Saying Hola from Spain!

Vegetarian Paella in Spain!

Currently in the land of senors and senoritas for work, but in a country like Spain its tough to stick to just work, a little play always follows! What is really great is that while work for me is all about food, even leisure and unwinding leads me to food! This is why I love Spain, there is never a dearth of the flavours, recipes and ingredients in this land. Everytime I visit, I take back home a new food experience! Amidst this plethora of food, there is one dish which shines bright like the pole star. This dish is the mighty Paella! Paella is to Spain what Biryani is to India, only more important. Different versions of this wholesome flavourful rice dish are created and recreated across the country. I have been fortunate to taste authentic Paella as well as some contemporary versions of this dish on this trip. Because I am on a work trip, writing at leisure is not one of the luxuries I have. So, I am quickly going to share with you 2 recipes for Paella.

One is a classic seafood Paella, which is how they make it in Spain. Another one is not really a Paella but a vegetarian spaghetti, that is cooked the Paella way and does live up to the taste of one. Now let me tell you a couple of things about Paella so when you try these recipes they turn out perfect.

  • Paella is a rice based dish. It is cooked a lot like a risotto. It uses short grain variety of rice. Paella is authentically made with Valencian Rice, which comes from a place called Valenciaon the East Coast of Spain. The idea is for the rice to absorb all the flavours of the stock and other ingredients in your Paella pan. Arborio rice is the closest easily available option to make delicious Paella.

  • Traditionally, the meats used in Paella would include snails, chicken, duck and/or rabbit meat. But don’t worry you can make an equally delicious Paella using other more easily available ingredients – it is a freestyle dish! Use sausages, chorizo, chicken, fish, clams, prawns, squid or just vegetables if that’s what suits your liking.

  • While making Paella keep in mind you cover and cook it on low heat. This ensures a crispy crust at the bottom of pan which is called socarrat. Perfect Paella should have a perfect crunchy base. These are the bits that everyone scrambles for in Paella.

  • A Paella pan is called a paellera. If you don’t own one, any 3-4 cm deep, medium-weight non-stick frying pan should do just perfect.

  • Two little ingredients that contribute a lot to the flavours of a Paella are – olive oil and saffron. So, make sure you skip out or compromise on these. Also, make sure the heat is evenly distributed – induction cooktops work great.

                                       CLASSIC SEAFOOD PAELLA

Classic Seafood Paella


200 gms prawns, shelled with tails and head intact and deveined

100 gms clams

3-4 small fish

1½ cups rice, half cooked

3-4 tbsps olive oil

12 garlic cloves, crushed

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into long strips

1 yellow pepper, cut into long strips

Crushed black peppercorns to taste

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 cup fish stock

A few strands of saffron, dissolved in 2 tbsps milk

1 tbsp red chilli flakes

3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

10-12 fresh basil leaves

1 cup frozen green peas, soaked


  1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and sauté. Add onions and sauté till translucent. Add red and yellow bell pepper and sauté.

  2. Add crushed black peppercorns and mix.

  3. Add prawns, clams, small fish and sauté. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add salt, sugar and tomatoes and mix well. Add rice and mix well. Add fish stock, saffron dissolved in milk and chilli flakes and mix well.

  5. Add 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil. Chop basil leaves and add to the Paella pan.

  6. Add green peas and mix well. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  7. Sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil.

  8. Transfer in a serving plate. Sprinkle some more extra virgin olive oil and serve hot.


                                 SPAGHETTI VEGETABLE PAELLA

Spaghetti Vegetable Paella


200 gms brown spaghetti

1 large potato

¼ large red capsicum

¼ large yellow capsicum

¼ large green capsicum

¼ cup green peas

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion

1 tbsp chopped garlic

Salt to taste

2 cups vegetable stock

2 medium tomatoes

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chilli powder

Few strands of saffron

1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon


  1. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan. Halve onion, slice horizontally thickly and add to the pan and sauté. Quarter and slice potato and add.

  2. Chop red, yellow and green capsicums.

  3. Add garlic to the pan and mix. Add capsicums, mix and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add green peas and salt and mix.

  4. Break spaghetti into smaller pieces and add to the pan and mix well. Add vegetable stock and mix well.

  5. Slice tomatoes. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a few strands of saffron and mix well.

  6. Add tomatoes but do not mix. Cover and cook.

  7. Cut lemon into thin wedges and remove the seeds and centre pith.

  8. Add juice of ½ lemon and mix, cover and cook till the vegetables and spaghetti are done.

  9. Transfer into a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot.

Hope you guys try these recipes, leave a comment below as its always great to hear from you guys.

Given to a foodie that I am, it makes most sense to end with a Spanish phrase barrigallena, corazon content” which literally means “full stomach happy heart.” 


Adios Amigos! Till I write again.

Happy Cooking!

