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    Believe In Your Kids And Learn From Them: Popular Chef Sanjay Kapoor Talks About Cooking, Family and Parenting

    Shashwathi Bhanukumar Shashwathi Bhanukumar 8 Mins Read

    Shashwathi Bhanukumar Shashwathi Bhanukumar

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    Written For ParentCircle Website new design update

    The man who revolutionized cookery shows on Indian television talks about his daughters, how cooking can be made easy and, why family comes first. Here's an exclusive interview with Sanjeev Kapoor

    Teen to Parent
    Believe In Your Kids And Learn From Them: Popular Chef Sanjay Kapoor Talks About Cooking, Family and Parenting

    As a child, who grew up in the 90s, I remember being hooked on the television show Khana Khazana, which went on to become the longest-running cookery show in Asia! Often, when we think of food and cooking, the first name that comes to mind is, of course, Sanjeev Kapoor. He brought the art of cooking different cuisines into our homes every week and we would wait for every episode with enthusiasm.

    Now, we watch his videos on the website Food Food, with the same excitement as we watched him cook almost two decades ago. Sanjeev Kapoor has been the reason why many of us like experimenting with food. After all, we learned from the best.

    Here, in conversation with ParentCircle, he talks about parenting, the power of the Internet, and how his daughters' advice often helps him.

    Q: Tell us about your childhood...

    A: My parents were like any other regular parents, who wanted the best for their child. They taught us all the good things in life in terms of the right values, encouraged us in studies, and everything else that we wanted to do in life. We were very fortunate to have them as parents.

    Q: Can you tell us more about the values they taught you?

    A: My parents inculcated in us all the important values -  honesty, hard work, humility, being respectful to others, and more. They taught us to treat everyone equally, be it a poor person or an animal. They did not preach all this to us. We learned by watching what they practiced.

    Q: How did your parents react when you told them that you wanted to be a chef?

    A: They asked me if I was sure of my decision and whether I had thought through about what I was planning to do. By then, my parents were aware of my thought processes, why I make decisions the way I do, and so on. Of course, there was resistance too from my friends, neighbors, and a lot of other people. But, not from my parents. When I told them I was sure of my decision, they reassured me, saying, "Don't worry about what anyone else says. If you are sure, then do what you want to do."

    Q: Were you interested in cooking as a child? Did you often help out your mom in the kitchen?

    A: I actually did not know who a chef was - I think I might have known a bit, but not as a profession. Yes, I used to help my mom in the kitchen and so did my brother, but then, he became a chartered accountant. Taking up cooking as a profession was not something I envisioned right from my childhood. I knew that I wanted to do something interesting, something different and that is what I did.

    Q: What role did your parents play in shaping your career?

    A: They have played a very important role. All the confidence, and all the good values I imbibed from my parents. For instance, my dad was always keen on learning new things. That influenced me as well. They have been a big support for my career.

    Q: Tell us about your daughters...

    A: The older one, Rachita, has studied law and is currently working with me. The younger one, Kriti has studied Math and Statistics. She is also a national-level athlete (sprinter).

    Q: Do you experiment with cooking at home? Do your daughters join in when you do?

    A: On weekends, if we are all at home, we do that a lot; we cook together.

    Q: Are your daughters also interested in cooking and trying out new dishes?

    A: I don't think so, but they join me from time to time, to see what I do.

    Q: So, what is your favorite among the dishes they have cooked for you?

    A: They recently cooked a Thai meal, which I enjoyed a lot. They hardly ask me for suggestions or ideas and want to do everything on their own.

    Q: Do they come to you for advice?

    A: Yes, they talk to me about everything – their career, study courses, or even holiday plans.

    Q: What is your family's favorite dish?

    A: There is no one favorite dish of the family. We have many. We like biryani, laksa, and Thai curry. There are many other favorite dishes too. 

    Q: How do you think parenting has changed from 20 years ago to now?

    A: I think today's parents are more involved with their kids. They also know more about them. Earlier, I feel kids were given more freedom. When I say freedom, I mean how my parents hardly came to my school, but nowadays, parents pay much more attention to what is happening in their children's lives.

