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American Masala – The Indian Way

Indian cooking made easy

If you are looking for a colourful recipe book for cooking that hot Indian dinner for your friends, grab a copy of American Masala.

Suvir Saran has done wonders with his second book – American Masala. His first book, Indian Home Cooking, offered an easy Do-It-Yourself approach to one of the world’s tastiest cuisines – Indian food.

American Masala introduces readers to 125 Indian recipes with different flavours of Indian cooking, with unique combinations like Crab and Salmon Cakes with Spicy Cilantro Aïoli, Indian-Spiced Meatballs with Tomato-Chile Sauce, and Tamarind Roost Turkey with Corn Bread-Jalapeño Stuffing.

If you are looking for traditional Indian dishes, you will not be disappointed. There’s Sweet Potato Chaat and Lamb Seekh Kebabs, as well as sweets like Pistachio-and-Cardamom Pound-Cake with Lemon Icing and Pavlova with Spiced Berries and Cointreau Cream.

Saran, who owns Devi in New York, uses his unique style to effortlessly blend Macaroni and Cheese with Mushroom and Rice Biryani Casserole.

However, what makes this book different from many recipe books are the stories of people and experiences that have inspired Saran’s cooking.

Saran effortlessly switches between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes which reflects Saran’s experience in India and America.

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Clarkson Potter (October 2, 2007)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 030734150X

ISBN-13: 978-0307341501

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Indian cooking made easy


Creating an Indian menu in an hour

Indian meals are very elaborate and can be a bit daunting for many people. Preparing Indian meal can be even more overwhelming not just for western fans of the cuisine but also for a hurried Indian chef.

To begin with, let’s remember the main difference between western and Indian meal. Western meal is served in courses – drinks, appetizers, main course and dessert. However Indian meal is served in one plate (known as thali) all at once.

Various food groups are served together. When dining out, it is quite an accepted practice to order many dishes and share them with co-diners at the table.

Indian meal is mostly very spicy. While preparing an Indian meal for guests at home, care should be taken to tone down the flavour a wee bit.

However, the chef should to cater to a diverse taste, and serve a balance of of taste. Indian food is served either with basmati rice or Indian bread (naan).

For those in a hurry, here’s a quick tip to put together a winning menue. Make sure you include some startch-based food like naan or rice. Add one of the favorite curries to the menu such as chicken, fish or lentils. Follow this with chutney, pickle or paapad. Follow this with a sweet dish like gulab jamun (served hot), or ras gulla (served chilled).

Bollywood Food Health

Secrets of Sonam Kapoor weight loss diet

Weight loss was a major goal for Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor. She had studied in a boarding school in Singapore for two years, and had no intentions of losing weight because she wasn’t planning to make a career in Bollywood. For Sonam Kapoor weight loss was a distant goal.

She had gained eyed pounds more as due to her emotional eating. Being alone in a foreign land with thousands of miles away from her parent had created a real craving for fatty foods for Sonam Kapoor. When she decided to enter Bollywood, she was faced with a big question: how to lose more than 30 kilos fast?

For Sonam Kapoor weight loss diet was a major challenge. Being a Punjabi, she had a natural inclination for food. “We are from Peshawar, a city where rich food and eating with abandon is a way of life,” Sonam said in a newspaper interview. “I am very proud of my roots. But I realised it is neither healthy nor practical to live that way.

For Sonam Kapoor weight loss tips came from her mother who was a big help. “Having a health-conscious mother has been a blessing. She’s always made sure we ate , wholesome meals, and as a family, we avoid overeating.”

When she decided to enter Bollywood, she committed herself to losing weight. She was willing to do whatever it took to lose weight fast. She followed a strict diet plan and her mother helped her.

“It was my mother who helped me get rid of my excess weight.”

What diet did Sonam Kapoor follow to lose weight?

Sonam Kapoor weight loss diet

Sonam Kapoor – before

She stayed away from all the usual culprits that cause weight gain: chocolates, ice creams, fried foods and sweets. Her mother helped with this. “The first thing she did was to keep me off the stuff I was so fond of as a teenager-chocolates, ice creams, fried foods and sweets.” She had her eyes firmly set on losing 35 kgs.

She was put on a six-meals a day diet which was a low carb, high protein diet. “My breakfast consisted of oatmeal and fruits. Post-work-out, I had brown bread with egg whites. Afterwards, it was a protein shake with juice.”

Sonam’s lunch included dal, sabzi, one ragi roti, salad and a piece of chicken or fish.

She had an evening serving of high-fibre crackers with chicken cold cuts or egg whites.

Her last meal of the day was soup, salad and a piece of chicken or fish.

“I followed this routine for a year and lost 35 kilos in all,” says Sonam.

She also avoided fried food. “I am quite particular about avoiding fried foods and sweets.

“Salt and sugar are silent killers, so I consume both in moderation by switching to natural sugars and seasoning in my food.”

Exercises for Sonam Kapoor weight loss

She was trained by industry experts in yoga, Pilates and Kathak too. She received weight training from Shervir and Monisha, general fitness with trainer Zarine Watson, artistic yoga and Power Yoga from Bharat Thakur, Pilates from Yasmin Karachiwala.

She also trained in Kathak. “It’s a vigorous form of classical dance and helps you get a toned body.”

Since Sonam played many sports in her school days, especially basketball and rugby, she had the flexibility needed to perform cardio exercises.

