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Shekhar Suman, son Adhyayan share their love for cooking and eating

It’s a bright, sunny afternoon at the Suman household. While dad Shekhar is busy working on a script in his study, Adhyayan is preparing for the cooking session. Just in time, the senior actor walks in and the gastronomical journey begins. The food talk flows freely.

Adhyayan and Shekhar Suman with Mushroom and Paprika Pizza and Chicken Salad
Adhyayan and Shekhar Suman with Mushroom and Paprika Pizza and Chicken Salad.

Fighting fit
Though both, the father and son, confess to being big foodies, their fitness regime differs. Shekhar sticks to his old school thought of balanced eating. He says, “I allow myself to overeat only when I have a deep craving for munchies.”

Adhyayan, on the other hand, makes no bones about going overboard at times. He says, “I have a tendency to put on weight really fast. For the past 15 days, I have been gorging on Diwali sweets at parties. But now that I have resumed to my fitness routine, it’s only salads for all the three meals. I try to alter the taste by using different sauces and dressings.

Adhyayan
Adhyayan rustles up the pizza in his kitchen. Pics/Khushnum Bhandari

I start my day with a glass of green juice — it is dad’s recipe which is a mixture of apples, bitter gourd, garlic, lemon and some other vegetables. It is followed by oatmeal as it contains complex carbohydrates, which is essential for the body. I sometimes eat brown rice, chicken and yoghurt for lunch. In the evening, I have a protein shake or a brown bread sandwich, a salad again for dinner and a protein shake just before bed.

Master chefs
Apart from eating, the father-son duo also indulges in cooking from time to time. Quiz Senior Suman on what he likes to cook for his special guests and he’s quick to reply, “I like to cook a nice continental meal — chicken breast with mushroom sauce, garlic bread, and a Caesar salad. A fine glass of red wine goes well with it.”

Adhyayan swears by his butter chicken. “With no modesty whatsoever, I can proudly claim that my butter chicken is a hit among my family and friends. I am also fussy about making my own salads because I like to experiment with different ingredients and it also helps me keep a check on the calorie content of the dish,” he says.

Food ‘court’ing
The self-confessed foodie, Adhyayan has a sweet tooth. “I love chocolates and pastries. I am fine if it is not kept in front of me, but if it is within my reach, rest assured, I will polish it off in no time. I love all Indian sweets,” he smiles.

Shekhar enjoys his occasional chocolate pastry and rabdi. The two also fancy the pani puri made by a local vendor. Adhyayan says, “We sometimes drop by in the evenings for a quick round of pani puri. I once ate about 37 of them in one go,” he says, “It’s not too much, is it?”

The actor’s late night cravings are quite varied. “From an egg bhurji to a cheese pav bhaji, even some chips with an aerated drink would do. I am quite unpredictable when it comes to food. Luckily, I have friends, who are big foodies like me, for company,” he says.

The special flavour
Adhyayan remembers the time when he almost died eating. “There is this place called The Halal Guys on the south-east corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in New York where they serve meal boxes — chicken, lamb and rice with a white sauce topping. You go there any time of the day and you will find a serpentine queue to pick up the exotic boxes served at their food carts. The quantity served in one box is good enough for an average person to finish in one go. But I got so carried over by its heavenly taste, that I ended up eating three boxes.

After that, I couldn’t move because of overeating and I thought I would die. After taking long walks and several digestive pills finally I could breathe normally.” Adhyayan also digs the yellow dal at Urban Tadka and the Galouti Kababs and Mutton Biryani at Dum Pukht, ITC Maratha in Mumbai.

For Shekhar, the best dining experience is definitely the one he had in the Middle East. He remembers, “It was an awesome experience to dine at the underwater restaurant at the Burj al Arab in Dubai. The restaurant gives one the feeling of being underwater and being surrounded by marine life. It is known for its exotic seafood.”

‘Two’ many cooks
It’s not a rare sight to find Shekhar and Adhyayan whipping up new dishes in their kitchen. But what they really like to bond over is biryani. Shekhar admits, “We sometimes get together to cook; we can make some delicious mutton biryani.”
Adhyayan refers to his dad as his inspiration. “Mom is not fond of cooking. But I get my passion for food and cooking from my dad who loves to experiment in the kitchen. He is very good with chicken dishes and his burnt potatoes and garlic bread are to die for,” he signs off.

Recipes

Mushroom and Paprika Pizza
>> 1 thin crust pizza base
>> 2 tbsp pizza sauce
>> 1 cube cheese, grated
>> 4-5 mushrooms
>> Some red paprika
>> Mixed herbs

Mushroom and  paprika Pizza

Method
On the pizza base, spread pizza sauce. Grate cheese and add some mushrooms and red paprika on it. Sprinkle some mixed herbs and keep it in the oven at 150°c degrees.

Chicken salad
>> Chicken (boneless) marinated for an hour in yoghurt, garlic paste and salt and cooked for 10 minutes in minimal oil
>> Iceberg lettuce leaves
>> Rocket leaves
>> Sea salt
>> 1 small bowl of Thousand Island dressing
>> Some roasted peanuts
>> Some feta cheese
>> 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Method
Take the green leaves in a bowl. Add the Thousand Island dressing to it. Now add the herbs, salt and virgin olive oil to it. Mix well. Add the chicken which has been cut into small pieces. Add roasted peanuts and feta cheese to it. You can also add boiled eggs to this salad.

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