Mid Day
By: Anita Rahija & Heena Agarwal
November 3, 2002.

We catch Vinod Khanna in the nick of time. The Minister of State for Touurism and Culture is all packed to leave for Kurgyzstan and Israel.Vinod opines,"Being a minister is a commitment to the nation whereas acting is my profession from which I get my bread, butter and jam." Well, bread, butter and jam are exactly what we want to discuss with him, we chorus. He instantly agrees.

Vinod reveals, "I would go in the kitchen when my mother was cooking and generally potter around and help her chop sabzi. That's how I picked up the finer points of cooking."

Vinod's thought for food

I am generally an early riser but it all depends on what time I sleep. I prefer to drink rwo glasses of water and then have a nice hot cup of tea.

My favourite tea is Darjeeling tea. My breakfast consists of a glass of fresh orange juice and a slice of toast.

Earlier I would carry a huge dabba on my shoots. My dabba was much awaited by my co-stars. It contained authentic Punjabi food.

These days I tend to eat everything on the sets. I have recently signed Raveena Tandon's Pehchan. I am shooting from 9 am to 9 pm.

During my Sydenham College days I chilled out at Napoli, Volga's Bombellis, Venice and Bistro. I was a regular at their jam sessions in the afterrmoons where I enjoyed sipping chilled coffee and, of course, dancing.

Since my first film, Sunil Dutt's Man ka Meet was largely shot in Madras, I enjoyed eating their special "tiffin."

Durring the making of Amar Akbar Anthony we had a great time. Manmohan Desai was a great director and there was never a dull moment with him. We just sailed through the movie laughingly. All my co-star shared the dabba that came from home.I distinctly remember I enjoyed eating the unit food on the sets of a Gaffarbhai Nadiadwala film as the food would come from his home.

There was a time when mere ghar se Gujarati food bhi ata tha. Those days I had two cooks in the house, one Gujarati and the other Punjabi.

In Gujarati food I enjoy the kadhis and dhoklas.

I am very fond of pani puri, bhel and sev puri.

I keep sipping water throughout the day. I don't consume soft drinks.

In Maharashtrian cuisine my favourite is varan bhaat.

I have a wonderful cook Padamsingh.

For lunch I relish a nice dal and two-free sabzis for lunch.

My favourite meal is rajma, kali dal, mutter aloo, bhindi, shalgham ki sabzi and sarson ka saag.

I tend to gravitate towards vegetarian meals. I love rice and roti equally.

In the evenings I need my cup of tea, sans snacks at 4 pm. Earlier, if nashta was served in the evening, I would indulge sometimes in samosas and sandwiches.

Dinner comprises dal, sabzis and a non-vegetarian dish.

I am fond of seafood, especially shellfish. I also enjoy a good mutten or chicken dish.

I am not at all fond of meetha. Once in a while I like to eat either chocolate or sitafai ice-cream from Apsara at Walkeshwar.

My favourite liquor is whisky, which I drink once in a while.

I cook sometimes I can make good curry - chicken, mutton or even vegetarian. I make excellent dal, pulao and biruani.

While shooting for Leela in Los Angeles, food on the sets was totally American - burgers, roast chicken and lots of pastas. There were tupical desserts like like apple pies and lots of pastries also. Once in a while, Indian food was catered by Bombay Palace, one of the best restaurants in Biverly Hills. The owner of the restaurant was director Somnath Sen's friend.

My favourite fruits are melons and mangoes.

My favourite restaurants in Mumbai are India Jones and Khuber. The food at the Grand Maratha is also very good. For Chinese food I recommend China Garden.

I recently travelled to Yugoslavia, Turkey and the Maldives with our prime minister where I got an opportunity to try cut the local cuisine.

On a hot summer's day I would like to drink lots of nimbu pani and coconut water. I prefer to eat light.

On a rainy day curry chawal would be perfect.

On a wintry day in Delhi I like to eat hot, tandoori food. Food in Delhi is rich and authentic Punjabi fare.

My idea of a romantic meal is on the beach, with something romantic to read and a lovely meal, which my wife Kavita and I can share.

Vinod Khanna's vegetable pulao

2 cups basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
2 to 3 onions. finely sliced
8 to 10 black peppercoms
3 to 5 cloves
2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
1 big elaichi
4 green elaichis
100 gm shelled green peas
2 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
100 gm cauliflower, chopped
2 to 3 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste

Lightly heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed vessel. Fry the sliced onions and the whole garam masala.
Saute the onions on a medium flame till golden. Drain the water from the rice, add the rice to the onions.
Fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetables and mix well. Add salt to taste. Add five cups of hot water and mix well.
Cook on medium flame till done. Serve hot raita and sliced onions.


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