Eat your heart out… as we savour Anushka Sharma’s food mantras
There are no quick bites with Anushka Sharma. It has to be an elaborate gastronomic fare. What starts off as a quick question turns into a food epic. She can go on all day about her food fantasies. Be it bland Chinese food or the wild boar she ate with a tribal king – her taste buds can take it all. Food like karela and baingan ought to be savoured too. Yet for her, there’s nothing more appetising than her mother’s home-cooked biryani. And they called her anorexic? Ha ha… you must be kidding! For this self-professed foodie, curbing hunger pangs is an impossible exercise. Thats why when shooting, her food arrives much before she does. As the actor reveals her deep passion for all things edible, you can tell that there is no sincerer love than the love for food…
Bizzare food Anushka has tasted (from top to bottom) Frog Legs, Wild Boar and Snake Meat
Food to me is…
Extremely important. I consider cooking to be an art. It’s amazing how our body reacts to the flavours. To know what ingredient to add to what dish, for it to taste delectable, is a skill. Hence, I’m certain that chefs are artistes. When you watch shows like MasterChef you realise how much goes into creating a dish. A cuisine I love is Japanese. It’s an art form. But I appreciate all kinds of food from bland Chinese food to spicy Indian food. I relish oysters too. Or even Kakori kebabs from Delhi. They’re mouth-watering!
Finicky about home food
My mom makes the most fabulous biryani. I love it. Biryani and momos at my place are my favourite. I love home-cooked food. I eat Indian food only at home. Peshawri at ITC Maratha Hotel is an exception though. I love the kaali daal and biryani you get there. Nevertheless, my mom’s a great cook. She’ll read or watch a Jamie Oliver (British chef, restaurateur, media personality) recipe and better it. Recently, she made a fish dish he had demonstrated and added her own twist. I love Jamie Oliver because it’s all about simple and right ingredients in his cooking.
Food etiquette – a big deal!
I’m an army kid. So we were never allowed to refuse the food that was on the table. If we’d even utter the words, ‘Yeh kya hai?’ my dad would ask us to get up and leave. So you’ll never hear me say – I don’t like karela, baingan, tori, dudhi… I’ll eat everything. But I don’t like burgers or pizzas. Even as a kid I’ve never liked them.
My hot eating spots…
Wasabi at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Peshawri, Le Cirque in Delhi, Nobu at The Metropolitan in London. Then I had an unforgettable experience in Sorrento, Italy at this fine-dining restaurant called L’Antica Trattoria. It was like an eight-course meal that lasted for three and a half hours. As Indians, we don’t understand the concept of having fun with food. We’re so used to rushing with our food that I’d be looking at the waiter asking him to speed up. So he told me in his Italian accent, “Just ‘relaaaaax’, you have to enjoy the food!” It took me the first three courses to start ‘relaaaaxing’ and not gobble everything down as soon as it came. But geez… it was such good food!
The first thing that goes into my mouth after I wake up is…
Food! I’m serious. It’s not even water. When I ask my help to wake me up at 10 am, it doesn’t mean that I’ll wake up then. It simply means that my breakfast ought to be ready then. It can be anything, sometimes French toast, eggs or even upma.
Honestly I don’t have a daily menu. I don’t eat set food. I hate oily, greasy food. It doesn’t work with my stomach. Maybe, because we’ve never had that kind of food at home. But I love malai (fresh cream), I’ll even eat it with sugar. I enjoy ghee and butter too. But I can’t stand excess oil floating in my food. If I want to detox, I’ll just drink lots of water. I opt for chamomile tea instead of green tea.
Anushka – the cook!
I cook sometimes. I get these chaskas (fits). Have you heard of gassi? It’s a Maharashtrian curry. So recently I made chicken gassi and mustard chicken. Both turned out well. My brother loved it. In fact, my brother ate it the next day too. Fortunately, I’ve never had a cooking disaster.
Date meal, not my thing
No one has cooked for me. And I don’t know how comfortable I will be cooking for someone either. I feel damn shy doing these things. It’s so weird. But if I have to,
I will. I guess, there’s no way out.
Food for dreams
I have a wholesome appetite. Like right now, it’s around 5.00 pm and if I were hungry I could eat biryani at this odd hour too. Mujhe chaske lagte hain khaane ke (I get sudden urges to eat). Some days I’ll get sudden cravings for French toast. I’m not joking, I actually dream about food. Then I wake up hungrier than usual longing for that dish.
Food Anushka loves (from top to bottom) – Her mother’s Biryani, Gyro – a greek delicacy and Home-cooked momos
Street food versus fine dining
I love both equally. I’m just a sucker for good food. My friend and I had gone for a holiday to New York. We were so hungry but we still spent a whole hour researching the best food carts on the internet. And we all know how famous New York’s local food carts are, like there are food shows on them. But we thought we’d travelled so far to eat good food, so we finally ate a gyro. It’s a Greek delicacy and perpetually every food cart sells it there. But that place had the best ones. It was in a financial area so everyone walked around in suits. But we couldn’t have been bothered, we strutted in our chilled holiday clothes. What the heck, that was the mood.
Beer. I’m a beer drinker. Once in London I had five pints in less than two hours. We were headed back home and on the way, we spotted local booths. They had postcards of naked women. In my drunken state, I decided, it was my responsibility to clean up London. So I went inside a few booths and picked up those postcards. Obviously, I reached home and crashed. We were put up in a penthouse. When I woke up the next day, I saw pictures of naked women splattered all across my room. Oh God! It was too funny.
If I want a drink with my food, I opt for champagne. I didn’t like it initially but now it’s growing on me, especially pink champagne. It kind of makes you sick. And it suddenly hits you. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation, it’ll hit you and you’ll be like uh oh! But I’m scared of scotch and single malt.
The sweet savouries
I’m not a chocolate person, I’m not even fond of Indian desserts actually. My favourite is crème brûlée. Tiramisu too, but I don’t like it as much as I enjoy crème brûlée. I also like custard. You remember we used to get a yellow-coloured packet of custard earlier? I loved that so much. And we were from the army na, so we used to get that in our ration!
I’m pretty experimental. I’ve had frog legs and escargots. When I was a kid, I’ve eaten a wild boar. My dad was posted in a tribal area and the tribe king invited us for a meal. That’s when I had it. I’ve also eaten a snake once. And my dad let me have it. (Laughs) When my mother asked dad what it was, he covered up saying it was just chicken. Later, when she got to know, she threw a fit.