Vacation with the family!

Holidays are the perfect time to relax, travel, learn about different cultures, amass new experiences, have real conversations and seek out ways to make lives better for ourselves and those around us! The past week has been all of this and more! I traveled to Jordan with my favourite people in the whole world – Family! With the company of gorgeous ladies – my wife Alyona, my two daughters – Rachita and Kriti, my mother and mother-in-law, Jordan seemed more beautiful than it did on my last work visit there.

My Family

My Family

Jordan is a beautiful place that is filled with history. Travelling the sandy roads, surrounded by carved eroded stone structures and Herculean Mountains is something that you have to experience on your own. The serenity of these places makes me wonder that is probably why the Nabataean’s guard their culture so fiercely! The people in this part of the world are so welcoming and generous and they love to eat and definitely to feed! The food is very similar to other countries in the Middle East – so you have got to like chickpeas! Just joking – while chickpeas are a very important food ingredient, there is also an array of other ingredients that are used in plenty. Vegetable dishes and dips, a wide variety of breads and rice dishes along with different types of meat kababs and delicious dried fruits laden desserts are all heroes in Jordanian cuisine! Eating at the local markets and sipping coffee from the small portable coffee carts or having Coffee with Gold at the Emirates palace – food experience on this trip comprised of all this and more. We even visited the Amman outlet of The Yellow Chilli for a scrumptious Indian meal midweek.

Beautiful Jordan

Beautiful Jordan

We also shopped a lot and amongst the things we got were a packet of dried apricots,they are round, soft and golden unlike the totally dehydrated versions of apricots called khubani that we grew up with. These golden apricots are a delight to cook with and should be too, considering the fact that as a snack they are most fulfilling. There are several more ways we can use these. The rich sweet chewiness makes them appealing for the palate and adds vitamins and fibre to the daily diet without much ado.

Jordan

So be it sweet sauces or muffins or stews, sprinkled on hot or cold cereals, dried apricots work just as well as dates or prunes or apples. When you make pancakes next, add chopped apricots to the batter. Of course they give sweetness but they also contribute when you are trying to bake something on a lower fat scale. Apricot puree is the in thing as a substitute for fat. It does not darken the baked goodie like prune puree or water down the recipe like apple puree can. Let me give you a tip about this sticky fruit. When chopping the dried apricots in a food processor, sprinkle with some maida so that they do not stick to the blade. If you are chopping with hand, put some oil on the blade of the knife or kitchen scissors. Or best still roll the apricots in a bit of flour and then chop.

Apricots come in range of colours, believe it or not, from white and pink to black and gray. The colour does not affect the flavour but it does affect the carotene content. Brighter the colour, more the Vitamin A as also the C and E and potassium. When we make comparisons by weight, dried apricots, compared to the fresh, have twelve times the iron content, seven times the fibre content and five times the Vitamin A. Cooks from the Jordanian region use lamb effectively with the apricots in stews as also in stuffings for chicken. Turkish people make something like our aampapad using apricots but they call it apricot leather! Or take Moroccan cooks who do it vice versa: stuff apricots with mutton and cook them with honey and almonds. Point here is what would the Indian kitchen do with these visually appealing fruits? Do hit back at us with your culinary escapades, food experiences and recipes from this part of the world! In the meanwhile you too can try out these recipes that I will definitely be making, this weekend with my packet of gorgeous golden apricots!

 

Plum, Peach and Apricot Crumble

Plum, Peach and Apricot Crumble

 

Jardaloo Marghi

Jardaloo Marghi

 

Apricot Rice with Nuts

Apricot Rice with Nuts

 

Happy Cooking 🙂

Thane launch of my ‘twin’ restaurants!

The latest avatar of The Yellow Chilli was presented to the people of Thane at the Viviana Mall at a glittering function in the evening of December 10, 2013. The spacious restaurant comprising of 110 covers is on the second floor of the mall, facing the main road. To top the offering is the open terrace seating which people of Mumbai and Thane love.

The entrance of The Yellow Chilli

First launched in 2001, with restaurants spread across India and outside its shores too, we, at The Yellow Chilli chain have been trying to serve our patrons with excellent and innovative Indian cuisine. Apart from the food, the common thread that binds all the restaurants is that the ambience everywhere is contemporary and chic with exquisite elements.

ICPL (Indian Cookery Pvt. Ltd.) which manages the The Yellow Chilli chain and my other restaurant brands, is making waves in the restaurant industry in India and abroad. We have already opened 30 outlets and would be adding substantial numbers in the coming months with many of them signed up in recent past.

To celebrate this milestone, we have unveiled a new brand Stir Crazy which has opened alongside The Yellow Chilli. This is like a new year gift to the people of India to cater to the need of a great all day dining oriental restaurant. Stir Crazy has been conceptualized into reality by my dear friend Rohit Narang who has years of experience in the Hospitality World through Ambassador and Mars Group. Stir Crazy is about food, family and fun. The star of the restaurant is a concept called ‘Marketplace,’ where guests choose their very own fresh ingredients, mains and homemade sauces, hand them over to the specialized ‘wok’ chef who then creates the dish right in front of the guests giving them their own signature.

Stir Crazy – an Oriental experience 

And as a grand finale, the festivities culminated into a magnificent dinner, a befitting end to an eventful day. Offerings from both outlets were at their best display.

I was delighted to be in Thane to launch The Yellow Chilli and Stir Crazy concepts. Thane has been always in my radar for opening my outlets and I am thrilled to start my new concept here. We always do a lot of research on menu and dishes to deliver exactly what our patrons want. Our food has always been created without using colours or preservatives, using the traditional art of tandoor, slow cooking and now, for Stir Crazy, fast wok cooking and state of the art steamed products to create mouth-watering delicacies that appeal to all. Both the restaurants are open from 12 Noon till 11 PM.

Make sure you try out these restaurants really soon, we have a got a whole new food experience waiting for you!

Till I write again.

Sanjeev Kapoor

Celebrations galore!

 

 

The countdown to the end of the year has already begun, so here’s wishing everyone a belated Merry Christmas – hope you all had a great time with fun, food, family and friends! Just a few more days left when we all will usher into the New Year – let us all make some realistic resolutions and complete them in full spirits!

We celebrated Christmas in the office with the colour theme of red and white and some surprise gifts for all from the Secret Santa. Unwrapping presents in any form is always exciting and it sure makes one a child again!

In Bahrain today for The Yellow Chilli’s first anniversary celebrations. Time really flies – its already a year since I had gone to open the store there. TYC at Seef Mall, Bahrain is no more an infant. People all over Bahrain visit and patronize this place.

Today, the day will begin with an interview at Your FM Studio, following that, a meeting and lunch at Sun City Venture’s new office with directors. Next in line will be the cake cutting ceremony and press interactions later in the evening and finally the day shall end with a Road Show at The Yellow Chilli store. It’s always ecstatic to be a part of any event related to TYC…and similar is the case with this one. All charged up for a great day filled with some amazing food, interactions with enthusiastic people and an exciting time!

After all of this, I have a morning flight to Dubai on December 28, 2012. Dubai has 3 restaurants of mine namely Options, Khazana and Signature. All doing well and creating waves…various events, meetings and trials lined up. A two-day trip and I shall be back to India on December 30, 2012.

Just after my return, will be again tied-up with the shoots of Master Chef India Season 3. The technical will happen on January 2, 2012 and then the actual shoots will begin. Meanwhile, in office, there is a round of shoots for Youtube with Chef Anupa doing videos for beginners. Keep a watch on our channel “sanjeevkapoorkhazana” to catch the easy recipes. Will keep on updating as and when more of the schedules unfold.

All set for today and more to come in the coming days…

 
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

 

Mumbai’s Spirit & Teachers’ Day celebration

On Teacher’s Day I took this opportunity to express my gratitude to all my teachers at IHM, Pusa specially the Food Production Instructors for sowing that seed in me which is reaping fruits today. My younger daughter Kriti had to dress like a teacher today and was looking so different and good in a saree. God bless all the teachers!
It’s the beginning of September and the rains have now taken a toll on the busy Mumbai life! Late showers, but heavy, as its been pouring cats and dogs since the beginning of this week, continuously. It does become a bit difficult in such times, but the ever smiling Mumbaikar just knows how to tackle these hurdles…feels great to see people outside, as busy as ever, not getting worked up because of the gigantic amount of water everywhere. Go, Mumbai go!
Amidst the rains, work goes on as usual. Had a promo shoot yesterday in a studio in Malad for my channel FoodFood with the other energetic lot of chefs. Was good to catch up with all of them! Next in line is my trip to Kolkata in the coming weekend. Will be flying to the ‘city of joy’ on September 8, 2012 for an exclusive dinner at The Yellow Chilli with the who’s of who of Kolkata. September 9 would be hectic with day long activities including a demo session and press conference. Excited as ever for some bangla food!
The question of what to cook everyday, for each meal, is of utmost importance for the home cooks. Not only do they have to keep in mind that there are different types of palates to please but also that the meals should be balanced in nutrition with taste that is supreme! So, to help you’ll along, a collection of recipes that are fit for everyday cooking is being readied here! A new book, so keep a look out for this one too along with the book on chocolate. Also, the team is busy shooting for Youtube, all in all, everyone’s on their toes!
As and when, I shall keep updating you all with the latest happenings…

Till then
Sanjeev Kapoor.

 

 

 

Announcing the launch of new restaurant brands

Back from Thailand and ready to take on the whirlwind of work!
My latest focus is on redefining dining in India and to promote the Indian dining experience internationally. People often tell me, “We watch your show, but we really want to taste your food.” I believe this challenge of cooking for millions can be overcome by launching restaurants that will reach out to people. As food in India is synonymous with entertainment; people meet and bond over food. Keeping this in mind, we are creating a variety of experiences that range from the quality and ambience of a fine dining restaurant to experiential dining such as a new age Indian lounge. We are launching new restaurant brands like Signature, Sura Vie, Pin Yin Café and Khazana.
At the Signature chain of restaurants, we aspire to position it as the last word on Indian cuisine by maintaining an air of elegance. Sura Vie Lounge is purveyor of a definitive eclectic experience with a focus on live contemporary Indian music. It will be launched in the key metros with international comfort food specially crafted from the chef’s table. Pin Yin Café is a casual oriental restaurant with an all day dining/ cafe format that serves popular oriental dishes. It will provide substantial, high quality, competitively priced, meals in the mid-casual dining segment. The cuisine will be popular Oriental, with menu options that include familiar Asian dishes such as Thai Green Curry etc. Khazana can be defined as an upscale restaurant that serves chef-inspired Indian dishes that are redefined. The goal is to make upscale Indian dining accessible and affordable to families and young professionals and showcase the Indian dining experience to tourists and expats in a luxurious ambience. We are also offering franchising opportunity for Khazana, The Yellow Chilli and Pin Yin Café.
When I started my show on television it was the only one of its kind. Eighteen years on, Khana Khazana has become a household name in India and I have now launched my own TV channel. Managed to do so by packaging passion, dedication, energy and understanding of the consumer. Now my mission is to approach dining with the same passion and leverage our consumer insights to build world class restaurants globally.
Let me wind up with some dishes that always please me when I come home after a long stint of travelling.
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Rains…before time!

The surprising rains have surely brought a drop in the temperature and relief. We were waiting for it to arrive by the 10th of June but the sudden downpour is definitely amazing! Raindrops on leaves, the smell of the earth and everything beautiful and fresh…I thought monsoons were yet to arrive, but this is surely a nice change as I returned from my UK + Singapore trip, which literally had me me on my toes! And before I give you all my schedule for today…
Saturday, had me tied up in a meeting at office with Manish Tandon , CEO, Indian Cookery Pvt Ltd – my new company to rearrange my restaurant vertical regarding the positioning of Sanjeev Kapoor brand restaurants which includes Khazana and the The Yellow Chilli. Then, on Sunday, my family and I decided to make it as lazy as it could possibly be and spent all our time at home. Had some quality time relaxing at home with Alyona and kids and had Laksa for lunch. Then dozed off…these overseas trips surely makes one a little sleep deprived!
Back in action on Monday at Kolkata, the city of joy – where I began my day with an interview at the RED FM Studios around 11.45 am. By the time I got over from there, it was time for me to rush for the FoodFood Maha Challenge event which was scheduled around 1.30 pm at the Forum Mall at Elgin Road. Had an awesome time cooking up Fresh Dough Pizza, Prawn Balchao Golgappa and Mango Stewed Srikhand for the lovely and warm Kolkataites!
Also, have reserved my evening for Mishti Doi and Sandesh – just can’t miss these two when I’m here! And on my way back to the airport, have plans to check my upcoming TYC restaurant at Jessore Road, which is near the airport.
Besides all this, let’s welcome the monsoons with some recipes that absolutely go well with it like…
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Secrets soon to be revealed!

From L-R: Chef Jaaie, Chef Aesha, Chef Sheetal, Chef Rohit, Chef Dilpreet, Chef Saurabh Saxena, Chef Anupa Das, Chef Kiranpreet
FoodFood Maha Challenge event at Goregaon yesterday was great fun! Did things a little differently this time and instead of cooking myself I invited the guests on stage and gave them a chance to cook for us! It was worth – the look of pure joy and pleasure that they wore while cooking in front of such a large audience. We got some excellent egg lachcha and pizzas on stage as a result! Massive turnout and I also used this opportunity to introduce all the chefs on my FoodFood team to the Mumbai crowd: Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi who does Turban Tadka, Chef Anupa Das of Sirf 30 and Chef Rakesh Sethi of Chai Nashta.
Okay, I have announced ‘secrets soon to be revealed’. The best of the best of my restaurant recipes are being worked upon under the able guidance of Chef Saurabh Saxena who has been on my The Yellow Chilli team for some time now. He has been instrumental in opening many restaurants with his expertise. As you can see in the pic, the team is excited about the new experience, their uniforms and of course, the whole atmosphere where they are learning with every chop, crackle and hiss! The recipes are being reworked with the view that a cook at home can replicate the restaurant recipe with ease at home: all flavours are authentic and all the secrets will be revealed to you. In fact, this is one book that will be a must on every book shelf.
For sharing some flavours try…
Have fun!
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor