Season for festivals

The days seem to fly by rapidly! We have been getting requests for recipes for Christmas cakes and somehow it seems that the time is just right! Those who want to soak the fruits in spirit would be planning their shopping list already, as well as their gifting list.
In fact, it is not so easy to change your traditional recipe for Christmas cake or Christmas Pudding so easily. Every home has its own recipe and it is passed down as legacy. But it never hurts to ask around and search for some more variations. For this, reading up good cookery books is essential as well the net has a plethora of offerings. As for now you could also read up on Christmas Cookies, Christmas Punch and Christmas Special Masala Biscuits.
There are many traditions that weave their special magic for building up the Christmas spirit and excitement. The Christmas fir tree is one for sure. Be it holly, mistletoe or fir trees, green is the colour of Christmas festivities. A wreath with holly, red berries and other decorations began from at least the 17th century. Holly, with its sharply pointed leaves, symbolised the thorns in Christ’s crown-of-thorns. Red berries symbolised the drops of Christ’s blood. A wreath at Christmas signified a home that celebrated the birth of Christ.
Well, it is easy to get carried away when it is the season of festivals – the feeling of bonhomie and all is well is just great. To make sure your recipe for Christmas cake is safe and intact, why not preserve it as an important document and keep for the next generation?

Lord Ganesh is on His way!

Rain or floods, Lord Ganesha is coming to town and just two three days from now, Mumbai will be resonating with music and fanfare and lots of fervour! With this festival comes the joyous cooking of treats for the God who loves His food! I suggest you see our list of suggestions visible on www.sanjeevkapoor.com for ideas. It also makes sense to decide now what you want to cook and purchase all the dry ingredients at least so that there is not much of shopping to do on the last day. Pick up your fresh fruits and vegetables on THE day.
Things are also looking up regarding the new website to be launched. Anything new is bound to have loads of excitement attached to it! A makeover was long overdue and as life as it is on the fast lane for everybody, we too have taken the step and are making the website smarter and faster. I do hope you all are looking forward to it as much as we are! Next week, some shooting schedules for Turban Tadka and Teen Patti are on the anvil.
When the days are so wet and damp, let’s not dampen our spirit of cooking! So treat your family to some nice warm food every evening. For some starters and soups, click on the following:


Wishing you all a delightful festive season ahead!


Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Baingan Bharta – A recipe perfect for all seasons

I see some lovely large and glossy brinjals are in season and when you go shopping select brinjals that are light in weight in proportion to their size. Chances are they would be without seeds or if any, very tender and not so annoying!
To make Baingan Bharta for four portions, you should buy atleast one kilo of brinjal. Prick the brinjals and roast them over open flame or in a tandoor/preheated oven until the skin scorches and starts peeling off and the brinjals start to shrink. Let them cool. You can cool them by dipping them in water. Remove skin and mash the pulp completely. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a kadai. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. Cook for half a minute and add 3 medium chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Add 1½ inch chopped ginger and 2 chopped green chillies and cook for a minute. Add 2 teaspoons red chilli powder and mashed brinjals. Cook for seven to eight minutes over medium heat, stirring continuously. Add salt to taste. Add 4 large chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat for seven to eight minutes or till the oil separates. Garnish with chopped the coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis. Remember, it is easy to remove skin of a roasted brinjal if it dipped in water just after roasting
Whenever you feel you are running out of ideas to cook, but want a change from Baingan Bharta, try a different bharta : Aloo Bharta, Pyaaz ka Bharta, Shalgam Bharta, Garlic and Chilli Bharta and Spicy Prawn Bharta.
You can use the humble drumstick to make something novel. Boil 4 drumsticks, remove pulp. Sauté 2 chopped onions in 2 tablespoons oil till soft. Add 2 chopped tomatoes, sauté till soft. Add 6 chopped garlic cloves, ½ inch chopped ginger, sauté till fragrant. Add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, salt, 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add drumstick pulp, cook for 1 minute. Serve hot.
Another good recipe uses corn. Boil whole corn, remove the niblets and grind it coarsely in a blender. Chop some onions and tomatoes, green chillies and coriander leaves. Heat oil in a kadai, add cumin seeds and sauté till they change colour. Add chopped onions and sauté till light brown. Add chopped green chillies and cook for half a minute. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and salt. Cook for few seconds and add chopped tomatoes. When tomatoes are cooked add corn, salt and little water. Cook for another five minutes. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander. Makes a nice Sunday dish doesn’t it and a change from the conventional Baingan Bharta?

Fun filled festivities with fewer calories!

