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Wholesome flavour

Bina Paul Venugopal likes cooking something that is not too elaborate and is yet wholesome and nutritious.


BINA PAUL Venugopal is among the few women film editors in the country. She has worked with the likes of Aravindan, John Abraham, Shyama Prasad and Kamal. She has just finished working on Pamela Rooks' `Dance Like a Man'. She is the deputy director of the International Film Festival of Kerala, and is giving the finishing touches to its upcoming edition.

Bina is settled in Thiruvananthapuram, along with her husband, Venugopal, and teenaged daughter.

Holidays for them are annual trips to Bangalore and New Delhi to visit family and friends. Bina enjoys reading, listening to music and watching TV.

Bina has a cook but makes it a point to work in the kitchen. After the days' work, she gets back home and rustles up a quick meal for her family. She says cooking is something she enjoys. "I am not one of those who plan elaborate meals - the main dish, a side dish and yet another one."

It helps that her husband and daughter are not "fussy" when it comes to food. "As a family, we are not too particular about what we eat. They even like the khichdi I make for lunch on Sundays."

She admits to being conservative when it comes to food. "I don't experiment where food is concerned. I like Continental cuisine with its bakes and salads, and the Chinese cuisine that I come across during my travels. The Chinese food I enjoy is not as heavily flavoured as the Indian version."

Rather than cook a staple meal of rice, sambar and a vegetable side dish, she prefers making something into which all vegetables and pulses go, such as the north Indian khichdi or the Shepherd's Pie. "The khichdi is nutritious, tasty, wholesome, and easy to cook. I enjoy baking as well, and one of my favourites is the Shepherd's Pie or rather my adaptation of it. This dish is delicious and nourishing."

Khichdi

Ingredients

Masoor dal - ˝ cup
Moong dal - ˝ cup
Chana dal - ˝ cup
Rice - 1 cup
Tomato - 2
Onion - 1
Garlic - 4 to 5 cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Carrot - 1 cup
Cabbage - 1 cup
Cauliflower - 1 cup
Beans (chopped lengthwise or diced) - 1 cup
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Ghee - a few teaspoons
Cumin - a few seeds
Curry leaves
Salt to taste

Method

In a pressure cooker, heat ghee. Add curry leaves and cumin seeds. When they splutter, add garlic, ginger and turmeric and fry for some time. Add chopped onions and tomatoes and fry. Once these are done, add the rest of the vegetables and sauté. When done, add the dals, rice, salt, water and pressure cook for 20 minutes. Serve hot with pickle and papad.

Shepherd's Pie (Indianised)

Ingredients

Shredded chicken - 2 cups
Cabbage - 1 cup
Beans - 1 cup
Carrots (grated) - 1 cup
Potatoes (boiled and mashed) - 3
For the White Sauce
Maida - ˝ cup
Butter - 2 tbsp
Milk- ˝ cup
Chilly powder - as required
Pepper - as required
Turmeric - a bit
Salt to taste

Method

Melt butter in a pan. Add maida and stir. Gradually add milk. Crush any lumps that might arise. Add spices and salt. Remove from fire when it is of pouring consistency.

To bake the pie, evenly spread out the shredded cabbage at the base of a baking dish. Add a layer of grated vegetables, a layer of shredded chicken and a layer of mashed potatoes. Then pour the white sauce over the layered pie and bake for 30 minutes.

Shepherd's Pie can be eaten alone or with bread.

SHILPA NAIR

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