Actor Arjun Bijlani is a good cook but not a regular one. Besides food, he can cook up interesting stories. The Free Press Journal caught up with him for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:
The first thing I have in the morning: A kiss from my son and a big glass of water.
For breakfast: I have some daliya / muesli with warm milk, 5 almonds which are soaked overnight, 8 eggs, some fruits but a banana is a must. I also have a multivitamin tablet with my breakfast.
My diet preference: My diet consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. I create a right balance and combination of the two. In a week I make sure that for at least two or three days I eat only vegetarian food because meat is difficult to digest.
My favourite foods: Indian and Mexican food though I hardly eat the latter. I love butter chicken, bhindi ki sabzi and dum aloo.
My lunch is: A bowl of quinoa or some brown rice, either chicken breasts with salad / paneer with salad.
An accompaniment I must have with my meals: Salad and chaas.
My Sunday lunch: It’s my cheat day. I have pizzas, ice-creams, gulab jamuns and everything I can lay my hands on! It is a well deserved treat because I am on a diet for the week.
For health reasons, I eat: Quinoa. I think it’s one of the healthiest foods we can eat.
For health reasons, I don’t eat: Fried food and junk food.
My evening snack: Chicken sandwich or idli and protein shake. and sometimes I have boiled eggs.
My dinner is: Light. Steamed or grilled fish with salad/grilled chicken/ soup.
My favourite dessert: Chocolate mousse with ice cream and crispy jalebi with rabdi.
My fitness regime: Three days of weight training and two days of functional training.
My favourite restaurant: Bastian.
My favourite cuisines are: Indian and pan-Asian.
My favourite beverage: Coconut water, keeps me cool and it’s healthy.
A childhood memory connected to food: My dad would take my mom, brother and me to Five Gardens, near Hindu Colony, Dadar and we would binge on pav bhaji. It was a nice family picnic, I wish I could do it again.
I binge on: Soya sticks. They are addictive, so I always have a packet of soy sticks and peanuts.
My worst kitchen disaster: I was watching my favourite show on TV and cooking simultaneously. I got so involved in an intense scene, I completely forgot that I was cooking, and burnt my food.
My favourite cook in the world: My mom makes excellent food. My friends often say, “Aap ke mummy ke haath ka khana is amazing.” I think she is the best cook in the world.
I feel guilty after eating: Vada pav.
My favourite dish: Butter chicken.
My idea of a romantic meal: A candlelit table set on the beach. Wine, pasta, noodles, actually anything my wife (Neha Swami) likes. Desi mundi hai toh Indian hi pasand hai. I would like to try Mexican or Italian food.
Arjun’s favourite recipe: Butter Chicken
REPRESENTATIVE PIC | Pic: Pinterest
500 gms broiler chicken (boneless)
150 gms hung curd
2 tablespoons mustard oil
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder (or as per taste)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin seed powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste
For the makhani gravy:
3 tablespoons butter
10 to 12 cashew nuts
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 to 3 cloves
4 to 5 green cardamoms
1 big onion (sliced)
1 inch ginger
8 cloves garlic
4 big tomatoes (chopped)
3 whole Kashmiri chillies (or as per taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1/4 cup milk (if required)
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh cream (or as per taste)
1 teaspoon kasuri methi (very lightly roasted and crushed)
Method to grill the chicken: Clean and wash the chicken. In a bowl mix curd, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin seed powder, garam masala powder, ginger- garlic paste, lemon juice and salt. Add the chicken to the curd mixture and mix well. Heat mustard oil and add it to the chicken and curd mixture. Mix well. Keep aside to marinate for a couple of hours. Grill the chicken in a preheated oven at 160 degrees celsius till done.
Method for the makhani gravy:
In a non-stick pan add the tomatoes, onions, cashew nuts, ginger, garlic, whole Kashmiri chillies, bay leaves, cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon stick, salt , sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Add about 2 cups of water and keep to boil on a low to medium flame till the tomatoes are soft. Cool the mixture completely. Remove the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon stick and blend the onion tomato mixture to a smooth consistency. Strain the mixture. In a pan, lightly heat 2 tablespoons butter. Add the makhani gravy and give it a boil stirring continuously on a medium flame. Add the kept aside grilled chicken and mix well. Add fresh cream and some kasuri methi and gently stir. Boil for a couple of minutes on a medium flame. If you feel the sauce is thick, add little milk. Drizzle some fresh cream on top and serve hot with naan or roti.
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