the calories! Potato has a high starch content but it is energy-giving and is also valuable source of vitamin C. It also has considerable amount of protein of high biological value and also alkaline salts. In addition it is rich in soda, potash and vitamins A and B.

As technology makes it presence felt on many foods, so has the potato been washed and pre-packed mechanically, canned, turned into crisp, frozen chips and instant mash. There are innumerable ways and recipes for using the potato… according to some tidbit I came across in a book 500 or so ways… and the most exciting is of course, chips! Crisp on the outside and juicy inside, chips are winners all the way. But there are some not so exciting facts connected to the consumption of chips. Take a look: a 100 gms of raw potato produces 85 gms of baked potato (which provide 87 calories). The same amount of raw potato makes 50 gms of chips (210 calories) or 44 gms of potato crisps (245 calories). Now which version of the humble potato would you go for?

Whatever may be the case, the fact remains that potatoes are a versatile sort that can
do wonders to any meal. But it is recommended that potatoes are more nutritious with the peel on. Upto a quarter of a potato’s protein is lost by peeling because the protein is most highly concentrated just below the skin. And if a peeled potato is boiled, up to half of its vitamin C content is dissolved. So to retain as much goodness as possible, bake or boil unpeeled potatoes. Green skin however should preferably be removed – it contains a detrimental alkaloid.

So you can have a potato soup, or jacket potatoes, chips and crisps, add them to pies or other vegetables, casseroles, you name it. I love the Caldo Verde soup in which mashed potatoes form the basic ingredient. It is a perfect beginning to a sumptuous meal, is easy to prepare and above all is simply delicious and wholesome. As potato can be stored in your kitchen, especially during the rainy days, I have a variety of potato goodies lined up for you.


Broccoli, Aloo aur Tofu ki sabzi
Sukhe Aloo
Aloo Tikki Chaat

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor

Sweet confessions

It’s time for mithai and then some more mithais. With Rakshabandhan gone, it will be time for Ganpati next month, and soon Dassera, Diwali, Christmas….who wouldn’t want some new Indian festive recipes then!

For us in India, happiness means sweets, mithais or mishthan call what you may! Mithais seem to have won the taste buds the world over and gourmet Indian food and Indian sweets have extremely high visibility these days. Be it the fudge like dry sweetmeat barfis and pedas, or the syrupy gulab jamuns and rosogullas that require a bowl and a spoon, the sticky deep fried balushahis and gujiyas, the fragrant hot halwas and jalebis, round besan laddoos and motichoor laddoos, creamy milk puddings like rice kheer or seviyan and then shahi tukre.

All the sweets that we eat with so much relish today seem to have their roots in the past. Today the sweets are almost the same only the names have changed. There are commonly known sweets that were prepared then as they are now like ghevar, jalebi, boondi laddoos, churma laddoos etc. Ghevar, the delicious, juicy sweet made of refined flour, sugar and ghee has been mentioned in the Mahabharata as ghrita pur. Now Rajasthan is the best place to taste a good ghevar. Would you believe it if I told you that jalebis were known as kundalika which as a sweet delicacy was served specially during marriage feasts. Jalebis go back to 4th and 2nd centuries BC. In ancient classical literature boondi laddoos were named bindumodak laddoos. Churma laddos erstwhile dahitra laddoos had almonds, pistachios, raisins, dry dates, dry coconut and peppercorns. Let us talk about the half moons known as karanjis in Maharashtra and as gujiyas otherwise. Called sanyavas in ancient times it is believed that karanjis were prepared in a special manner with ingredients having medicinal values like cardamoms, aniseeds, dry coriander, cinnamon etc. These sanyavas were administered as medicinal cure for those who suffered from cough and cold. Suji halwa was mohan bhog. In ancient times the custom of serving it first thing in the morning was meant for lubricating the entire system thereby making the body strong and improving the complexion too. Meethe chawal, sakharbhaat in Maharasthra, had the old name of sharkara bhakta.

It is a fact that our forefathers with their expert knowledge of Indian cookery prepared delicious sweets that must have been the gourmet’s delight. We do seek to probe deeper into our ancient literature to seek information and then go on to create many more recipes with a definite change in taste. For then, there is this thing called evolution: of recipes, of palates and where the twain meet, it is the latest trend.