Everyone is looking out for Indian festive recipes now that the festive season is here well and good! It means those who have a sweet tooth and are health conscious will be literally looking at tightening their belts! It is so easy to go overboard in these days because there is so much food visible – fancy foods are made not only at home but there is so much variety available in the market too. You will find a flood of sugarless sweets and low calorie savouries on the shelves now. It is easy to get tempted and buy a lot of them with the thought that consuming them may not mean a lot of calories. But beware, drop by drop does an ocean fill! Too much of ‘low-calorie’ can also add up to too many extra calories! Secondly, there is always a trace of doubt as to what the commericalised ‘low calorie’ can mean!
Indian festive recipes are needed as festivities in our homes can mean a round of lunches, dinners and parties with a lot of snacky food and desserts. It is not always possible for the hostess or host to provide an absolutely ‘healthy’ menu to the guests: some people expect traditional fried foods too! But here we can suggest that you avoid whatever you think does not fit into your daily meal plan. Go for those dishes that look low in fat.
It is not so difficult to provide low calorie foods during festivals. Switch to baking instead of frying. One can bake samosas, namakparas and karanjis. For a sample try Baked Namakpara. You can also rustle up a variety of mini idlis and dhoklas. In sweets, sugar substitutes are the answer. Take a look at Sugar Free Mathura ka Pedha and Gajar Halwa Sugarfree. Otherwise use natural sources like dates and anjeer to add sweetness. For example, Date and Anjeer Baked Karanji and Date and Walnut Laddoo are good recipes.
It is the trend now to gift fresh fruit baskets instead of dry fruit boxes as the former are lower in calories! The trick to remain fit during the festive season is to eat in moderation. You will not be bogged down with any guilt pangs then! And then you always this little spot where you can read up on low calorie Indian festive recipes!

Maha Challenge wrapped up successfully!

First and foremost, here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Janmashtami!
A month’s already passed by shooting the Maha Challenge episodes, and the final pack up happened on August 19. As always, it was really a great learning experience for me as well as my team. Then, there were some of the lighter and fun moments, all those times when Madhuri had been on the sets. All in all, it was simply superb!
But, for me the hectic schedule just seems unending…just after the wrap up, I had to fly to Delhi, to attend the Indian Restaurant Congress 2011, where I was one of the key speakers.
Back in the office, my team is really tied and super busy with the new Website work. There is a lot which is being done for the revamping of the website… so that when it is launched in its new avatar, there is a lot more for all the food lovers and my fans all over the world. It surely is going to be improved and exciting! So watch out for it…!
For now, let’s just celebrate Janmashtami with some of these recipes…
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

The simplest of the curries – Aloo Mutter

Call it aloo matar or aloo mutter, the spellings just do not matter! What matters is that the peas should be glistening fresh, the potatoes peeled and raring to go and you have the provision to serve your aloo mutter with freshly made rotis or steamed rice. So here is the recipe of the traditional Punjabi home cooking at its best cooked inPunjabi a flavorful onion-tomato gravy. Perfect Yogurt is also good in a bowl along with this meal.
Place a non stick medium pan on medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add 1 bay leaf and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to change color, add the 2 medium chopped onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes or till the onions turn golden. Add 1½ teaspoons ginger paste and 1½ teaspoons garlic paste and sauté for ½ a minute. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1½ teaspoons coriander powder and 1 teaspoon red chilli powder and sauté for ½ a minute. Stir in the 2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes and 3 cups water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes or till the potatoes are half-cooked. Remove the lid, stir in 1 cup fresh tomato puree, cover again and cook for 8 minutes or till the potatoes are tender. Remove the lid, add 1¼ cups green peas, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder and salt to taste and stir. Cover again and cook for about 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or rice. In fact, Lachcha Parantha is also an excellent accompaniment. This recipe comes in really handy when you do not wish to prepare two things: a dal and a sabzi! Make aloo mutter and things are simple.

Website wonders!

Just in with some steaming facts about http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com, before the release of the new, improved and user friendly version of the website! Check them out…
  • The website finally crossed a 10 lakh visits landmark, with 12 lakh visits in just the last 30 days! I think this is a great achievement with whatever we had initially begun with. Kudos to my team for raising the bar to this level.
  • According to the statistics, most of the users has usually come in during the festivals to check out special features and recipes. This is pretty prominent from the fact that on August 12, 2011 alone about 50,000 users logged onto the site as the next day was a major Hindu festival – Rakshabandhan. Indians sure love food, and more, when its some festival or special occasion!
  • As far as the data related to the division of users on the basis of region is concerned – I just learnt that while the cream of the lot remains Indians with a 60% visitors, many visitors came in from the United States (14% visitors) and the United Kingdom (5% visitors).
Here’s hoping that our relationship continues to grow and flourish in all time to come. I am humbled by the love, affection and gratitude shown by the food lovers from different parts of the world. I also take this opportunity to thank all food lovers for their feedback, contributions and suggestions in making http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com a primary source for Indian recipes.
And what better could be done, than to celebrate this joy with some real scrumptious recipes…aptly some Parsi recipes…for Pateti.
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor