Wonderchef event in Pune

Driving down to Pune today and it will be lovely drive as the rains have washed all the greenery clean to a sparkle!

The Wonderchef event begins at 9.30 am at S.M.Joshi Auditorium, Near Patrakar Bhavan, Ganjve Chowk , Navi Peth, Pune – 411 030. It’s all about healthy cooking using top of the line cookware and bakeware. You can look forward to chocolate cake, dosa, pan pizza and chicken dishes.

Healthy cooking is a real passion with me. I have not only answered numerous queries about how everyday cooking can be made simpler and healthier, but I have also enjoyed compiling recipe books on this topic. There are more on the anvil now and as time goes by, you will have access to newer techniques of simpler cooking.

That is my mantra, really. To make the process of cooking as simple as possible so that when one reads the recipe it motivates the reader to try it out….with confidence and with the feeling that “I can do it”. Every step brings one to success or failure. And success is only another definition of failing but forward every time. If you do not get a good result from the recipe the first time around, try again…and again…till you are satisfied.

I will give you the simplest of the recipes today and the weekend is the best time to try them out.

Steamed Dosa

Mixed Vegetables in Coconut Kadhi

Chocolate Yogurt

Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor

Make your own convenience store

A few days ago I had discouraged you from frozen foods and many of you have asked me you do not want to as the attractions are too many in the malls plus the convenience of cooking. We do expect a lot from frozen foods, don’t we? This is got me thinking and now as we turn more health conscious we can expect to see frozen foods that are low in calories, low in fat content and have less sodium. But one word of caution. You cannot always judge the frozen food by its cover. Not even by the delicious picture that goes on the cover or the catchy name on it.

Well, one simple rule while shopping. Read the label. Check the total calories. See the portion size. They may be smaller than what you expect them to be. This is a smart way used by the packagers to keep fat levels down. Look for the percentage of calories from fat, not on the number of calories. Often fewer calories mean less food, not necessarily less fat. This is what we mentioned earlier about smaller portion sizes. They might put in some type of sauce to make a mini meal look complete but you will have to rustle up a salad and finish off with a piece of fruit to satisfy the appetite. Some prepackaged preparations come with handy sachets of readymade sauces. Skip this product and skimp on the calories and sodium. We have to be more realistic about this.

Look out when shopping for frozen eats! Here’s the what and why:
Read the ingredients: Some cases meat might not be all meat. It might be mixed with soy or wheat products. This makes it lower in fat. The taste might not be different but the portions certainly become heartier. If the label says it is a cheese dish and the list of ingredients reads cheese way down on it then you know this is cheating hence forget picking it up. It is safer to buy a product with generous amount of low fat cheese than buy something that cheats.

Always supplement your frozen meal with lots of either frozen or steamed vegetables which are quick and convenient. Remember the recommendation is to have five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. As for desserts, you could indulge in fruit yogurt etc but remember they are still sweetened with sugar and can be high in calories.

Why not make your own freezer work wonders for you in the convenience department?

Happy cooking
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Back from Hyderabad. I had gone there to formally launch the new book Wrap n Roll at Landmark. As the place started to get crowded and noisy, hopped over to The Yellow Chilli (ten minutes walking distance!) for all the interviews. Hyderabad holds much delight for both Alyona and I. We had a late and lazy breakfast at Chutneys (the steamed dosa is a no oil version and really super) and by the time we left it was nearly one o’ clock.
Same evening went for dinner to Paradise Restaurant which is loved for its biryanis. In fact, they give excellently packed take away. Hyderabad airport is jazzed up. As our flight was a little late we reviewed all the fast food outlets and do they serve in style! The gelatos go the fastest as also the cookies from Karachi bakery. I could not help but notice the stress on brown bread at these joints. I have always been of the opinion that Indians have been eating brown bread for centuries…think of the roti/chapatti/rotli…isn’t it brown bread? Wholewheat flour product baked on a griddle instead of the oven? Our everyday food is atte ki roti and not maide ki roti. Think about it. We have had the blessings of whole food since centuries and then the sliced, soft white bread comes along and then decades later the ‘brown bread’. There is no way of confirming that the ‘brown bread’ we have bought is really made of wholewheat or is it really refined flour with caramel colour.
My new book Wrap n Roll makes excellent use of rotis to make quick meals and snacks for those on the move. I think it is high time we switched from sliced breads to rotis and let this campaign begin tomorrow itself when you have to make your kid’s tiffin.
Have to go now. Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor