Gurmeet Chaudhary and Debina Bonnerjee turn chefs
They are just back from South Africa where they were shooting for the upcoming season of the reality show, Khatron Ke Khiladi. The long and ardous outdoor shoot has left them reeling with fatigue, but the mere mention of food is enough for telly couple Debina Bonnerjee and Gurmeet Chaudhary to rev up.
We join the couple in their kitchen at their home in suburban Mumbai for a culinary experience as Debina tells us...
Debina Bonnerjee and Gurmeet Chaudhary in their kitchen. PICS/ PRASHANT WAYDANDE
Cooking is a passion
I love cooking. I can make almost everything — from dal, rice, vegetables to a variety of salads. I also excel in Bengali dishes, Chinese, a variety of fish and chicken dishes besides stews.
For a quick snack, the good old noodles come handy. These days, however, I am into making avocado sandwiches with peanut butter for an evening snack. I also make bhel with channa, cucumber, tomato, onion, lime, tamarind juice and some coriander and cumin seed powder. It’s a light and healthy snack.
I am from Kolkata while Gurmeet is from Bihar. As he has lived across the country in places like Srinagar, Chennai, Tripura and Jabalpur, he has a taste for different cuisines. Guru (that’s what I call my hubby) was a vegetarian before marriage. Being a Bengali, fish is our staple diet, I couldn’t do without it. Thankfully, Guru tasted it and loved it. Now he eats all kinds of fish from tuna to smoked salmon and even sushi. In South Africa, I tried sushi and loved it so much that I was eating fish for breakfast too.
Gurmeet loves Japanese food Smoked salmon, sushi and wasabi are his absolute favourites. He goes on a binge if a dish appeals to his tastebuds. I make kheer with jaggery of dates which is available only during winters in Kolkata. There are times when there has been a sizeable amount of it in the fridge and he has polished it off in the middle of the night. He also likes patishapta — a rice pancake with a coconut filling and dipped in jaggery before eating.
Guests in the house
When we call people over for dinner, I plan an elaborate meal. I usually have paneer starters followed by a vegetarian ghee pulav and yoghurt chicken or a thick egg curry. Since, fish is not preferred by many people, chicken is a safe option. Mango chutney is just the right accompaniment with any meal. For desserts, I prefer the good ole’ mishti doi.
Gurmeet Chaudhary and Debina Bonnerjee with their pet dog, Dexter
Our diet plan
We begin our day with a glass of hot water and cinnamon that boosts metabolism. It is muesli with yoghurt for breakfast as it provides carbohydrates and energy for the entire day. If we still feel hungry, then we go with a sunny side up egg with brown bread. One egg yolk is fine in a day because it has protein equivalent to 15 egg whites.
Eating just egg whites can get monotonous. Gurmeet once had 12 egg whites and was totally put off at the end of it. We then hit the gym and conclude our regime with a protein shake. We carry lunch on the sets which includes chapati, a vegetable, salad and chaas with ajwain. After every meal, we have green tea as it aids digestion. In the evening, we have avocado sandwiches while for dinner . we opt for salads. If we are still hungry, then we have vegetable with a chapati or grilled fish or chicken.
It is not possible to eat on time as we have erratic working hours. If we are awake till late and feel hungry, we go for milk with cornflakes. We are rigid about our food habits and don’t change it. Even at home, we stick to this diet plan.
When dining out, we try to eat healthy by opting for a tomato pasta (it has the minimum carbs), a salad or a grilled fish. There are times when we indulge in Chinese cuisine. I don’t remember having ever ordered a pizza. Once, I made a pizza at home, but added so many healthy toppings that it ceased to be a pizza. We are not into chaats at all. For desserts, we savour frozen yogurt. It is a healthy option if eaten in limit. But with Gurmeet, it’s no limits of course. We also love to go out in the night to Juhu beach for a gola treat.
Table for two
We have never cooked together because Guru can’t even boil an egg. He only sits at the dining table and orders food. He thinks food is cooked in a jiffy. Once when I was unwell, Guru made Maggi noodles for me. I was touched and recovered quickly.
Debina learnt this dish from her mom. “I like it because it is easy to make. It also has nutritional benefits – dahi gives it a cooling effect while chicken is a good source of protein.”
>> One kilo chicken
>> ½ kilo yoghurt
>> 2-3 onions
>> 2 teaspoons of ginger-garlic paste
>> 2-3 green chillies
>> Khuskhus (poppy seeds)
>> Salt to taste
>> Olive oil to cook
>> Red and yellow pepper for garnishing
Marinate the chicken in yoghurt, ginger garlic paste and salt for at least an hour before cooking it. In the cooking utensil, take some olive oil and fry the onions till brown. Add the chicken and cook well. Grind the green chillis with khuskhus. Add this mixture to the chicken and cook well on low flame for about 10-15 minutes. Once done, garnish with red and yellow pepper stripes.