Kapil Sharma is of the opinion that dieting is very problematic if you are a Punjabi, and says he cheats often while on a diet. Sharma speaks to IndianExpress.com about kaali dal, his father’s fondness for Scotch whisky and his favourite restaurant.
You have spoken a lot about Amritsar and its food culture. Which are the dishes that remind you of your childhood in Amritsar?
Amritsari kulcha and rajma chawal! These two dishes remind me of my hometown, the food prepared at my home, and the days I spent hanging out with friends and family at the city’s several dhabas. I am a simple Punjabi boy from Amritsar and grew up on traditional Punjabi food. Amritsari kulcha has a wonderful spicy potato, or paneer stuffing. In Amritsar, you have kulchewallas, like All India Famous, who specialise in making kulchas.
Amritsar is known for its cuisine. Can you tell us your favourites from the city?
The kaali dal from Amritsar, cooked in desi ghee, is one of my favourites. It is a very heavy dish, but you can’t leave Amritsar without eating this classic. Then, there is matthi-chhole, which is available only in Amritsar. Generally, matthi is eaten with spicy pickles, but in Amritsar they are also served with chhole.
You went on a diet recently. How difficult was it stick to a diet?
Dieting is a very difficult for a Punjabi, but this was for a movie. The dietician added salads to my meals, like a chickpea salad, which dietitians claim is high on protein. I hate the fact that my dieticians sometimes fed me boiled vegetables for dinner. Sometimes, I ended up cheating.
Do you eat the food on the sets?
I try and avoid the food on the sets as much as possible, but as I said, it becomes difficult since I love food. I like to snack on omelette-pav or an omelette-sandwich on the sets. I remember how difficult it was to resist the food served on the sets of a movie directed by Abbas and Mustan. They love food, and I could not resist digging into their dabba for some wonderful meals. Not many know that they love dal-chawal and can eat it 365 days a year. I would end up spending 2 hours in the gym after pack-up.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
I love Chak89, an Indian restaurant, in Mitcham, in south London. They have an extensive menu, and they also serve some Pakistani and Sri Lankan dishes.
What’s your comfort food?
It can be rajma chawal, or it could be aloo parathas. Simple things make me very happy. At heart, I am a Punjabi boy.
Which dish does your mom cook best?
She cooks paneer very well. She makes it in a very traditional style, with lots of cream, masalas and the onion and tomato base. It is a very simple dish, but not everyone can get it right.
What’s your poison?
My father was very fond of Scotch whisky. I, too, drink Scotch sometimes. My father is no more. I wish he were alive — I would have got him the best Scotch whisky money can buy.
Who are the foodies you hang with?
All my friends from Amritsar. We eat out and enjoyed food when we were young, and they are still my best dining buddies.
Is there something you binge on?
I love eggs, particularly omelettes, and can eat anda-pav at any time of the day. Then, there are other things I should not be eating, like chips.