Cooking it up with the Kapurs
Chef Kunal Kapur's new book of recipes is a tribute to the inspiration that drew him towards enjoying asli ghar ka khana
The bright cover of his upcoming book — Kunal Kapur in the Kitchen — has the chef on a Lambretta, with a wooden box of fresh produce on the back seat. "I thought it was a perfect expression, a reminder of a carefree childhood when we used to wait for the men in our family to return on their Lambretta and Yezdi — we'd stop them at the gate and ask them to take us out for a spin. It was an ideal vehicle to go to the market," says Kapur. The book has recipes of 15 meals, peppered with childhood memories and conversations.
When you are in the kitchen, what's the first dish you want to make?
Back in Delhi where I lived in a joint family, our house number was 143. My chacha (uncle) used to make an amazing mutton that we had with lachcha paratha. It was a hit with the neighbours too. It got to be known as Mutton 143. So, when I enter the kitchen, that's what I like to make.
What's your favourite childhood food memory?
Growing up, cooking on Sundays was all about elaborate meals. My chachi (aunt) used to make tandoori roti at home. She was the only one in the area who knew how to make it. So, women from the same neighbourhood would line up in our verandah with dough balls and ask her to make it for them. It's a reminder of simpler, unselfish times, when the concept of 'privacy' and 'my space' wasn't a big deal. Everyone was there for everyone — in good times and bad.
The concept of your upcoming book is unique; what inspired it?
My grandfather studied in a school run by the British and instilled a lot of their mannerisms in us. For him, all the food must arrive at the table before anyone sits to eat, as a family. The presentation mattered too. So, the book has 15 curated meals, each with a starter, salads, main course and even pairings.
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