Kiddie Treats

Last Saturday was a kid’s class at SK Culinary Studio! Kids’ alongwith the culinary team enjoyed churning out some yummy yet healthy dishes including nachos, mac n cheese, cookies, chocolate ice cream and the likes. I was wondering, children’s stomachs have a limited capacity, but at the same time their energy demands are high. Moreover, I had read somewhere that children are a pain in the neck when around and a pain in the heart when not! Both ways loss is ours! Now that the summer vacations have already begun, kids demand tasty foods after playing for long hours in a sun-baked playground. To keep up their energies high, it becomes essential that children are fed every three to four hours.

It is the responsibility of parents to develop healthy food habits in their growing children and these have to be inculcated in the early years of life. However, treating kids with their favorite food items twice a week should be included alongwith nutritious meal. Besides, the age of two is a good time for your child to start eating meals with you at the table. Preschoolers these days are smarter than we think. No amount of convincing them that ‘drink milk and you will become big’ or words to this effect can make them drink up the milk. They have to be served everything that is tasty and if the environment around them is non-fussy about food, the child too will respond positively. Moreover, as the child grows up his/her tastes change. It would do the child good to have everything that is cooked for the family. There is no reason to cook differently. The trick to win over the palate of the young ones is to present novel foods that are nutritious too.

Get creative with staple dishes! Some of the recipes I suggest to get creative with are:

Dal Puri
It is a common thing in a Punjabi home to take last night’s moong dal and knead a dough for paranthas in it! That’s a nourishing breakfast ready in a jiffy. The same idea has been used here except that the dal is freshly made and I made puris as they are more kid-friendly breads.

Dal Puri

One pot pasta
Call it a boon, especially on a lazy day! My kids love all types of pasta and they are not finicky about it being al dente! This recipe is handy for Alyona when she gets the request for something fast, yummy and nice (read junk food!) but she knows pasta is a welcome treat always!

Apple Crumble
This is one of the easiest and tastiest desserts ever and children are simply going to lap it up. You can give this conventional dish a little twist by adding a little oats to the crumble mix to give it an interesting texture and at the same time making it more nutritious. My elder daughter Rachita likes a sprinkling of powdered peanut chikki on the top.

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Who doesn’t love mangoes? Mostly all kids love chilled stuff much to our chagrin! This smoothie is thick n sweet, I have replaced ice with frozen mango so it’s as good as it’s yum!Mango Smoothie

Try it out today and let me know they turn out!

Happy Cooking!

Happy Summers.

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Cooking for Mom

Tucked up whole day in office today with a series of meetings, restaurant updates and some telephonic interviews.

Yesterday we had some special demonstrations for Wonderchef during the first part of the day.Finished and went home as we had special guests over for high tea! About thirty of Mom’s senior citizen friends came over (well it was a planned evening) as they wanted to have a chit chat with me! We had quite an interactive session with a lot of recipe swapping. I had decided the menu before hand with close consultation of my mother and we served the popular favourites like kulche chole, bhel puri, sev puri, khandvi, dahi bhalle and phirni. I admit that Alyona’s khandvi turns out better than mine and the dahi bhalle (with stuffing ) that my mother makes I cannot copy! So all my cooking prowess was put to test making the other items. One lady was quite enthusiastic about different flavours of phirni and we had a long discussion about that. She came up with the contention that if ice creams can be available in so many flavours then why not Indian desserts! So her ideas are of orange phirni, chocolate kheer ( I have made chocolate phirni, fruit kheer, chocolate shrikhand), gulab jamuns in strawberry juice….This does get one down to thinking!

As some Til Poli is coming off the tawa in the kitchen, in readiness for a perfected recipe for you, time for me to go check it out at lunch!

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor

A month of trips and trips ahead…

The Ganesh Utsav week just passed by, and it saw the launch of the MahaChallenge on FoodFood. By Ganesha’s grace I wrapped up a hectic Sanjeev Kapoor Kitchen’s shoot on Friday, a day before the scheduled date! It was fun doing the shooting rounds with various Delmonte products this time. Keep a check on the website for the recipes. Back to back Turban Tadka shoots also got over on Saturday…I would rather say all’s well that end’s well!
Then this month will have me making some business trips to various places. To begin with, it is Korea. Back home, work for the launch of my new website will be in progress at an accelerated pace as also the renovations, which, most of you would identify with, seem to take forever to finish! Diwali is the goal so I hope to have the whole office furbished and happening by then!
Diwali. I have already been queries about what to make this Diwali! I would vouch for the traditional sweets anyday, but given the demand for new foods never dies, I will give you more food for thought! Check out these lovely zara hat ke desserts that will enthrall your family during the festive days.
Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor

Top 5 Indian Desserts – the stately kaju katli

Of all the nut based mithais kaju katli is perhaps the rage. The best is made of a delicate mixture of coarsely ground cashewnut powder and powdered sugar. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But then how does the flavour come through so greatly? Some more indepth research gave the info that the cashewnuts should be of topmost quality as also the grinding of it be done in short bursts of the grinder so that the heat generated does not harm the flavours which will begin to emanate once the cashewnuts undergo the grind. As it is an oily nut and almost never sold in the shell, which contains an unpleasant blistering oil. The nuts are roasted and shelled before distribution. It was also a revelation to discover how cashewnuts grow. In a most peculiar fashion. The nut, enclosed in a hard kidney-shaped shell, is suspended beneath a pear-shaped fruit, the cashew apple. Botanically it is not a fruit at all, but the swollen stem of the nut.
Kaju katli, per se, is dull in colour, the upper layer prettied up with silver warq, shaped like diamonds and more important, as thin as one eighth of an inch. Looks don’t count really as its popularity is unquestionable. The fragrant orange coloured Kesar Kaju Katli (flavoured generously with saffron), the rich crunchy Anjeer Kaju Katli (dried figs add their special touch), the inviting rosy Gulab Kaju Katli (topped with a thin layer of Gulkand) and the regal emerald coloured Kaju Pista Roll (the excellence of pistachios make them richer) are the other versions available. Quick Kaju Barfi is worth a look. Perfect kaju katli should look uniform – both in shape and thickness – and taste of fresh cashewnuts and remain tasteful for days. The idea of investing in this mithai is to have something sweet on hand that maintains its flavour and texture without refrigeration. In fact, kaju katli will lose its excellent flavour and malleability if refrigerated. Some qualities of kaju katli deserve mention as they have more proportion of sugar, or an added enhancement of ground peanuts, or melon seeds, but this is not what we are looking for. The best bite of kaju katli would be of one which tastes distinctly of cashewnuts, is not overpoweringly sweet and most importantly is moist and firm and yet melts in the mouth. While cooking the mixture of cashewnut powder and powdered sugar (in the right proportion where the former should be more than the latter) there is a magical point at which the mixture should be whisked away from heat. Then the final product would be that which is moist and firm yet melts in the mouth! There are some who do use cashewnut paste instead of powder but cashewnut powder definitely gives better flavor. When you read the recipe given below you will realise that kaju katli is very easy to make. Not only that, one can get more quantity for a lesser price!
Cook1 1/5 cups (240 gms) sugar and 2/3 cup (160 ml + 1 tbsp) water together till it begins to boil. Cook for three to four minutes or till the syrup reaches 118°C and you get multi strings. Then add 2 tbsps. (40 gms) liquid glucose and stir well. Remove from heat and add 2 cups (400 gms) powdered cashewnuts stirring continuously. If necessary add one tablespoon of water and keep stirring till the temperature comes down to 65°C. Knead lightly to make a soft dough. Roll out on a flat greased surface to one centimeter thickness. Rub a butter paper over the surface to smoothen it evenly. Apply silver warq and cut into diamond shapes.

Top 5 Indian desserts

It’s time for confessions. Confessions about the love for confections! For a true Indian palate will vouch for the passion for mithais. For us in India, happiness means sweets, mithais or mishthan, call what you may! We love all sweetmeats and love them very sweet. Somebody from a western country might just comment that they are too sweet because their palate just cannot take it. It is the occasion and the celebration that necessitates the distribution of sweets for they are the symbol of spreading sweetness and happiness.

Mithais seem to have won the taste buds the world over and Indian sweets have extremely high visibility these days. Be it the fudge like dry sweetmeat barfi and peda, or the syrupy Gulab Jamun and rosogulla that require a bowl and a spoon, the sticky deep fried balushahi and gujiya, the fragrant hot halwa and jalebi, round besan laddoo and motichoor laddoo, creamy milk puddings like rice kheer or seviyan and then shahi tukre. A description of Indian sweetmeats requires reams of paper, a gourmet to relish them and the constitution to digest them. A quicker version of kheer is the ever popular phirni and a variety like Badam Pista Phirni, Rasgulla Phirni, Kesari Phirni make interesting bowlful of dessert at parties.

Indian sweetmeats and sweet makers are a world unto themselves, a world that draws anyone who has a very sweet tooth into a series of temptations! Indian sweetmeats are not only sweet, but also rich. If you do have a good supplier of fresh mithai like the local halwai then your life is made because making the sweets themselves can be a sticky (rocky) road to success. What one needs is the inclination to try it out the very first time and then remove all fear of failure. Generally, sweet making is a family business handed down from one generation to the next. Halwais are understandably reluctant to pass on their recipes and the tricks that make them work, so finding the perfect recipe requires luck and persistence. Then, as in all branches of confectionery making, it requires not only the ability to follow a recipe, but practice and observation of how the mixture behaves at every stage of preparation so that the end result is worth the time and effort invested.

Some traditional desserts that will never go out of fashion are given here for you: Gajar Halwa, Rasmalai, Kesari Kulfi!

Good time at FoodFood bash!

As another Monday arrives so does the list of work to be done this week! Beginning shoot for my show on FoodFood in two days’ time. Got to put down my list of recipes that I would like to cook.
Our party, hosted by Sandeep Goyal and myself, at Bungalow 9, Bandra on Friday went off really very well. We both had made it a point to invite all our guests personally and it was so wonderful to see friends and their families grace the occasion. I would like to use this space to thank each and everyone who took the time off to come to the party. It was a pleasure being with all of you. Giving you pictures in these elinks:
Food was the highlight, so to say, and I am sure everyone enjoyed themselves. We had a tremendous variety but giving just a glimpse here: Dimsums from a live counter, Sofiyani Paneer for veg starters, Lava Grilled Chicken and Crab Roll for non vegetarians. Salads were a great hit: Baby Potatoes in Curried Mayo and Prunes and Olives in Orange and Walnut Dressing were much appreciated. Italian Breads and Honey Wheat Mini Loaves graced the table. Whole range of pizzas and pastas were prepared live. I mixed the main courses, lots of Oriental and Indian: Vietnamese Chicken, Awadhi Chicken, Thai Green Curry, Paneer Pasanda and the quintessential Kali Dal. These had the supporting baskets of different rotis – all prepared live. The desserts were the star attraction and these were classics like Tiramisu and Phirni and new offerings like Red Wine Kulfi, Blueberry and Gin Cheesecake, Lime and Lychee Crème and Chocolate Madagascar Ice cream.
We had a small parting gift for all our guests: a FoodFood apron, hand gloves and a copy of my new book 100 Favorite Recipes. That they were thrilled was evident by the effusive thanks we got!
After such a huge meal at the party, spent the weekend eating light foods only! Some of my weekend specialties.


Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Nutrition – some hints for balanced eating

Eat a variety of foods in adequate amounts for each food has a different nutritional speciality. This way not only will your nutritional requirements be met, you will also be able to break the monotony of eating the same kind of food daily.

Always maintain a desirable body weight in order to prevent developing chronic diseases like diabetes or heart ailments or certain types of cancers. You can get this from the height-weight (easily available, especially with your GP) chart, which again is worked out, on the basis of your lifestyle.

Avoid foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol as this can cause obesity, which in turn can give rise to heart ailments or diabetes or even certain types of cancer.

Eating foods with adequate fibres is considered very healthy for they not only provide bulk and thus prevent overeating, they also help prevent constipation, lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Though water is not considered as a nutrient, it is very essential for the upkeep of our bodies. Lack of water over a period can prove to be life threatening as it could lead to dehydration and even death.

Salads should always find place on your daily menu because being mainly vegetable based they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres. Beans or sprouts add proteins and when combined with pastas like macaroni, spaghetti or roots like potatoes or beetroots the carbohydrate content is adequate. Something like Button Mushroom Salad is a nice offering.

Of all the non-vegetarian foods, fish is perhaps the most ideally designed for healthy and quick family meals. Healthy because most types of fish are very low in fat and high in protein. There are some fish which are oily but they are high in essential fatty acids. Fish and Green Mango Curry is perfect for this month.

Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks since they are high in calories but low in nutrients. The metabolites (end products) produced by alcohol are harmful to the body, especially to the liver.

Desserts are an important component of an enjoyable meal and if they are fruit based they also provide the desired nutrients because they are packed with vitamins and minerals and are high in fibers. Try Low cal Crunchy Fruits with Yogurt.

Adequate and regular exercises are necessary along with healthy eating to make way for a meaningful life devoid of health worries.