My time in Spain

Wow, here in Barcelona, enjoying the best of weather and views! Just a quick hello as the day is packed…began early with a visit to the @22 District and then a reception at the Town Hall. Lunch is at the National Art Musuem of Catalonia and straight after a visit to Casa Asia Barcelona which is also the venue for my dialogue on Culture and Food with Chef Carme Ruscalleda. She is the world’s only five-Michelin-starred female chef well known for mixing her native Catalan cuisine with other styles, with an emphasis on Asian food. Around 6, will attend Round Table on Perspectives of Indian Economy for 2020. Dinner is on the terrace with Amadeu Jensana, Director of Economic Programmes and Cooperation Department of Casa Asia and Brenat Masferrer, Director of the Observatory of India and South Asia Casa Asia.

Yesterday spent a fantastic day in Valladolid. First a reception at the Town Hall by the Mayor and then visited the Valladolid University. Around noon, was in Casa de la India for a Round Table on ‘India in the 21st century – challenges and opportunities for Spain in a global world”. Wine tasting and lunch was at the National Museum of Sculpture and then caught an early evening flight to  Barcelona. Tuesday had an interesting itinerary in Madrid! Began leisurely with a visit to the BBVA Bank Innovation Centre, followed by a 2 hour Case presentation on Spain at the Instituto de Empresa Business School. Interacted over coffee with Indian students. Lunch was a lot of fun at the Realcade Bernabue which is located in the Real Madrid football team’s stadium. Had Grilled Hake with vegetables! Then we were given a guided tour of the Cervantes Institute and had a working meeting with the directive team. Early evening attended a reception at the Embassy of India, Madrid. Then yesterday reached Valladolid by the AVE (high speed train).

Tomorrow will be devoted to visits to Alliance 4 Universities with lunch organized at the Autonoma of Barcelona University with professors of different faculties. Loads of time to go for sight seeing around the City Centre of Barcelona. The IFLP will wind up with a closing dinner at Restaurant L’Orangerie at Hotel La Florida. This restaurant is known for its exceptional terrace with stunning landscape of Barcelona in view!

Back to Valladolid on Saturday for a Master class at the International Cooking School organized by Guillermo Rodríguez Martín, Director, Casa de la India. This school is the best and newest in Spain. Back home on 4th!

As is my norm, I will pen off with some lovely recipes for you.

Mozzarella Pops

Grilled Fish Salad

Basil Flavoured Rice Pudding with Grilled Tangarine


Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor

Greetings from Spain

Right now in Spain for the Indian Future Leaders’ Programme, and totally loving it! It’s a beautiful place and the weather is simply lovely. Reached yesterday and already finished an informal meeting with the ILFP’s Foundation team and all the guests were taken on a guided tour around Madrid’s City Centre. Today, in a few hour’s time, we will be having a working breakfast and then a look around, with a visit to an art gallery. This will be followed by meeting with the Director General, for North America, Asia and Pacific from the Foreign Affairs Department at the Spanish Ministry.

Early evening today we have an audience with HRH Prince of Asturais in La Zarzuela Palace. Later on, a grande dinner of tapas with Spanish Flamenco performance at Casa Patas!

 What lies ahead for us tomorrow, at this very enriching IFLP, I will share with you at this time tomorrow! We have a packed schedule from May 28 to June 1. My dialogue with Chef Carme Ruscalleda has been rescheduled to Thursday May 31 as Friday will be devoted to lots of visits to various universities. So look out as I build up on my Spain trip in these spaces!

On Friday May 25, it was Innovation Station – Season 4 at the office, with the theme ‘Indian Regional Cuisines’ and I happened to catch just a tiny glimpse of it as I had to catch a flight to Spain that night.

There were four teams with two chefs each and all of them put their best foot forward to cook as innovatively as they could. Chef Rajeev Arora of Hilton Hotels did his best to give a judgement based on degree of innovation, presentation and taste. And the results are:

 Winners – Chef Jaaie and Chef Nisha with their dishes Bread Medu Wada Sticks with Ridge Gourd and Red Capsicum Chutney (Starter), Crab Rasam with Steamed Rice and Fried Appalam (Maincourse) and Brown Rice and Mango Payasam in Chocolate Cups with Jamun Jam (Dessert).

 Runners up – Chef Anupa and Chef Sheetal with their dishes Kesar Amla Sherbet (Beverage), Zunka Bhakri Tartlets (Starter), Maashi Medley – Fish Rolls Kalvan, Bombil Mille Feuille, Kolambi Pilaf (Maincourse), Veeda Chocolate – Chocolate stuffed with Paan ka Veeda (Mukhwas) and Double Decker Modak with Jaaswand Sauce (Dessert).

 Congratulations to both the teams for their efforts, I just wish that I was also there to experience all the innovative khana!

 The same day had a cover photoshoot in the office premises with ace photographer Bharat Bhirangi and designer Sameer Madye for the upcoming book ‘Tiffins.’ Did manage to give some great shots and the book will be a bestseller I am sure!

 Let’s try some Spanish greats today!

