Roopa Nabar’s debut literary venture is the best of her culinary experience and experiments

Titled My Romance With Food, the book is a showreel of Roopa Nabar’s memorable culinary journey so far. She also shares 2 of her signature recipes with us!
As a cook, roopa nabar's come a long way from her days of being an internet star.
As a cook, Roopa Nabar’s come a long way from her days of being an internet star.

Since going viral online and becoming every Indian kitchen’s favourite go-to for recipes, Roopa Nabar has been busy gearing up to don the metaphorical author’s hat. The result is My Romance With Food, a book that gives us her take on food made from and for the heart. 

“This book is an ode to the invisible connect of recipes, the culinary traditions that bind families to communities, communities to villages and villages to culture,” says Roopa of her debut literary venture. 

It’s evident almost immediately, through the heartwarming stories that back some great recipes shared in the book. It is a culmination of her food experiences, anecdotes from her aaji and aai, tips from travels and farmer market visits across the world, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s pearls of wisdom, knowledge from the internet and culinary books, plus her own discoveries from years of permutations and combinations in the kitchen. 

Getting your hands on roopa nabar's debut cookbook means you have a plethora of delicious recipes at hand.
Getting your hands on Roopa Nabar’s debut cookbook means you have a plethora of delicious recipes at hand.

Besides traditional Maharashtrian recipes, Roopa’s book also showcases the best of her kitchen experiments with recipes from other parts of the country and globe. However, at the heart of it all is seasonality, and using the best produce to create dishes that primarily evoke feelings of home. She adds, “This book emphasises on cooking local, seasonal, and simple food that keeps your heart [content].”

Even the recipes she’s chosen to share as some of her best and signature dishes are the kind you’d find in your kitchen on a special Sunday afternoon. While Kombdi Vade is a Malvan staple, the Alambi Sukhe is a much-loved dish from Konkan to Karwar. While the latter calls for a specific, almost meaty mushroom, there’s room for substitution given the seasonal nature of the produce. 

Celebrity chef ranveer brar was one of several legends in attendance at nabar's book launch.
Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar was one of several legends in attendance at Nabar’s book launch.

In contrast to the humble offerings of the book, the launch event went full glamour mode and saw Chefs Sanjeev Kapoor, Ranveer Brar, Pallavi Brar and Alyona Kapoor among others in attendance. Complete with live-cooking, health talks, recipe sharing and delectable food from Maharashtrian cuisine, if the event is anything to go by; the book is sure to satiate all your cravings.

Kombdi Vade (Malvani Chicken Curry With Fried Multigrain Puri) 

Part of roopa nabar's signature recipes, kombdi vade is a delicious staple for meat lovers.
Part of Roopa Nabar’s signature recipes, Kombdi Vade is a delicious staple for meat lovers.

Ingredients

  • 750 gm chicken, curry cut
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic-green chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp Malvani Masala
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 12 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 3-4 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 1/4 cup grated dried coconut
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves

Method

  • Combine the chicken with ginger-garlic-chilli paste, Malvani masala, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and set aside to marinate for five to ten minutes.
  • Heat three tablespoons of oil in a pan. Add half the onions and sauté until golden. Add the tomato, mix and cook until soft.
  • Add the marinated chicken and sauté on high heat for two to three minutes.
  • Add the garam masala powder and mix well.
  • Add one cup of water, stir to mix, cover and cook for ten minutes on medium heat.
  • Heat the remaining oil in another pan.
  • Add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and sesame seeds and let them crackle.
  • Add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the remaining onions and sauté until golden.
  • Add the fresh coconut and mix. Cook till golden.
  • Add the dried coconut and mix till it turns golden. Take the pan off the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Transfer to a mixer jar, add half a cup of water and grind to a fine paste.
  • Add the ground paste to the chicken mixture and mix well.
  • Cover and cook for ten minutes on low heat. Add the coriander leaves and mix well.
  • Take the pan off the heat and serve hot with vade.

Alambi Sukhe (Mushroom Stir-Fry)

According to roopa nabar, you can substitute the goan mushrooms for 10-12 button mushrooms as needed.
According to Roopa Nabar, you can substitute the Goan mushrooms for 10-12 button mushrooms as needed.

Ingredients

  • 20 Goan mushrooms (Alambi), quartered
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Method

  • Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a pan. Add dried red chillies and coriander seeds and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add coconut and sauté until golden. Take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool.
  • Grind together the spices-coconut mixture and tamarind pulp with some water to a coarse paste.
  • Heat remaining coconut oil in another pan. Add onion and sauté until golden. Add ginger-garlic paste, mix and sauté for 30 seconds. Add prepared paste, mix and cook for a minute.
  • Add mushrooms and turmeric powder and mix well. Reduce heat to low, add little water, mix and cook till mushrooms are done (about 5 minutes).
  • Add salt, mix and cook for a minute.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

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