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

Healthy Mixed Vegetable Kurma Recipe

India continues to occupy its historic position as the largest producer of spices in the world. There is something magical about the Indian herbs and spices that transforms simple ingredients into exotic dishes.
Kurma or korma is a popular curry. Here we have a Healthy Mixed Vegetable Kurma recipe which has been made without the use of oil. First make a masala paste. Heat a non-stick pan and roast ½ cup scraped coconut, 8-10 garlic cloves, 1 inch ginger, 1 green chilli, 2 seeded dried red chillies, 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (khus khus), 2 tablespoons fennel seeds (saunf) till light brown. Cool and grind to a paste with half a cup of water. Boil 1 cubed carrot, 1 cubed potato, ¼ chopped cauliflower, 10 chopped French beans till half done in salted water. Drain and keep aside. Heat a non-stick pan, add 2 chopped onions and roast till golden brown. Add 10-12 curry leaves and the prepared masala paste. Add half a cup of water and cook for three to four minutes. Add the boiled vegetables, ½ green peas, 1 cubed capsicum and ½ cup tomato puree and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp and mix well. Add two and half cups of water and salt to taste. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer till the vegetables are cooked and the gravy is thick. Add ½ cup coconut milk and stir. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. Stir well. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves. To make it without coconut milk, simply replace it with yogurt. It tastes very good and adds a different flavour to the preparation.
Use of spices with a balance is what makes the Indian curry so distinctive. In fact a change in the variety of spices used in curry and the proportion of their quantities makes different recipes of curries. Spices are healthy and their medicinal use in the past, like herbs, were often indistinguishable from the culinary uses. Try some of the other korma recipes like Paneer Dhania Korma and Navaratan Korma.
In medieval times, apothecary prescribed herbs and spices not merely for digestive problems, but for all types of ailments in a truly natural form of medicine. Spices and herbs have had a long standing and even in present – days have not only culinary and medicinal usage but also a lot of other utilities. But our first and foremost focus is on healthy Indian recipes.

Top 5 Indian recipes – dals rock and rule!

One very important part played in Indian diets is by the dried version of peas and beans called pulses. Pulses as well as lentils, legumes, beans and peas have been part of daily diet for times immemorial. The traditional Indian diet is healthy and nutritious and revolves around dal, bhaat (rice), sabzi (vegetables) and chapati. Moong ki Dal and Kali Dal are popular fare in homes in North India.

Pulses, as we all know, are the edible seeds of the legume family. Pulses include peas, beans and lentils. Some, as green French beans, papdi, green peas and broad beans are eaten fresh. Others, like moong, urad, chana and masoor are eaten dried or sprouted. Regardless of their place of origin, most of the pulses are available world-wide and have become widely naturalized outside their native regions. But greens combined with dal are also healthy preparations. Something like Methiwali Dal.

Beans are dried as quickly as possible after picking to preserve their flavour and texture. There used to be a time when most of the pulses were sundried, but now in the present days of automation, most of it is artificially dried. Most pulses are widely available and the lesser known can usually be found in specialized stores in wholesale grain market. Pulses keep well and are easily reconstituted but should be stored in a cool and dry place. The normal shelf life of dried beans and pulses is six to nine months, then they begin to harden and shrivel.

All types of beans and lentils are high in protein and 30 per cent more is released if they are eaten with a cereal. That is why, in India, dal is eaten mostly with rice or roti. Most pulses need soaking and cooking, the exact time depends on the particular type and quality of the bean. Beans and lentils should be picked over before washing and soaking to remove any stones or pieces of grit.

In the Indian kitchen, dal is ubiquitous. Egyptian lentils called masoor, black eyed peas called lobia and mung beans called moong are worth mentioning. Dishes like Sambhar and Rasam use split pigeon peas, Dhansak uses meat and lentils. Dosas also have rice and lentils like black gram or urad. Up north, urad is a favourite as is rajma and chana.

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

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.

Back home

Good to be back home and now in the office. It’s been painted fresh and so it’s spic and span…loads to catch up with and had a longish meeting on saturday! It’s the best way to get back in the groove…hit it hard!



What’s hard hitting really is the Mumbai heat and I have decided to keep cool drinking buttermilk. The interesting thing is that buttermilk contrary to its name, contains no butter at all! Defining buttermilk, acharya Sushruta has written that it is a compound made of curd and water, subsequently churned so as to have the contained cream and butter completely skimmed off. Its typical composition is about 0.5 percent fat and 5.5 percent milk solids (proteins, minerals and vitamins). The rest 94.0 percent is water! A glass of buttermilk contains only 20 calories. Wow, to know this gives buttermilk more weightage as a health drink. According to traditional Indian wisdom, Ayurveda, one big glass of this creamy, tangy drink can fuel you for a day of hectic work. Before massive urbanisation and the arrival of aerated cold drinks in India, buttermilk used to be a favourite item served both as a speciality and as an addition to daily meals. Many Vedic hymns give its reference. One famous saying goes thus: what amrit is to the gods, buttermilk is to human beings.



So how about some different types of cooling chaas?

Beetroot Chaas

Chilled Watermelon Yogurt

Pudina Chaas





Keep cool

Sanjeev Kapoor.