Fig and Apricot Sandesh
Instant Gulab Jamun
Mohanthaal

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Dine not on these

What are the foods that make good morning snacks or lunches and are not wanted for dinner? There are certain foods that take a long time to be digested properly. It is best recommended that such foods be taken only when you are sure you have enough time for them to be digested before you retire for sleep. Late night dinners cause problems for some. Even if you do have a good digestion power, heavy dinners are not recommended for long-term healthy living.
Fried chips, burgers, tikkis, batter-fried nuggets etc are a strict no-no. These foods are high in fat, are greasy and pose tough problems for the digestive juices. If you must have them, have them early in the day …or then go for baked alternatives.
Orange, grapefruit, lemon juice all have acidic bases. And can possibly harm the lining of the stomach when the stomach’s own juices are lethargic at night. An empty stomach in the morning has a strong acidic medium because no food has been put in it. Those who have orange juice on an empty stomach are adding acid to acid and this can create a stomach ache or later acid reflux problems. Have a glass of fresh juice at midday as a snack. Synthetic juices are avoidable because of the high sugar content.
Ice cream makes the quickest dessert after a nice dinner, right? It is also the slowest of all the foods to be digested because the fat takes the longest to break down! Ice creams with their high fat content can cause bloating, cramping and gas if had late at night. We certainly do not recommend that you have it for breakfast but as a snack, and if your daily calorie count allows, ice cream is fun.
Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are a nutritious lot and loved in salads. Being rich in fibre they are healthy but for one reason are dismissed from many plates: they cause gas build-up in the gut when had raw. The solution is simple, lightly blanch them and add to salads. Cooking deactivates the sulphur compounds that cause gas.
If you have stopped having beans because they give you gas trouble, I suggest you keep trying them till your stomach produces enough enzymes to be able to digest them. The enzyme needed to break down beans is found only in our stomach bacteria. And if you don’t routinely eat beans, you might not have enough of this enzyme to comfortably digest them. The result, of course, is that once in while helping of beans gives you gas and bloating. Beans are the healthiest thing around so be open to having them regularly.
Believe it or not chocolate! You must be sorely disappointed to read this, but yes, chocolate can cause distress. But only if you overeat it! Forewarned is forearmed so one occasional treat of a brownie or milk chocolate is recommended but not a big feast of it. But anyone who suffers from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can experience problems from even a small portion of chocolate. That’s because chocolate causes the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach acid to come back up.
Food with the kick of peppers is fun to have but can also irritate the lining of the oesophagus on the way down. The result: an unpleasant heartburn-like feeling after you eat. So rather than trying to mask spice with high-fat cream, opt for milder versions if you routinely suffer side effects.
So what is a good dinner dish? Try these suggestions!



Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Have a calcium storehouse

Why is it that kids are calcium deficient in spite of healthy diets? We all know where the problem lies and it is time to address it! Kids drink milk but they drink aerated drinks too…and much more than what was consumed twenty years ago. At every stage, from infancy to adolescence, calcium is one nutrient that kids simply cannot afford to take lightly. Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves and the release of hormones. If blood calcium levels are low (due to poor calcium intake), calcium is taken from the bones to ensure normal cell function. When children get enough calcium and physical activity during childhood and the teen years, they can start out their adult lives with the strongest bones possible.

During childhood and adolescence, the body uses the mineral calcium to build strong bones – a process that is all but complete by the end of the teen years. Bone calcium begins to decrease in young adulthood and progressive loss of bone occurs as we age, particularly in women. Teens, especially girls, whose diets do not provide the nutrients to build bones to their maximum potential are at greater risk of developing the bone disease osteoporosis, which increases the risk of fractures from weakened bones.

Of course, milk and other dairy products are good sources of calcium. And milk and some other dairy products contain added Vitamin D, which is also important for bone health. However, do not overlook the other healthy calcium-fortified foods, including orange juice, soy products and bread. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, so it is important to have enough of this nutrient as well. Made by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is also found in fortified dairy and other products, fish, and egg yolks.

Always remain motivated to be involved in regular physical activities and exercise, which are very important to bone health. Weight-bearing exercises such as jumping rope, jogging and walking can also help develop and maintain strong bones. In fact, current scientific evidence suggests that, for kids and teens, exercise may be even more strongly linked to better bone health than calcium intake.

Apple Rabdi

Fruit Kheer with Custard
Paneer Kheer

Take care
Sanjeev Kapoor

Do something different today

Planning a dinner party at home when everyone wants vegetarian food is a challenge! Why, because I want to do something different and put on the table a variety that will be most remembered. So focusing on starters because I know when your guests come in, a little weary and wet because of the rains, they are hungry and would simply love some crisp and hot starters…and if your starters are huge, then the main course can be a little light and then again fill up with desserts. So I plan to make veg seekh kababs under the grill alongside paneer shashlik, rice paper rolls with veggies (from the kadai), hara bhara kabab (from the frying pan). This way I satisfy all types of palates…both that enjoy low calorie food and others that do not mind the not so low calorie food! Topping this with a lovely veg biryani, lulla mussa dal and hot paranthas. Incidentally, we are making LMD after a long time at home and the kids have asked us to make enough of it so that they can enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. Yes, the desserts too will come in a as a surprise: Chocolate mousse with coffee, Apricot cheesecake and Kheer Kadam with Chocolate Ganache and all will be bite sized.
Travelling tomorrow to Bangalore as there an interactive cooking session with executives of a top end IT company. They will cook along with me and I am sure that will be enjoyable and fun.

I will use this opportunity to give you the recipes that I have used today.


