Juggling between schedules!

November is over, and finally we feel the chills of the winter (even if it’s only after sunset!). But for us Mumbaiites even this much is more than enough, atleast we get to say that finally, for us also, “the winter has arrived!” Try out some of my winter favourites like Ginger tea,Chettinad fried chicken and Wholesome khichadi.
Besides this, I surely am looking forward to an engaging and exciting schedule which is waiting for me in the weeks to come. Just like this morning, I started pretty early with a 9.00 o’ clock shoot with Bloomberg TV for a programme titled Smart Money on the sets at our in-house studio. Here, I spoke about why people should invest in food and restaurant business.
Immediately after this I had to catch up the promo recording for Canada Radio for the promotion of the food products for which I am supposed to travel to Toronto in the coming days. Unfortunately, the shoot extended and I could not complete it and had to postpone it for the evening.
Next on the schedule was my one-to-one interview with the electronic and print media at Taj Land’s End, Bandra for my upcoming TV channel FOODFOOD. While I rushed for this event, I found out that coincidently today’s HT Café, Mumbai also has a news piece about the upcoming channel.
Starting tomorrow, for the next three days I can already smell the busy air around me. I will be caught up with the shooting of my new show on a new set for the new channel. I hope to do something majorly different this time than the usual Khana Khazana that I have been religiously doing on ZeeTV for the last 17 years.
And amidst all of this, there has been extensive shopping going on for all this. So, everybody else is also enjoying and having a gala time!
As I wind up, happenings at our office include the visit of an expert halwai from a leading brand. He was here last week to demonstrate the art of making mithais to our chefs. I’m sure the Rasgulla, Cham Cham, Rajbhog, Rasmalai and Malai Sandwich which he taught, satisfied the sweet buds of everyone in the office!
Till I write again…
Sanjeev Kapoor

Christmas dinner recipes – a great legacy

Traditional Christmas dinner recipes have some interesting origins. In olden times Egyptians treated goose as their celebratory bird but latter turkey emerged on the English tables. In a matter of time the American cranberries became accessible and cranberry juice is an quintessential Christmas beverage.
The world has been celebrating Christmas since centuries and traditional Christmas dinner recipes vary from country to country. There are some basic ones that have interesting origins.
Christmas ham is believed to have existed much before the advent of Christianity. Even in these times, Christmas ham with scalloped potatoes on the side, aspic salads and Christmas cookies make a wonderful Christmas meal. You could also try a Christmas Sour Cream Potato Salad for a variation.
Humble pie, derived from the term umble pie, has been traditionally made using different body parts of deer mainly heart, liver, brain which were specifically known as “humbles” by the servants of nobility who used to enjoy the more forms of meat. Humble pie became an integral part of Christmas dinners around the 17th century. For those who always look at options, we can offer Mini Soya Cottage Pies and Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.
Mincemeat pie, originated around the 16th century, and had actual minced meat with added preserved fruits for flavour. As the recipes evolved, the meat and the meat fat was omitted and the pie came out to a completely sweet dessert nicely flavoured with spices and brandy or rum. It is still a custom to top individual mincemeat pies with a star shaped pastry top! Another suggestion could be a Prune Tart that is made with apricot jam, prunes and fresh plump plums.
Interestingly, plum pudding was initially a soup made using meats with dried plums, wine and spices. The plums and meats were later removed, and raisins along with eggs and breadcrumbs were added which also added to thickness of the soup. The word plum was generally used for any dried fruit in 17th century. For an easy recipe click on Christmas pudding.

Christmas dinner recipes: A touch of Goa

India is a land of diversity and various religions and cultures have ruled the heart of Indians since time immemorial. So we get a chance to celebrate a lot of festivals too in our way. Christmas is just one of them. And Goa, amongst all the regions in the country, forms the epicenter of the Christmas celebrations in the country. With Christians forming the majority in Goa, every year Christmas is celebrated with great poise and elegance. And of course with celebrations, comes food. Goa has a distinct way of presenting its Christmas cuisines to the world. It’s rich landscape, beautiful beaches and calm atmosphere just adds a new taste to the flavour. The main items consist of puddings, rich meat and tempting fish dishes.
From the fact that all the local bakeries and hotels are jam packed day in and day out during Christmas season it is not hard to predict that how much the world is in love with Goan food during Christmas. The major dishes include:
Sorpatel, one of the oldest curry forms prepared in Goa and an integral part of Christmas cuisine. Made from pork meat and liver, its spicy taste just reflects the richness of the Goan food during festivals.
Pork Vindaloo, a tangy dish which becomes a part of the main course of Christmas cuisine in Goa. The best combination includes this dish with plain, boiled or jeera rice.
Bebinca, a famous desert prepared in Goa. This dish takes ample of time for preparation, but the outcome of patience is amazingly sweet.
Besides these dishes, the other Christmas dinner recipes we can suggest are Chocolate Walnut Fudge, Prawn Balchao, Chicken Cafreal, Fish Xacuti.
So, if you are a foodie and you want to celebrate Christmas and New Year, then you know which the best place to be in is!