“I feel cardiovascular exercises work best for me in combination with weight training. Each day of the week I focus on a particular body part, such as the abdomen, arms, shoulders or waist.”

Sonam completes 30 minutes of cardio every day. This is supported by dance exercises twice a week, which she has learnt from Ashley Lobo.

“On other days I practice Bharat Thakur’s Power Yoga. It is very strenuous but has immense health benefits.

She also loves to swim in the months of summer.

“Whenever I get the time, I play squash too, which requires a lot of strength. I try to do different workouts and balance them out in order to keep my motivation high.” She also mixes exercises which is more fun and helps burn more calories.

So, there you have it, Sonam Kapoor’s exercise regime: cardio, squash, swimming, dance and power yoga.

Sonam Kapoor weight loss secret

Reducing fat and losing weight is possible if you eat in moderation. “I never binge and eat everything in moderation.” However, this does not mean yo should starve yourself.

“I never ignore my cravings. I eat whenever a craving strikes, but in small portions.

“When I felt like chocolates, I didn’t hold back, I took a small piece.

“When I’m traveling I carry an apple or sandwich or health bars to satisfy myself without piling on excess calories.

Sonam Kapoor’s detox tips for weight loss

Sonam drinks warm water to flush toxins out of the body in first thing in the morning. That was her grandmother’s tip. “t flushes out toxins from the system. I follow it up with honey and lime water.”

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day also helps to remove the toxins.

“I drink coconut water every hour or two; it not only quenches my thirst but also helps me feel fun.

Other natural drinks such as cucumber juice and buttermilk also help me stay hydrated and keep my energy levels up.”

She also tries to stay in a healthy, ‘no smoking’ environment everywhere she goes.

Myths about weight loss

You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. In fact, you may even gain weight if you suppress your craving for food.

“Yeah, looking at my figure people often assume that I don’t eat much.

“On the contrary, I eat every two hours. Since my day is packed with strenuous physical activity-shooting, swimming or dancing-I never allow myself to go hungry for too long. I snack on nuts and dry fruits.”

One last weight loss tip by Sonam Kapoor

It is possible to lose weight as long as you are committed to eat healthy food every day. It is important to seek medical advice. You might be gaining weight due to sickness.

Sonam Kapoor’s weight loss diet


An egg white omlette, a toast, a seasonal fruit, a glass of warm water. You can even try idli, or poha.


Chicken, rotis, a seasonal vegetable, curd and fruits. “I try to avoid red meat. Once in a blue moon, I do have white rice too. My rotis are made of bajra, bran or jowar or any low grade protein-rich wheat.” Sonam also drinks a few cups of tea without sugar.


Not just what you eat, but when you eat also matters in weight loss. Early dinner is extremely important. “Usually have it by 6:30 pm. On most days it is a vegetarian or chicken sandwich, salad and may be some crispy French fries.

“I also enjoy fish- grilled or cooked in a Spartan gravy. If I still feel hungry then I end my day with a glass of soya milk or a protein shake before going to bed. In addition, I take multi-vitamins.”

How did Sonam Kapoor lose weight?

Eat more often, but less – Eat every two hours. Avoid fatty foods to lose weight quickly.

Exercise – its a myth that you can lose weight by diet alone. Exercise, even if moderate, is important. Use a combination of cardiovascular exercises with weight training.

Follow routine – try to follow a routine for eating, sleeping and exercise

Relax – a stressed body is more prone to put on weight. Just put on the music and shake a leg.

Toxins – reduce all toxins including drinks that contain caffeine, such as Coke, coffee and tea.

Fluids – Water should be your preferred drink, not Coke or Pepsi. And when drinking water, drink at least 1.5 litres.

How long did it take Sonam Kapoor to lose weight? She had to be persistent over months to lose weight.

If Sonam Kapoor can lose more than 35kgs fast, so can you. You just need Sonam Kapoor’s weight loss and diet plan, and a little bit of commitment.

Also read: Sonakshi Sinha Weight Loss Plan


Food Health

Four foods to stay in shape

Losing weight fast is almost every woman’s dream, but here are foods that will not only help you lose weight but will also help lead a health life.

Whole grains

Most whole grains are that are important to our diet.  Most whole grains have almost twice as much nutrients and vitamins as refined grains. The sources of whole grain include: whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and whole wheat cereal.

Green vegetables

About 40% of every woman’s diet should consist of leafy vegetables. This is the best way of getting all the nutrition that your body needs.

While all vegetables are good, of most importance are those that are dark green in colour. You receive most benefit from brocoli, which is rich in almost everything you need: most vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. In fact, brocoli contains more vitamin C than any citrus fruit.

Other good vegetables are spinach, asparagus, lettuce and fenugreek leaves which also contain vitamins and folic acid.

Also, baked beans have very good nutritional value.

Berries for healthy dietBerries

Berries are very good for weight loss as they contain fibre that gives you the feeling of being full. They help you maintain healthy weight. Besides that, they are packed with antioxidants that are an effective against ageing. They also improve memory. Have them with fresh yoghurt.


Nuts, especially almonds, remove bad cholesterol. You can have them raw, eat them with breakfast, put them in the salad or have it with yoghurt. They contain protein, magnesium and vitamins. This is an effective strategy against cancer and heart diseases. But don’t overdo them since they are high in calorie. Aim for about 10 almonds, cashews or walnuts a day.