 Paella Marinera


 Pizza Frittata

 Till I write again

 Sanjeev Kapoor

Plan your meals and remain fit

After all the good food that I enjoyed during my holidays, I will have to go back on to a strict fitness regime I feel. I have been reading a lot about having small meals dotted through the day instead of three large ones and nutritionists have been expressing this opinion in one way or another. But does one have the time to plan and follow such a new routine? I always emphasize that following this is a matter of personal choice – the golden rule is that the meals should be balanced and well in tune with the time of the day. For example: Breakfast should have balanced proteins and carbohydrates. Lunch can be high protein and low in carbohydrates. Dinner can be high protein, low fat with minimal or no carbohydrates. But in most homes dinner is the heaviest meal of the day.

This sets my mind thinking and I suggest you look up some recipes on that help you cook meals without oil. Yes, that helps to keep the calories in control and one can take a meal without oil especially the day following heavy eating. My recipes have been formulated specially and you can say they are not completely devoid of oil as all foods contain some trace of oil/fat: like poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, peppercorns, sesame seeds and turmeric powder. And this takes care of the fat needed to maintain a healthy body. In favour of oil I do say that it is an integral part of most recipes because it not only removes the unpalatability of the dish, it also adds the needed softness as also flavour and nutrients. Our bodies do need fat not just for lubrication, but also for proper absorption of the fat-soluble precious vitamins and for energy.

Though our bodily functions operate at the optimum when they are lubricated well the naturally present oils meet these requirements. It is better to follow a diet that is minus the visible fat but healthy in essential proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

I will give you some ideas here.

Chilled Cucumber and Buttermilk Soup
Slimmer’s Salad in No Oil Dressing
Chholay Biryani

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Give importance to tadka

Came to know about the training session in office on food costings, analysis and its implications conducted by our COO Rajeev Matta. They have video recorded it and so I too will get a chance to brush up. In fact, with the rising food prices, all these mathematics become important and carry a lot of weight when you have to make business decisions. Like the wise say, knowledge is important, you never know when you might need it!

I have met up with a couple of Spanish chefs and they were curious about the Indian method of tempering the food. Well, did you know that whenever we fry seeds and pulses in oil and add to cooked food, what happens exactly?

Apart from the distinctive flavour it imparts, tempering has many healthful aspects to it. First, essential fatty acids have to be supplied by the diet because the body cannot synthesize them. Fats used in tempering, particularly the vegetable oils, contain these fatty acids, as do ingredients like mustard seeds, cumin seeds and black gram dal. Besides, the vitamin A, D, E and K, found in foods like green leafy vegetables, carrots and cauliflower, are soluble in fat, and can only be released and utilized if some fat is also available at the same time. Tempering meets this requirement too. The carotene in curry leaves is also automatically transferred by this process. Many vegetable oils used in tempering are, additionally, rich in vitamin E. Further while pungency is associated with mustard, few are aware that this results only when mustard seeds are ground with water or vinegar. In hot oil, mustard seeds taste unquestionable nutty.

All this talk has transported me back home, and I can actually visualise garma garam ghar ka khana!

Am missing

Punjabi Kadhi


Gujarati Kadhi….all these taste better with appropriate tadka.

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Tune in for June

When in Spain do as the Spanish do…watched a bull fight and I can say it was a new experience. Yesterday went in relaxing at the hotel, having our meals there. Tomorrow booked for dinner in Roca, 3- Michelin star restaurant and I believe they have an extensive set menu.

Back in Mumbai, new book My Mother’s Kitchen is going to press. June will be fun packed for the fans of for there are special features on ice creams, tiffins and cooking for unexpected guests. That, in short, means loads of new recipes and happy cooking.

Rest, they say all is well at home, except for the day time temperature. That gets me to tell you some recipes that I personally enjoy when the Mumbai heat gets to me.

Try….Chilli Lemon Stewed Vegetables with Noodles, Celery Cucumber Medley, Rose Sandesh

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

ICSE result celebrations here too!

Very proud of Rachita, our elder daughter, for her 93 percent in ICSE 10th board exams. We are in a celebratory mood! It has enhanced our purpose of vacation in Spain.

Started the day with a good breakfast at La Escala, a restaurant in Hotel Empuries. Quite a drive from where we are staying but worth it…a lovely place by the coast and we had the invitation from the chef so got really good treatment.

Kriti, our younger one, is busy with her sports practice, sometimes having morning trainings on the beach that gives us a wonderful excuse to start the day early with a walk along the sea. We are also slipping in some tours of the market while she has her evening practice.

Booked for lunch at a restaurant called Roca, which is Number 3 in the world. Otherwise, we are doing exactly what the kids demand: laze around with them, swim, play free.

Staff back in office are still in celebration mood. All have planned to go for a newly released movie tomorrow bunking half-day! They are going to make life hell for others sitting in the same theatre. Being in group encourages the devil in you.

I would love to share paella with you. Here goes:


Egg white omelette

Lemon Pudding

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor