Can Gauahar Khan, the tall and lithe model and actress, cook? She says, “I make excellent pastas.” But her busy schedule doesn’t give her much time to cook. She adds,” I usually cook during Ramzan for sehri and iftar. My husband (Zaid Darbar) enjoys and compliments me on my flair for cooking. He also enjoys my biryani and egg sandwiches.” She is happy to acknowledge, “Zaid makes tea for me.”
I am basically a: Non-vegetarian. My favourites in non-vegetarian food are fish and mutton dishes. I also love prawns and tuna fish.
In veggies: I love gobi and gawar ki sabzi. The only two things in food that I don’t like are palak and paneer, and that’s supposed to be the best combination in vegetarian food. Actually, I can’t just eat vegetarian food; I need to have something non-vegetarian with it.
I begin my day with: A glass of warm water followed by my regular chai.
My breakfast is: Either a bowl of muesli, porridge or oats. I have eggs once or twice a week.
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Lunch at home: A non-vegetarian dish, either dry or curry, with a sabzi, dahi and salad. I don’t have rice or roti both at home or out.
When I am doing my fashion shows: I don’t carry lunch from home. I eat whatever is available, but I try to avoid rice and rotis. I order something grilled and a bowl of soup.
In the evenings: If I am hungry, I may have an idli or kanda poha or an upma or dhoklas, but that’s not an everyday routine.
My dinner: I eat an early dinner, by 8 pm usually. Dinner is more or less the same as lunch -- sans carbs.
In desserts, I love: Pastries. I also enjoy eating rasgullas and gajar ka halwa, but by and large, I am not too fond of Indian sweets.
My favourite restaurants are: Zima and Arbab in Bandra for Lebanese food, Kofuku for sushi, Cafe BBC in JW Marriott. When I am travelling by road, I love eating at dhabas. They serve the most amazing parathas, pickles, curds and lassi. I recently ate at Cave Hotel in Turkey. It was perfect! Mutton was served in clay pots. Red Lobster Restaurant in America is known for its lobsters and seafood.
My favourite dining friends are: My family.
My favourite cuisines are: Thai, Mughlai and Italian.
My mom-in-law is: A very nice and kind being. Whenever I go to her place, she makes my favourite black tea.
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My favourite cooks in the family are: My mom. I know everyone says so about their moms, but my mom is really a great cook. She has her own recipes, which I have never eaten anywhere else in the world. My mom makes excellent yakhni, khichda, and a tomato-based chicken dish. And how can I forget my mom’s biryani? Also, my nani was a great cook. She made amazing fish curries because she was from Goa. She made achar (pickle) even when she was in her eighties and could barely see. She had the knack and the know-how of making the world’s best achar.
On Sunday: I have a very late breakfast. It’s the only day I get to sleep, or rather did because now I don’t even get a free Sunday. I like to go out for lunch and chill with people I love when I am not working on Sunday.
My fitness regime: I go to the gym to work out for an hour and a half. Twenty minutes of cardio followed by a lot of weight training. After my workouts, I have a glass of protein shake.
My idea of a romantic meal is: A cordoned off table just for the two of us. I find that romantic.
I can’t resist buying: A chocolate called Flake; it’s not available in India.
I always carry with me: Green tea bags.
My fridge always has: Bits of this and that. A cake, my vitamin tablets, lots of fat-free flavoured yoghurt and also shrikhand as I love it.
I am allergic to: Kiwi, earlier it used to be pineapple, but now I have overcome that.
I don’t consume: Alcohol. My favourite beverages are fresh water and melon juice.
My favourite drink before my shows: Red Bull. Sometimes I eat bananas as they are great for energy.
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Gauahar’s favourite recipe Goa ki yakhni
Ingredients: 1 kg mutton or chicken pieces (cleaned and washed), ¾ cup oil, 3 tbsp ginger paste, 3 tbsp garlic paste, 15 to 20 green cardamoms, 3 to 4 pieces cinnamon, a few peppercorns, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 2 to 4 cloves, 8 big whole red chillies, 1 star anise, a big handful of fresh coriander leaves, 6 green chillies, a little less than ½ kg onions (finely chopped), 1 tsp turmeric powder, ½ kg tomatoes (finely chopped or made into puree), milk of 1 coconut, 4 big potatoes (cut into halves), ¾ kg basmati rice (washed and soaked for 30 minutes), 5 to 6 cups hot water
Method: Roast all the dry ingredients (cardamoms, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, star anise and red chillies) separately on pre-heated tawa till aromatic. Grind these with coriander leaves, ginger-garlic paste and green chillies to a fine paste. Lightly heat oil in a heavy-bottomed vessel or a dekchi. Add onions and sauté on a low flame till red-brown. Add the ground masala and sauté for a few minutes on a low flame. Add turmeric powder and tomatoes. Sauté till oil separates. Add mutton or chicken. Mix well and cook on a low flame. After the meat is half done, add the coconut milk. Mix well. When the coconut milk begins to boil, add the potatoes and rice. Add water as required. Mix gently at regular intervals. Simmer and cook till the rice and the meat are done. Serve hot with imli and onion ka kachumbar.
Ingredients for the kachumbar: 3 onions (finely chopped), 4 to 5 tbsp thick tamarind pulp, finely chopped coriander leaves, 1 green chilli (finely chopped), little sugar (or as per taste), little salt (or as per taste)
Method: In a bowl, mix onions, tamarind pulp, coriander leaves, green chillies, sugar and salt. Serve with yakhni.
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