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Dupe the kids, says the Masterchef

On her new show, MasterChef India winner, Pankaj Bhadouria reveals what it takes to get children to eat healthy, to launch cookbook soon

india Updated: Sep 15, 2011 15:53 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times

Thirty nine-yearold nPankaj Bhadouria has taught high school kids for over 15 years. And though she quit her school job after nwinning the first season of MasterChef India, she feels the teacher in her will never leave. “I’m still sort of doing what I used to do in school, except this time it’s in front of a camera,” smiles Bhadouria.

As part of her Star Plus show, Chef Pankaj Ka Zayka, Bhadouria will experiment with all sorts of international and Indian cuisine. And apart from TV celebrities, general public and housewives will also be invited to feature on the show that launched earlier this week, to present problems they face in their kitchens. And from some episodes she has shot, she discovered that a common issue faced by most mothers these days is getting their children to eat healthy food.

“Kids are attracted to simple things like the colour, the way food looks and also how easy it is to handle, so they can grab it and run around the place. That’s why they like burgers and pizzas. So on the show, I came up with four health-friendly variants of burgers and egg dishes,” says Bhadouria, a mother of two herself.

She was also recently invited to Cambridge University to bust the myth that good food is loaded with calories. “I had created the Chicken No Butter Masala to prove
my point, and trust me, it tastes exactly like Butter Chicken without the calories.” The recipe for this dish along with others are available on Bhadouria’s website,, which she says is visited by people from 14 countries.

The avid reader is also preparing to launch her own book, The MasterChef Cookbook, later this month. Comprising various recipes and experiments, the book, Bhadouria insists, is dedicated to housewives in Indian small towns. Bhadouria explains, “Those women really want to experiment with cooking, but all the dishes they hear of on TV or read in books, bring with them ingredients that can’t possibly be found in small towns. So this book contains recipes for international dishes that can be made using Indian equivalents.”

Gongura Paneer Laajawaab

Gongura Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup of chopped gongura leaves
1/2 cup of chopped palak leaves
1 onion chopped
1 tomatoes
1 tsps ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsps red chilli powder
1 tsp dhaniya powder
1 green chillies
2 cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp garam masala

Wash the leaves well and boil them in a kadai adding 1/2 onion, 1/4 tsp turmeric ,1 green chillies and 1/2 tomato till water is absorbed well.

Cool this and grind to a puree and keep aside.

Heat a kadai and add cloves and remaining onions and fry well with ginger garlic paste. Add the tomatoes and masala powders and cook well. Pour some water and allow to

Pour in the pureed gongura and cook for another 5 minutes or till the gravy is thick and saucy.

Paneer Tikka Roundles Ingredients
1 Large block of paneer, cut in roundles
Finely chopped coriander leaves

To Marinate:
1/2 cup curd (plain yogurt)
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp tandoori powder
1 tsp cumin (jeera) powder
2 tsp chaat powder
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste

Rinse rice in a sieve under cold running water for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain well. Melt butter in a 2 to 3-quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes opaque, for about 3 minutes.Stir in coconut milk, water, cinnamon and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick and fluff rice with a fork.

Dil E Bahaar Gajar Mousse Ingredients
Carrot Puree 150 g
Orange juice 50 g
Gelatin sheets 10 g
Sugar 75 g
Egg whites 50 g
Whipped cream 200 g
Rose water 1/2 tsp

Whip cream to soft peak and reserve in refrigerator. Bloom gelatin and reserve. Prepare Italian meringue with the whites and sugar over a water bath. While meringue is
whipping, heat gelatin with 25 per cent of the puree until melted. Temper the cold puree into the warm puree and add rose water. Fold the puree gradually into the meringue. Fold in the softly whipped cream last and reserve. Assemble by placing in a mould and pouring the mousse batter over the rasgulla and place in freezer to set. Pour the carrot mousse in a bowl and place one rasgulla in the centre and set this in the fridge for 3 hours. De-mould before serving and cut the mousse in the centre to reveal the rasgulla heart.

First Published: Sep 15, 2011 12:17 IST