Cooking Up A Storm With Alaya F: 'I never feel guilty after eating as it’s the worst thing you can do!'

In this fortnightly column, we offer you an exclusive pass to the kitchen of one of your favourite celebrities and get the stars to reveal one secret recipe from their family cookbook

Anita Raheja-Heena AgarwalUpdated: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 08:21 AM IST
Pic: Instagram/alayaf

Alaya F will be seen next in Ektaa Kapoor’s aptly titled U-Turn. The Free Press Journal caught up with the actress for an exclusive chat regarding her diet and favourite foods. Excerpts:

First thing in the morning: I have some water, then I have a Yakult and a cup of coffee. And after that, I have beetroot celery juice, followed by watermelon juice. So just lots of liquids somehow make their way in the morning.

My dietary preference: I was a non-vegetarian pretty much all my life, but about a year and a half ago, I turned vegetarian. My favourite dish changes at regular intervals. Of late, I’ve been obsessed with burgers.

My breakfast consists of: Poha, dosa or an idli is so satisfying.

My lunch comprises: Some vegetable, avocado, a soup if I feel like it and a jowar roti.

One thing that is a must with my meals: Probably just a glass of detox water — lemon, cucumber and mint water.

For my evening snack: Usually, I have a smoothie that has a lot of good things which are churned together. And if I am still hungry, then probably hummus with carrots, nuts or dates.

For my dinner: I like to keep it light at night because otherwise, I wake up feeling bloated and not nice. So I end up having soup and salad.

My favourite desserts: I love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on top. I absolutely love Indian sweets like a nice warm gulab jamun, rasgulla, Bengali cham chams, and gajar ka halwa. However, contrary to popular tastes, I don’t like chocolate desserts.

To stay fit: Currently, I’m playing tennis and doing yoga, dance and just normal gym workouts.

Foods I consciously avoid for health reasons: I love bread, but when I have a lot of bread, I will end up feeling bloated and not nice. Also, I can’t handle very oily and heavy food.

Foods that I consciously have: I just keep myself hydrated. So, I drink lots of water and drink ajwain tea so that I can digest my food.

I can cook really well: Protein pancakes, pasta, pizza sauce and salads.

My favourite cook in the family: My mom (Pooja Bedi). I don’t think my dad and my brother cook at all.

I have childhood memories of: My mom, brother and me in the kitchen making lasagne and stew.

My favourite cuisines: Currently, my favourites are Italian, Japanese and Indian in no specific order.

My comfort food: Dahi bhindi or paneer with roti, basic and wholesome.

I feel guilty after eating: Why would someone feel guilty after eating? I never feel guilty after eating. It’s the worst thing you can do because it is a negative association with food.

While travelling, the most exotic or weirdest dish, I have had: I have no inclination to eat scorpions or anything atrangi!

My favourite drink and beverage: There’s no drink like water and a nice smoothie.

On a hot day, I love: Watermelon juice or nimbu pani, curd raita and ice cream.

During winters, I love: A nice hot chocolate and warm soup with lots of bread,

During the monsoons, I love: A nice cup of chai, bhajiyas, and Maggi noodles. This question is making me very hungry! How many questions have that effect?

Tips for healthy eating: Include green vegetables, fruits and superfoods like chia seeds and flax seeds in your diet. Drink a lot of water.

Alaya’s Favourite Recipe, Dahiwali Bhindi


300 gms small ladyfingers (bhindi)

6 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 big onion (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

1 green chilli (slit)

1/2 cup thick curd (whisked)

1 teaspoon red chilli powder (or as per taste)

2 teaspoons coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed powder

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

2 to 3 tablespoons of water

1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder

Finely chopped coriander leaves (to garnish)

Method: Wash the bhindi and pat dry with a towel. Chop the ends of the bhindi and make a slit in the centre of each bhindi. Sprinkle a little salt on it and mix. In a bowl, take whisked curds, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin seed powder and salt to taste. Whisk it well and keep it aside. Heat about three tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan and stir fry the bhindi on a low flame for about 10 minutes. Remove and keep aside. Take the remaining oil in the same wok and add cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add finely chopped onions and green chilli. Sauté the onions on a low flame. When the onions are about to turn golden, add ginger garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds. Add Kashmiri chilli powder and sauté for a few seconds. Add very little water and mix well. Add the kept aside fried bhindi and gently mix. Add the kept aside curd mixture and mix well. Keep stirring on a low flame so that the curd mixture does not curdle. Cook on a low flame till it is cooked. Add garam masala powder and gently mix. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis.

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