This week love your greens

I love this time of the year: the dustiness of a hot October being cleaned up by the slight breeze of November and in the hope of a better cooler clime the body does get energized! What do you say? Yes, December is around the corner and in our office the air is filled, not with the aroma of Christmas cakes and cookies, but of sweet khoya being pan roasted for barfis and pedas….my team is totally inspired after the workshop with the professional halwai from Makhanbhog and good stuff is being dished out everyday!
Other things that keep our office abuzz – Wonderchef events on 24th in Vashi and 25th in Malad….Chef Anupa Das will use the amazing range of Wonderchef cookware to dish out some traditional Indian greats: so you can learn how to cook Dum Paneer Kalimirch, Soya Shaami Kabab and Double Ka Meetha on the spot plus get to taste the freshly made food!
Our website is plush with the colour of greens and if you browse through the GO GREEN recipes you would be amazed at the splendour of the winter greens that we do not take full advantage of. This week, make the most of leafy vegetables in your daily diet and I will give you my personal favourites right away!
Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Indian starters – Kababs and much more

Appetizers whet the appetite. They are best called stimulating samples: a sample of something that is meant to stimulate an interest. A good start to a formal meal or a party could be a serving of these ‘ice breakers’ or starters and appetizers! 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. Appetizers are perfect with aperitifs, cocktails served prior to a meal.
Appetizers are planned in a big way at weddings and also at long parties. In fact, there are some parties that serve a variety of appetizers in huge quantities because there is no main course to follow. Appetizers are an especially good idea when guests are consuming alcohol, since they help to cut down on alcohol absorption.
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 are the epitome of Indian starters – 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.
When you decide to serve appetizers, think about foods that will go well together, but vary in flavour and taste. For example, perhaps you would like to serve grilled prawns. This is a great choice, but some guests may be allergic to seafood or shellfish. In addition to the prawns, consider other appetizers such as stuffed mushroom caps, or small tikkis in easily handled sizes. Something on toothpicks like Angoori Paneer Tikka, Cheese and Vegetable Balls, Kumbh Shashlik are ideal. It is appropriate to serve both hot and cold appetizers, but perfectly fine to serve all cold or all hot dishes.
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.
An extra touch:
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.
Serve cold foods such as vegetables, prawns and cubed cheese in a ring of ice.
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.

Just a quick session, to begin the day with!

A lot has been happening in the Khana Khazana office this week and the weeks prior to this. So, I just decided to have an informal get-together with my staff and share with them the events (Not, that my staff did not know anything, it’s just that I feel really good whenever I get to meet all my staff together and share things with them!).
The most important news in KK right now happens to be the finalising of the much awaited deal for our venture into television broadcast with a 24×7 cookery channel. I shared with my staff, how the channel is a result of an enormous amount of hardwork that has been put into it. I had to congratulate them as well!
By God’s grace, we’ll be starting it by the end of December 2010 or the first week of January 2011 (I’m really excited and pepped-up for this project and hope similar is the case with my staff!).
I am happy that amongst the other hosts, some of the shows on the channel will be hosted by our very own Chef Harpal and Chef Anupa Das. A new channel also means that we need to expand our staff and require more people to be on the run (most of the time that is, if not 24×7!). So, we are on the lookout for fresh and dynamic blood, ready to accept new challenges and make the best of an opportunity like this.
I am glad I could spend quite sometime with my staff and encourage them to inculcate more and more passion in whatever they do, here or elsewhere! Today was just perfect and I did what I do best, besides cooking, i.e. motivating my staff to achieve the bestest! I discussed about detailing being the key thing. For all the recipes that are prepared here, more detailing has to be put in the documentation of recipes. This way we can achieve great results! And to add a chcolacious end to all this, we celebrated these happenings by cutting a sinful Ferrero Rocher cake and consuming it!
On Tuesday, we had amongst us Mr. Sarvan of ‘Makhanbhog’ ‘ fame who paid a visit to our office and conducted a demonstration on some popular mithais like Kesari Kaju Katli, Mawa Burfi, Chocolate Burfi, Kesari Mawa Peda, Kesari Burfi, Milk Cake and Dhoda. I’m sure the chefs had quite a learning session with the skills and expertise, which he had brought along.
Keeping my fingers crossed for the new venture!
Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Traditional Indian Recipes – Treasure trove of spices

The best part about Indian cuisine is the treasure trove of spices and condiments in the kitchen that can help us remain free from illness to some extent because of their medicinal properties. Traditional Indian recipes call for ginger, black pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, nutmeg, mace, carom seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds very effectively. This list of spices is incomplete but only due to space constraints!
Indian cuisine is renowned the world over for the masterful use of spices in any regional cuisine, providing a synergy and balance in taste and flavour. Spices are a very convenient, and of course the quickest, way of incorporating the six Ayurvedic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent – at every meal.
Let us dwell on the benefits of a few of them to understand their medicinal prowess. Spice seeds like cumin and coriander provide cooling properties and also aid in digestion. Coriander is also considered helpful for promoting respiratory system, health and enhancing natural defense against allergens. It is also a detoxifying spice, helping to cleanse the body from the cell up. Eating a teaspoon of fennel seeds after a meal helps enhance digestion and freshens the breath. Fennel is also helpful for facilitating cleansing. Turmeric as a spice infuses Indian dishes with a rich golden colour and has long been revered by Ayurvedic healers for its diverse and powerful healing properties. Turmeric is a natural preservative. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial. Turmeric contains iron and potassium. It is clear that spices are revered in the Ayurvedic tradition because of the therapeutic value they bring to a meal.
Almost every dish in Indian cuisine is enhanced by the aroma, flavour and healing properties of spices. In Northern cooking we see stress on the use of cumin, coriander and ginger. Try Aloo Gobhi. In the cuisine from the hot desert land of Rajasthan we see asafoetida, ginger, red chilli powder (for example: Methi Papad ki Sabzi). Gujaratis will not cook a dish without mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida and in the Southern states, the dominating spices are mustard seeds, asafoetida and aromatic curry leaves. Towards the east and Bengal side (good example is Chorchori), we can taste the unique goodness of paanch phoron, which is a flavourful mix of cumin, mustard, onion, fennel and fenugreek seeds.
Indian cuisine best understands the goodness of using spices in cooking and brings home the fact that wellness is possible in each and every Indian home.