Hara Bhara Kabab
Veg Seekh Kababs

Vegetable Biryani

Let’s enjoy together!
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Wet weather, whetted appetites!

As the monsoon looks well settled over Mumbai and in no hurry to go, we might as well look at stimulating samples of food called appetizers. These may be called as starters or an ice breaker for a party. These are finger foods usually served prior to a meal and may range from the very simple to the very complex, depending on the occasion and the time devoted to making them. Ideally appetizers should be easy to handle with just a napkin and easy to eat in one to two bites. This way guests can continue to mingle without needing to carry around food laden plates. Some ideas:

• Try a simple plate of cheese and crackers
• Keep a tray with batons of crisp vegetables called crudités and serve it with a dip
• Canapé baskets filled with a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian stuffing
• Kababs – these can be served hot from the grill or tandoor! Have a variety of chicken and fish as also vegetarian. Ensure that the cooking areas are different.

How does one know how many appetizers will be enough? Follow a simple rule: allow six to seven appetizers per person per hour. If you do not know all the food preferences of your guests, be sure that you have something substantial for vegetarians.

• Garnish or line serving trays with lettuce leaves/shredded lettuce or cabbage leaves. You can also line bowls with cabbage leaves.
• Serve the dip in interesting containers like a hollowed out cabbage, or a hollowed loaf of uncut bread, pumpkins or watermelons.
• Place appetizers in multiple locations rather than having one table. This encourages your guests to move around more.
Prepare trays of appetizers before hand in the kitchen so you can quickly refill. Appetizers served before a buffet or full dinner are optional. But remember that they do reduce the intake of dinner food, but only about ten percent. If you do choose to serve an appetizer, remember there is a meal following immediately. And yes, try to select complementary foods.

Some vegetarian appetizers that you can try out this very evening!


Peanut Tikki

Stuffed Potato Shells
Mirchi Roll

Happy Cooking!
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Proud to be an Indian

Ever wondered what makes Indian food so hot outside the country? And there are so many factors in play.

Take the Indian diaspora. That’s a special lot! Some years ago an Indian would settle abroad occupied as a taxi driver or a gas station attendant. Now we have our people in the IT sector big time, medical research and practicing doctors, there are space scientists too…these people might be residing in distant lands but have succeeded because of their single minded and focused hard work. This enhances the respectability of the country and of course, the awareness about Indian food goes up. As these residents crave for home cooked food specially the popular dishes like Murgh Makhni, Palak Paneer and the ubiquitous Naan there are establishments that provide them and the locals too get interested generally. There is a demand for Indian restaurants and hence they are mushrooming.

Take globalization. MNCs look at India for business. And as they set foot here and make India their base their palates get accustomed to our style of cooking. They appreciate it, in fact it is easy to get addicted to Indian food. I have noticed that among this breed the most sought after dishes are the Tandoori Chicken and Biryani. You just have to see them polishing off these delicacies and you know you have the winners. As a result over the past few years, there has been tremendous global interest in Indian cuisine and eateries.

Take tourism. With the sort of influx of tourists that our country attracts there are open channels for food likings to go out into foreign kitchens too. This is a well-accepted and simple fact that a well-traveled person knows a lot about foreign foods. Well, there are exceptions, but as you will see there is a positive aspect of these exceptions too. When our Gujaratis and Jains travel out of the country they carry their own food like Chhunda, Thepla, Aloo ki Sukhi Sabzi, Murmura Chiwda and being the ever hospitable people that they are offer them to their newly made friends in the foreign lands. Hence they qualify as messengers propagating the cause of Indian cuisine. Their diet choices are looked after by the travel companies and they in turn set up kitchens abroad. So there is a lot of Indian food being cooked out there!

Take the information era. Websites on food thrive. Our www.sanjeevkapoor.com has ninety percent of its subscribers who are not residing in India. Then we have food shows abroad and also well accepted cookery books. All this, in a slow trickle, add to the ocean of the greatness of Indian cuisine.

Take the food exports. Ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat ranges from India, be it simple home recipes of dals and vegetables, be it pickles, chutneys or snacks are in the foreign market. And the demand is growing.

Friends, Indian food abroad is no longer confined to ‘chicken tikka masala and naan’. It would surprise you to know that Indian restaurants abroad are doing spectacular business. Our experiences with Khazana and Options in Dubai are very pleasant.

It is also enlightening to know that some experimental cooking headed by a new generation of Indian Chefs abroad have created new dishes that are so good that they are appearing on menus here at home! The tastes of the customers have changed with more and more people steering away from the korma and masala dishes, eating more savoury dishes like Garlic Chicken or Rogan Josh. Ethnic is exotic, ethnic is in! Indian is hot, Indian is in!

To mark the Independence Day Celebrations we at Khana Khazana are all dressed in traditional white…looks nice and cool…so here’s wishing you a pleasant weekend with lots of good things in store!

Shaam Savera

Sundried Tomato and Spinach Naan

Tiranga Paneer Tikka

Sanjeev Kapoor