Cooking Up A Storm With Seema Kiran Sajdeh: 'I don’t really like snacking in between my meals'

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 Updated: Sunday, November 27, 2022, 12:41 AM IST
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Seema Kiran Sajdeh | Pic: Instagram/seemakiransajdeh

Entrepreneur and celebrity fashion designer Seema Kiran Sajdeh is best known for Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. The Free Press Journal caught up with her for an exclusive chat about her food fundas and diet. Excerpts:

I begin my day with: A ginger, haldi, and aloe vera shot that I have on an empty stomach and then I have a black coffee. But most days I do intermittent fasting. I break my fast with a boiled egg because when you break your fast with any sugar or carbohydrates, your insulin level spikes.

My diet preference: Non-vegetarian since I am a hardcore Punjabi but I love vegetarian food also. I ensure I get enough of my proteins so I do a lot of sprouted moong and eggs.

My favourite food: Thai or Malaysian, anything with coconut and kokum.

For breakfast: I have a boiled egg. I have a fruit after 45 minutes and workout thereafter. Later, I have five walnuts and five to six black raisins.

My lunch: Sprouted moong dosa with sambar and coconut chutney, or a dahi curry, Thai curry, vegetable curry, chicken curry or prawns. I love seafood with a bowl of rice and a homemade fresh salad.

A must with my meals: Dahi and sugar is always there on the side with my khaana.

My evening snack: I don’t really like snacking in between my meals. I read this book, The Prime, which explains the concept of we are not cows, we are not meant to graze throughout the day and as we grow older, our metabolism slows down. Now, you don’t live to eat. you eat to live. If I am hungry, a handful of nuts and raisins or an iced latte with almond milk works for me. After every meal. I have my two dark chocolate almond rocks.

My dinner is: Grilled chicken salad or prawns or eggs and a small cheese board which is my favourite. But I will definitely stay away from carbs.

In desserts I relish: A pineapple, upside-down cake. In ice-creams I love the Baskin-Robbins’ Bavarian chocolate or anything with butterscotch and nuts in it and I am also a sucker for salted caramel.

To keep fit: I like a crossfit kind of workout three times a week and cardio on the three other days. If I'm bored. I incorporate yoga. My workouts are short but intense.

For health reasons: I don’t eat anything that’s white, whether it’s pasta, bread or anything with maida or white sugar. Anything that comes out of a box is a big no-no for me including.

I cook: I'm a pretty good cook. So, my kids tell me over the years, I can make a pretty decent butter chicken and a very good Thai curry. I also do a pretty mean pasta and massaman curry, and good cupcakes too.

The best cook in my family: My mom. Her lasagne baked dish was divine.

My comfort food is: A cheese toastie. I’m obsessed with cheese. I like a cheese grilled toast made in the old style sandwich maker.

My favourite drink and beverage: Gin and tonic or tequila. And a non-alcoholic one would have to be nimbu pani.

On a hot day: Nimbu pani or a rose falooda with sabza is sinful! My favourite food would have to be a watermelon and feta salad or a goat cheese salad with candied walnuts. I like the crunch factor.

My favourite restaurants: Thai Pavilion in Mumbai and Zuma for its Japanese cuisine in Dubai.

Seema’s butter chicken recipe

Representative pic of butter chicken

Representative pic of butter chicken | Pic: Pinterest

Ingredients:

750 gms broiler chicken (with bones) 

150 gms Greek yoghurt 

2 teaspoons red chilli powder (or as per taste) 

21/2 teaspoons coriander powder 

1 teaspoon Shaan tandoori masala 

1 teaspoon garam masala powder 

11/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

Salt to taste 

For the gravy 

3-4 tablespoons oil 

2 bay leaves

1-2 cinnamon sticks 

1 big onion (finely chopped) 

11/2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste 

3-4 tomatoes

2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder (or as per taste) 

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup 

1 teaspoon sugar 

Salt to taste 

1/2 cup full cream milk

1-2 teaspoon Shaan masala or biryani masala 

1 tablespoon butter 

Method: Clean and wash the chicken. In a bowl mix the yoghurt with red chilli powder, coriander powder, tandoori masala, garam masala powder, ginger-garlic paste and salt. Add the chicken to the mixture and mix well. Keep aside to marinate for a couple of hours. Grill the chicken till done. Once done cool and shred the chicken. 

For the gravy

In a non-stick pan, lightly heat oil. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the onions and sauté on a low flame till light golden. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Add the tomatoes on a low flame and sauté till it leaves the sides of the pan. Add tomato ketchup, Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar and salt to it. Sauté for a few seconds. The gravy has to be slightly sweet and salty with a tang. Cool and grind the tomato-onion mixture to make purée. Remove the mixture in a pan, add full cream milk to get a desired consistency and cook on a low flame till the colour is nice and rich. Add the kept aside chicken to the gravy and mix well. Add the tandoori or biryani masala and gently mix. Add butter on top. 

PS: To get a smoky flavour, heat a piece of coal and place it in a small bowl in the centre of the butter chicken. Add 1/2 teaspoon ghee on top and cover the vessel with a lid for a bit.

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