Proud to be an Indian

Ever wondered what makes Indian food so hot outside the country? And there are so many factors in play.

Take the Indian diaspora. That’s a special lot! Some years ago an Indian would settle abroad occupied as a taxi driver or a gas station attendant. Now we have our people in the IT sector big time, medical research and practicing doctors, there are space scientists too…these people might be residing in distant lands but have succeeded because of their single minded and focused hard work. This enhances the respectability of the country and of course, the awareness about Indian food goes up. As these residents crave for home cooked food specially the popular dishes like Murgh Makhni, Palak Paneer and the ubiquitous Naan there are establishments that provide them and the locals too get interested generally. There is a demand for Indian restaurants and hence they are mushrooming.

Take globalization. MNCs look at India for business. And as they set foot here and make India their base their palates get accustomed to our style of cooking. They appreciate it, in fact it is easy to get addicted to Indian food. I have noticed that among this breed the most sought after dishes are the Tandoori Chicken and Biryani. You just have to see them polishing off these delicacies and you know you have the winners. As a result over the past few years, there has been tremendous global interest in Indian cuisine and eateries.

Take tourism. With the sort of influx of tourists that our country attracts there are open channels for food likings to go out into foreign kitchens too. This is a well-accepted and simple fact that a well-traveled person knows a lot about foreign foods. Well, there are exceptions, but as you will see there is a positive aspect of these exceptions too. When our Gujaratis and Jains travel out of the country they carry their own food like Chhunda, Thepla, Aloo ki Sukhi Sabzi, Murmura Chiwda and being the ever hospitable people that they are offer them to their newly made friends in the foreign lands. Hence they qualify as messengers propagating the cause of Indian cuisine. Their diet choices are looked after by the travel companies and they in turn set up kitchens abroad. So there is a lot of Indian food being cooked out there!

Take the information era. Websites on food thrive. Our www.sanjeevkapoor.com has ninety percent of its subscribers who are not residing in India. Then we have food shows abroad and also well accepted cookery books. All this, in a slow trickle, add to the ocean of the greatness of Indian cuisine.

Take the food exports. Ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat ranges from India, be it simple home recipes of dals and vegetables, be it pickles, chutneys or snacks are in the foreign market. And the demand is growing.

Friends, Indian food abroad is no longer confined to ‘chicken tikka masala and naan’. It would surprise you to know that Indian restaurants abroad are doing spectacular business. Our experiences with Khazana and Options in Dubai are very pleasant.

It is also enlightening to know that some experimental cooking headed by a new generation of Indian Chefs abroad have created new dishes that are so good that they are appearing on menus here at home! The tastes of the customers have changed with more and more people steering away from the korma and masala dishes, eating more savoury dishes like Garlic Chicken or Rogan Josh. Ethnic is exotic, ethnic is in! Indian is hot, Indian is in!

To mark the Independence Day Celebrations we at Khana Khazana are all dressed in traditional white…looks nice and cool…so here’s wishing you a pleasant weekend with lots of good things in store!

Shaam Savera

Sundried Tomato and Spinach Naan

Tiranga Paneer Tikka

Sanjeev Kapoor


Today a delight awaits for the residents at Vikhroli for there is a live demonstration of cooking being done at Home Stop using my WONDERCHEF range of bakeware and cookware. The timings are 5 pm to 7 pm and my colleague Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi will show you how to make cakes, pizzas and biryanis using his own flamboyant style.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the launch function of my new set of books named KITCHEN LIBRARY VEGETARIAN COLLECTION at Korum Mall in Thane. Soon it will be available at www.sanjeevkapoor.com. In this Vegetarian Collection comprising of five volumes, I have a banquet of delicious vegetarian Indian and international foods ranging from the everyday to the exotic, from heritage fare to the hot and happening. All these books will help to make every meal a gourmet’s delight with tried and tested recipes from our kitchens!
I get a lot of enquiries from food lovers settled outside India about what they can use as substitute for khoya in mithai. I can only suggest the options of condensed milk and/or milk powder.

Well, I guess, staying in India makes us lucky as we get readymade khoya! If one wishes khoya can be made at home. Just be prepared to burn a lot of gas and have patience. It is easier said than done. Khoya can be made at home, though the method is little tedious. It is prepared by boiling and reducing the milk to a semi-solid stage. The milk is to be boiled in a large kadai on a high heat and stirred occasionally. The heat is reduced as the milk thickens. When the mixture is in a semi-solid stage it is removed from the heat and set into moulds.

There are different types of khoya depending on the use of ingredients and moisture content. When you use full cream buffalo milk to make khoya, every litre of milk yields 200 grams. This khoya is used in burfis and laddoos. There is a different khoya that is made with low fat buffalo milk. The process of making it is the same as shown above but it is removed from the heat slightly earlier. It is loose and sticky in consistency with higher moisture content. It is suitable for making gulab-jamuns and gajar ka halwa. The dandedaar khoya which is excellent for kalakand is also made from full cream buffalo milk. The difference is that khoya is curdled slightly by adding a little tartaric acid. The milk curdles slightly hence the khoya is soft textured.

Let’s look at some recipes that use khoya:

Ananas ka meetha
Mawa Roll
Mawa Cake

Have a happy sweet weekend.
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 www.sanjeevkapoor.com 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.