Archana Puran Singh is known for her infectious laughter in comedy shows. The actress is a great foodie and fitness enthusiast. In an exclusive chat with The Free Press Journal, she shares her food fundas. Excerpts:
First thing I have when I wake up: I no longer eat as soon as I wake up because I realised that it's really unhealthy. So, I have a glass of warm water first. Then after one hour, I have a toast and half a cup of tea (no milk no sugar).
My dietary preference: I am a vegetarian. I eat eggs only in a cake or dessert. But never any meat or fish.
Lunch at home is: Dal, sabzi, roti, rice. I’ve stopped having dahi and salad with my meals as my Ayurveda doctor advised that it was not good for my particular constitution. I also no longer have anything to drink with my meals. I do have a glass of warm water before my meals. Makes an amazing difference to the digestion of the food!
In the evening I snack on: My weakness is jam so I indulge in a slice of lightly buttered toast with jam!
At night, dinner is: If we are at home Parmeet (Sethi) likes to have rajma chawal or kadi, roti, baigan ka bharta, just normal Hindustani khaana. But our cook also makes the most amazing, Italian, Chinese, South Indian and even Japanese meals. So we have a lot of variety at home itself.
After dinner: I used to like to eat sweets etc., but now I restrict myself to some warm water. I simply love having mangoes so during mango season I have some chausa or langda mangoes after my meal. But that’s only during the mango season.
My favourite vegetable: I like tinda. We try to mostly eat fresh vegetables grown in our vegetable garden but often they are not enough, so we buy from the local grocer in Madh market.
My favourite cuisine: Waise toh I cannot do without my Indian khaana! But apart from that my favourite cuisine is Italian. I love all kinds of dishes in this cuisine and have started trying out Italian dishes from different regions of Italy.
My favourite restaurant: In India, CinCin is my absolute favourite Italian restaurant. For Pan Asian food it’s Yauatcha or Bastian. And for pure vegetarian Italian, Little Italy in Juhu is a great place to eat wholesome dishes.
One food that has a childhood memory for me: I love besan ka halwa. My mom makes it with the right blend of ingredients and lots of love.
My favourite cook from my family is: My sister Kalpana. She follows all the top cooking shows in the world and then replicates the same dishes in her kitchen. She often comes over to our house and we have the delight of sampling her amazing cakes, desserts, pastas and curries.
In my fridge you will always find: Lots of fruits and a variety of cheese.
My fitness regime: We have a home gym so you will find the whole family in the gym almost every morning. I also try to take a walk as often as I can, like three to five days a week. Since we have a double storied house and I keep going up and down in the day, that also is a good calorie burner.
One dish I have expertise in: I don’t usually cook, so I’m not an expert at anything, but I can make a great pasta if I really get into the kitchen. Also, I can make very good parathas.
My comfort food is: Arhar ki dal, chawal, and some homemade mango pickles.
Food stuff I can’t resist buying: Mangoes, samosas and jalebi.
The craziest combination I have tried in food: I don’t like experimenting with my food. So probably the most I’ve done is put some gaathiya type of namkeen on a slice of bread and layered it with tomato ketchup and made it into a sandwich. It’s actually quite yum, especially when you’re very hungry and there’s nothing else around!
My idea of a romantic meal is: Sitting in an open-air restaurant with Parmeet, (it has to be open air, or by a huge window so that I can look out), with a glass of chilled beer, some great music, and a table with all our favourite Italian dishes! At the moment, CinCin at BKC is where I would love to go for such a meal.
Recipe for pindi chhole
Ingredients for masala to be ground:
2 to 3 teaspoon cumin seeds
A piece of cinnamon stick
4 to 5 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
2 teaspoon anardana
250 grams Kabuli chana
Sufficient water to boil the chana
4 to 5 tablespoons oil
2 to 3 green chillies (slit)
1 inch ginger (cut into thin juliennes)
2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 tomato sliced (to garnish)
Finely chopped coriander leaves (to garnish)
Salt to taste
Method: Dry roast the masalas on a tawa which are to be ground over a low flame till aromatic. Dry grind into fine powder. Keep aside .Wash and soak the Kabuli chana for eight hours (preferably overnight). Pressure cook the chana with salt and sufficient water on a medium flame till done. Lightly heat oil in a kadai, add green chillies and juliennes of ginger; sauté for a few seconds. Add the kept aside ground masala and fry for a few minutes on a low flame for two minutes. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and little salt. Sauté for another two to three minutes on a low flame. Add the boiled chana along with its water and cook further till the chana is well blended with the masala and the gravy thickens. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and coriander leaves. Serve hot with bhatura, slices of lemon and onion rings.