    "Learn from your children. Believe in them and learn from them. They know much more than what we do."

    Q: What has been your favorite dad-daughter moment?

    A: Every time I am with my daughters, I am very happy. It is a joy to spend time together. These are the moments that I treasure; there is nothing specific. For a fairly long time, I have been busy with my work and I need to travel a lot. So, I treasure all the moments that I get with them.

    Q: Have you had any funny or embarrassing parenting moments?

    A: I don't keep a record of such things (laughs). There are hundreds of them. Bahut saare hote hain (there are many). Without these moments, there is no fun, right?

    Q: You are one of the first chefs to use television to showcase cooking. Do you think the Internet can be used to talk about healthy food choices?

    A: Yes, the power of the Internet is just phenomenal. This is why I launched my website, as soon as I launched my TV show. We have over 20 million people online, whether it is Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. So, yes it can be used as a medium to influence people to make the right food choices.

    Q: Chef, entrepreneur, author, dad - which role do you enjoy the most and why?

    A: I enjoy my role as a family person because the memories that we make are priceless.

    Q: How do you think dads can be actively involved in kitchen duties?

    A: I think, fathers can be involved right from the planning stage -  what to eat, what ingredients to buy, where and how to buy. They can go to the market, spend time choosing the ingredients and then, start on execution. It is a good idea to start by committing their mind to it first.

    Q: Can you give working moms or dads a few tips to spend lesser time in the kitchen?

    A: Make a weekly menu for the whole family, depending on what the family likes, what they don't like, and so on. Make a creative menu, display it prominently in the kitchen or where everyone can see it. This will help everyone get involved. Remember to respect each other's choices. Once this is done, half the job is done.

    Often, we decide what to cook at the last minute and then realize that many ingredients are not available at home. When you plan and prepare ahead, you know what to shop for and can delegate tasks to the family members too. You can create a shopping list ahead of time.

    Q: What do you love cooking for your family?

    A: I like to cook what they want to eat at the time. It is not what I like to cook for them; it is what they like to eat that day.

    Q: Any advice that you would like to give parents?

    A: Learn from your children. Believe in them and learn from them. They know much more than what we do; we think that we know more, but they are much smarter. Respect how smart they can be.

    Here are two amazing recipes that Chef Sanjeev Kapoor shared with us:

    Energy Dosa

    Ingredients
    ¼ cup rice flour
    ¼ cup whole wheat flour (atta)
    ¼ cup soya flour
    ¼ cup nachni (ragi) flour
    Buttermilk as required
    Salt to taste
    2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander leaves
    1 green chilli, chopped
    Oil
    Tomato ketchup as required

    Method

    1. Mix rice, wheat, soya, and ragi flour with the buttermilk to make a smooth batter.
    2. If you do not have soya flour, you can use gram flour (besan), bajra flour, or jowar flour.
    3. Add salt, coriander leaves, and green chillies. Mix well. Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes.
    4. Heat a non-stick pan. Put two drops of oil and wipe the tawa clean with a wet muslin cloth.
    5. Add a tablespoon of oil to the tawa, pour half a ladleful of batter, and spread to a thin 3-inch round. Drizzle a little oil. When the underside is done, flip and fry on the other side.
    6. Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

    Easy-Peasy Tikki

    Ingredients
    ½ cup broken wheat (dalia)
    ½ cup green peas
    1 green chilli, chopped
    1 tsp chaat masala
    ½ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    6 garlic cloves, chopped
    Salt to taste
    Cornflour for dusting
    Oil for deep-frying

    Method

    1. Soak the broken wheat in one cup of hot water for half an hour. Drain and put in a mixer jar.
    2. Add green peas, green chilli, chaat masala, coriander leaves, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Grind it all together.
    3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl. Divide the mixture into 16 equal portions and shape it into tikkis. Then, roll them in cornflour.
    4. Heat sufficient oil in a non-stick kadai and deep-fry the tikkis till light brown.
    5. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot.
    6. You can also shallow fry the tikkis. 

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