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Singer Hard Kaur shares her recipe for Mackerel in garlic sauce

Hard Kaur loves seafood and experiments with cuisines from across the globe. The singer believes a good chef is as much of a superstar as a good actor or singer

Keeping with her feisty personality, Hard Kaur digs food that has a hint of spice. A fan of European cooking, the singer loves Indian dishes, but doesn’t indulge in them. She admits that she cheats at times, gorging on French fries, chicken wings and chips, but knows how to balance it out. “Exercising taught me a lot about food. So, I learnt to balance my diet and stay healthy,” she says. Here’s what Hard Kaur has on her mind when it comes to food:

Hard Kaur
Hard Kaur has a small kitchen at her recording studio in Goregaon

A late bloomer
As a youngster, I loved to play football with the boys. I was never interested in cooking. Moreover, my mom never imposed it on me. Of course, I could make the basic stuff — tea, cheese toast, omelettes and instant noodles. My passion for cooking developed when I started earning and eating at good places. I wanted to make the fancy stuff at home. I read up recipes online but the initial results weren’t great. I would mess up big time and learnt cooking through trial and error. Earlier, I made all the fattening stuff. Now, I cook only healthy items.

Jamaica on my mind
The cuisines I cook change every year. This year, I am learning and experimenting with Jamaican food. The area where I grew up in London had Gujaratis, Punjabis and West Indian residents. I had friends from the Caribbean with whom I did hip-hop and rap. They would take me home for lunches and dinners. Jamaicans make the best soups in the world. I love the Scotch Bonnet chilli, which they use for cooking. I love dishes such as Mutton Soup, Fish Tea and Curry Chicken. The people of Indian origin in the Caribbean call Chicken Curry, Curry Chicken (laughs).

Living healthy
I love Thai and Chinese food because it’s healthy. Most of the vegetables are steamed or boiled. I feel it’s important to reduce sodium and sugar intake. One can replace salt with butter-garlic sauce, lemon juice, olive oil or Balsamic vinegar. I avoid sugar, but then I love Coca Cola. I start my day with an omelette made of four egg whites and toast or oats with blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. These fruits are great source of vitamins. I have black coffee or green tea. Lunch is steamed or grilled fish with a salad and sauce. Dinner is similar — a piece of chicken breast or tenderloin beef with boiled vegetables such as broccoli, spinach or Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage). I have replaced rice with quinoa in my daily diet.

Kitchen favourites
I always keep basil, feta cheese and fruits in my kitchen. Fish is a part of my staple diet. I get the orange salmon from a particular store in Juhu. I love raw tuna, but it’s tough to find tuna in India. I often visit the restaurant in Grand Hyatt as I love the tuna sashimi served there. I also love mackerel, which is a great source of Omega 3. I love herbs. Thyme is the best. I use it for my soups, pasta and salads. I also include coriander as it gels with Mexican dishes. In Indian spices, I like cardamom and mustard seeds.

Sweet stuff
My mom’s gajar ka halwa is one of the best I’ve had. I like dry kaala jamun as well. I love the spongy part of cakes — the part without the icing. I like brownies and Chinese cakes, which are light. Chocolate crème brûlée and the one with vanilla are to die for.

Desi delights
White butter, widely made in Punjab, is yummy. I use it for my Continental dishes as well. I can eat two-three aloo parathas made by my mom at one go. I feel cheated when I don’t get sufficient aloo. The Punjab Grill restaurant near my home serves excellent Indian dishes. I also enjoy the sour and spicy taste of Rajasthani food. One of my troupe members is a Bengali. She once got steamed hilsa cooked in mustard sauce and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also like prawns in coconut curry Bengali-style. I can make some of the South Indian curries at home.

World on my plate
I love the pizzas and barbecue dishes that are served in restaurants in Chicago. They do the grilled stuff really well with great sauces. Dubai is a great city for those who love shopping for exotic ingredients. I love it, as everything is easily available. I feel that Australia has the best produce when it comes to fruits, vegetables and meat. The country also offers varied cuisines. However, my best food memory is from Tel Aviv in Israel. I was on this beach and a guy was making steamed-fried fish with only a dash of lemon. It was so simple, but tasted divine.

Meaty affairs
I had kangaroo meat once, but did not enjoy it. Kangaroos are so cute that the thought of eating them did not appeal to me. Once, I was in Russia where I had moose meat. It was too gamey. I loved the crocodile curry that I ate in Africa though.

Romantic dinner
It would be on a beach preferably when the area is bathed in moonlight and a table is laid out for the two of us. I would love fish on the menu, but then the kiss must happen before dinner (laughs out loud). If you think of it, an early kiss is a good option; we can have lobsters later.

Celebrity chef crush
I adore British chef Marco Pierre White. I know he’s old but the man has great sense of style. I love eating at his restaurants in London.

B-Town secrets
Akshay Kumar is quite finicky when it comes to food. He likes it healthy, but tasty. Manish Malhotra is fond of fine dining like me.

Mackerel in garlic sauce 
Ingredients

>> 2 medium mackerels with skin
>> 5 garlic cloves, crushed
>> 4 ounces butter
>> Salt
>> Pepper
>> 1 or 2 limes

Mackerel in garlic sauce

Vegetables for the salad to be served with mackerels
>> Tomatoes
>> Lettuce
>> Bell peppers
>> Broccoli
>> Onions

Method
>> In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the crushed garlic.
>> Make three deep cuts on each side of the fish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place the fish in the saucepan and cook for two to three minutes. Flip fish over and cook for an additional two to three minutes. Remove from the saucepan and brush with some of the garlic butter (about 2 tbsp).
>> Squeeze 1/2 of a lime over each fillet and serve immediately with green salad.

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