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Shilpa Shetty Kundra's new book offers quick and healthy recipes

Updated on: 26 February,2018 08:36 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dhara Vora Sabhnani |

Shilpa Shetty Kundra's new book offers quick recipes, so you spend less time in the kitchen and eat healthy

Shilpa Shetty Kundra's new book offers quick and healthy recipes

Shilpa Shetty Kundra
Shilpa Shetty Kundra

"Carbs have been vulgarised today. I am a rice eater and I eat it every day for lunch, whether it's white or my favourite Mangalorean red rice," says actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra when we meet her at a Santacruz five-star, on a hectic shoot day.

Kundra is proud of her roots, be it coming from a middle-class family from Chembur, being raised by working parents, or her eternal love for coconut oil and coconut, which she credits her good hair and skin to. It is these little notes on running a healthy kitchen at home that have made their way to her new book, The Diary of a Domestic Diva (Penguin Books). In the introduction, she writes, "As silly as it sounds, the most important thing for me while cooking is making sure my hair doesn't frizz. So the food I cook is usually very quick to make." And the book follows this philosophy of helping homemakers spend less time in the kitchen, so they have more time to themselves.

What made you work on this book?
It's taken me a year and a half to write it and seven to eight years of work — collecting my diary notes and whittling them down. I love cooking; I don't cook often, but when I do, I try something new. Whenever I spot healthy ideas in books or magazines, I take notes and try them out. It's the recipes that have worked in my house, which have made it to the book. I have been associated with wellness, but wellness has to be inculcated, it can't just happen to you. If I could bring about a small change in the way people think and make them realise that it is so easy to be healthy, and that if you are slightly prepared, you will have more time [my work is done]. It's the lack of time that steers us towards readymade and junk food. That becomes a pattern; I want people to break that pattern. There is a certain discipline that we have in our home about desserts and I am unapologetic about it. But I am a huge foodie, so Sundays are my binge days, and that's why I started doing the Sunday binge videos so people know that I indulge too. I think guilt-free eating is important. Now I am under so much pressure to decide what I will eat for my binge video [laughs].

What tips did you get from your working mother?
My mum only had weekends free. Because she didn't have time to cook non-veg every day, she would cook it on Saturdays, and freeze it. Rather than getting readymade food, you can refrigerate the stock cubes and chicken; at least it is made at home. Women today are working, going out [just like men]. I wanted to do something to help these working men and women. Which is why I started my YouTube channel too, where I cook recipes that a common person can try. Also, there are amazing ingredients in India. I want more people to use them.

What are your favourite memories of eating home-cooked food?
My grandmother was an exceptional cook. My first book was dedicated to her. She made me enjoy my food. I loved her tauthe curry and steamed beans. I think it was the way she cut the beans; I can never make it like her.
Mangalorean food is very simple, we steam everything and give it a tadka of coconut oil, rai and kadi patta, with a sprinkling of coconut. Simple and quick cooking is the healthiest way to eat. When I go to fancy restaurants, they use so much masala that they rob the vegetable of the flavour. Each region of India has a certain way of cooking that is suitable for not just your palate but also your system. Since it's so hot in the south, the food is meant to cool you down. We should follow these tried and tested methods.

What's the easiest way to eat right?
Steam food and temper it, it saves on time and maintains freshness. Those wanting to lose weight should eat out of a bowl. I have a chapter on yogi bowls in the book — add grilled chicken or other protein and some roasted garlic to your veggies in a broth — and you will see the result in a week. The bedrock of healthy eating is to chew your food, at least 28 times. And don't follow fads blindly; take your doctor's advice. I have seen people who aren't intolerant to gluten, go gluten-free. If you are craving something, eat it, but within limits. Have three pani puris instead of seven, and add more moong or ragda to the puri than potato.

How do you get kids to eat healthy?
Kids love presentation. Cut sandwiches with a cookie cutter. We had once got a Captain America cake mould for Viaan. He didn't care what the cake was made of! Milkshakes and smoothies are a great way to offer them essential nutrients.

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