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For a foodie like me, Dilli Haat is a paradise, says author Tara Deshpande Tennebaum

In her latest book —An Indian Sense of Salad, actor and author Tara talks makes a strong case for salads, and says salads can be more than just accompaniments.

books Updated: Feb 22, 2018 16:50 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Tara Deshpande Tennebaum,Salads,Books
Author Tara Deshpande Tennebaum speaks about her latest book, An Indian Sense of Salad.

Apart from being a globe trotter, actor-author Tara Deshpande Tennebaum is a self- confessed foodie. And channelling her love for food in her latest book, An Indian Sense of Salad, the former actor, seen in films such as Bombay Boys (1998) and Encounter: The Killing (2002) has brought together different traditions, food types and healthy salad options in one hardcover. From Greek-style black masur salad with wilted saag greens and sausage to Israeli herb salad with fried Cashews, the book has all that you need to know about salads.

“My attempt was to blend local ingredients with French, Greek and American techniques,” says the author, whose last book was A Sense For Spice: Recipes and Stories from a Konkan Kitchen. Originally conceptualised as a vegetarian cookbook, the book has non-veg recipes too, such as chicken korma salad. And the author says that the dressing used in the korma can be substituted with cottage cheese for vegetarians.

Having studied abroad, she developed a knack of eating fresh, raw vegetables. But, eating salads, as a habit, was introduced to Tara by her mother. “Unlike many kids, we grew up eating lot of raw veggies and fruits. My mother was innovative with such dishes, but had a limited repertoire,” she says, adding, “But, when I went to the US, I realised how much salad everybody eats. In India, if you order a salad dish at a continental restaurant, it will be available. But at an eatery, which does not serve continental dishes, the salads available are either chopped vegetables or dead lettuce with a lot of mayonnaise on it.”

Tara Despande Tennebaum’s new book An Indian Sense of Salad.

However, Tara admits that there has been a gradual shift. She says,“Many restaurants are opening that are serving salads, but that’s very niche.” The author in her book talks about how Indians aren’t in much favour of consuming fresh produce in its raw form. “We don’t eat a lot of salads. Everything we cook is either boiled or sautéed. Generally, our vegetables are fully cooked, if not over cooked. Our association with raw food is limited to the time we are sick, because it has a therapeutic effect. Moreover, the water used to wash veggies could be a problem.The access of clean water eventually saw the revival of salads,” she says.

‘R Madhavan: the loveliest guy’

The actor-author, who now divides time in between Mumbai and New York, reminisces the time spent in Bollywood, with her contemporaries. “I’ve always loved Bollywood. My stint was short. My first film was in 1996, and I was married and gone [to US] by 2000. But those four years were wonderful; I got to work with amazing people. In one of the song sequence in Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (1997), (actor) R Madhavan twirls me around (laughs). That’s when I met him for the first time. He was the loveliest guy ever,” says the Style actor (2001), who hinted at a comeback on the screen, soon.

‘Dilli Haat is a must-visit place for me’

Tara may have travelled the world, but her visit to the Capital remains incomplete without going to Dilli Haat, Khan Market, Hauz Khas and the Organic Farmer’s Market in Gurgaon. “I love visiting these places. For a foodie like me, Dilli Haat is a paradise. I get to eat food from all states of India here,” she says. And talking about organic food markets in Delhi-NCR, Tara says, “I hope the movement towards organic picks up because Organic [produce] in India is expensive and right now, it’s also limited.”

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First Published: Feb 22, 2018 16:49 IST