FoodFood has us growing…

Back on a Monday morning and in action at the office! Did finish the shoots for the new format of Sanjeev Kapoor’s Kitchen, i.e., Teen Patti on Saturday. Was as usual hectic, but had fun as my little nephew, Manit, was there on the sets! Did manage to relax on Sunday though, with a fun-filled luncheon with good friends Dr. Ram and Meena Prabhoo. All of us had a great time together with laughter and masti!
The night was equally special as Alyona’s sister and her husband had come over. So, I cooked up laksa for all of us and we enjoyed it thoroughly…
As for today, I finally managed to get some time to check on the renovations going on in the office, before I left for the first board meeting which was scheduled today at Sahara Star. We are expanding now, and we do need more space in the office to accommodate more and more people. The developments have been happening for quite some time now, so it was necessary on my part to ensure things were running smoothly.
During the meeting, I just happened to check with the Union Budget for the year 2011-2012. People will be really happy to know that there is a budgetary increase in the education sector by 24% and health sector by 20%. Also, a good news for the general mass lies in the tax exemption limit which has been raised from 1, 60,000 to 1, 80,000.
However, somethings which have not gone well with me is the service tax that has been widened to cover hotel accommodation above Rs 1,000 per day and A/C restaurants serving liquor. The common man has also somethings to worry with the increase in the service tax on air travel and accommodation of hospital rooms as well.
And while I am gearing up for an exciting time for the road show at Ahmedabad, you can enjoy some dishes like

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Healthy balanced diet : fruits play an essential role

With so many lifestyle diseases being evident today it is time to incorporate more fruits in our daily diet because fruits are great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (a group of compounds that may help prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes) and soluble fibre. Except for a few varieties (coconut, olives, avocados) all fruits are low in fat and calories. Fruits play an essential role in imbibing a healthy balanced diet. Fruits also satisfy your sweet tooth without loading up on calories. Try Sizzling fruits with mixed fruit sauce.
Eating a variety of fruits is vital because different fruits provide different nutrients. For example, oranges and kiwi fruit are good sources of vitamin C. Bananas are a good source of potassium and apricots are high in vitamin A. So if you rarely venture beyond a few of your favourites, you are missing out on the nutrients and benefits of other fruits.
Here are suggestions to help you select the highest quality fruits when you are shopping, ways to store them once you get home, and tips for preparing and serving fruits to enhance their flavour and retain their nutrients.
Selecting top quality fruits: Choose in-season fruits. Select fruits that feel heavy for their size as heaviness is a good sign of juiciness. Smell fruits for characteristic aromas. Fruits should generally have their characteristic ripe scent but not smell overly ripe. For example, muskmelon should not smell too musty, especially if you do not plan to eat it right away. Also test the texture. A kiwi that feels mushy to the touch is too ripe. However, an avocado with a somewhat spongy texture is ideal. Be sensitive to the correct texture for the specific fruit you are interested in. Enjoy a plate of Fruit Chaat and then read on…..
Storing tips: Keep fruits at room temperature to ripen them. Store ripe fruits in your refrigerator. The cool temperature slows the ripening process, giving you longer storage times. The length of time you can store fruit depends on many factors, including how ripe the fruit is at the time of purchase and the type of fruit. Oranges keep well from one to two weeks in your refrigerator. Others, such as strawberries and grapes may ripen and spoil in less time, even in a couple of days.
Serving ideas:
Prepare fresh fruit within about an hour of serving to maximize flavour, texture and nutrients. Some salads benefit from a little chilling time (about 30-60 minutes) for the various flavours to mingle well together.
Wash all fruits thoroughly under cold running water before cutting or eating whole. This includes those fruits with hard shells or skins, such as melons. That is because the knife you use to cut the melon could transfer germs from the surface into the flesh. Wash your hands before and after handling fresh fruits.
Leave on edible peels whenever possible. The peels of apples, pears and most fruits with pits add interesting colour and texture to recipes and contain added nutrients and fibre.
Remove zest from citrus peels before discarding and save it for other recipes. The zest is the thin, brightly coloured, outermost layer of citrus fruit, such as lemons or oranges. Grated or shredded, it adds a bright spark of flavour and colour enhancement to both sweet and savoury dishes.
A healthy diet does not have to be monotonous. Be adventurous. A dish like Mixed Fruit Kheer can brighten up your evening meal. Try all the new and unfamiliar fruits. You may be surprised to find that you like them, and they will add interest to your plans of following a healthy balanced diet.

Light Indian Food – let’s focus on the lesser known

One lesser known or rather lesser used vegetable is the beetroot. It comes to mind simply because there are lovely beetroots right now in season…rotund, bursting with colour of good health and blood purifying properties. So why not make use of it while keeping in mind that Indian food can be light and nutritious. Try eating the beetroot leaves and stalk (boiled or steamed) and accompany with other more flavourful vegetables like onions and garlic. Or chop finely and add to stir-fries. Try Beetroot Chaas for a flavourful beginning to a meal.
Beetroot’s main benefits are that it contains no fat, very few calories and is a great source of fibre. Beetroot has for many years been used as a treatment for cancer in Europe. Specific anti-carcinogens are bound to the red colouring matter which supposedly helps fight against cancer and beetroot also increases the uptake of oxygen by as much as 400 percent. Additional studies are taking place to add support to these claims. The green leafy part of the beetroot is also of nutritional value containing beta-carotene and other plant pigments. The latter function as antioxidants. This part of the beetroot also contains lots of folate, iron, potassium and some vitamin C. The roots and greens therefore are great for women in general and for those planning pregnancy.
Beetroot can be eaten raw. You just need to peel it and it’s ready to use. Beetroot can add a refreshing touch to a salad, a sandwich or as an accompaniment to other vegetables. Some prefer having it thinly sliced and mixed with onion rings with a dash of lemon juice and salt. This is a nice, crunchy, pink-hued salad! And then it comes to light Indian food a kachumber can be a filling start to a meal. Otherwise grate it finely to add to other vegetables. Or try adding a teaspoon or so of finely grated beetroot to a chilled glass of fresh orange juice. It’s refreshing! When you have the time and inclination do try Amla aur Beetroot ki Tikki.
Usually when you buy fresh beetroot it will still have the leaves and stalks attached. To cook the beetroot simply cut off the stalks but make sure you leave some of the stalk intact. By doing this it will help to stop the beetroot from losing it’s colour when you cook it and helps to hold in the nutrients. Beetroot can be steamed or cooked in boiling water. Cooking time can be from twenty to thirty minutes depending on the size of the beetroot. Test the beetroot with a skewer: when it’s soft, remove it from the heat and cool it under running water – this will make the skin easier to remove for serving.
You can serve cooked beetroot: as a hot vegetable accompaniment to a meal; or allow it to cool and slice it to put it in a sandwich with cucumber slices and tomato slices. You can also try this: cut beetroot into cubes and stir-fry it with some steamed cubed potatoes and pumpkin. Add a little garlic and some diced onions – this makes a delicious vegetable dish to serve with the rest of your meal. Or make a lovely rice dish like Beetroot and Mewa Pulao.