What are your earliest food memories?
I remember my mother cooked and still cooks excellent vegetarian food. For breakfast, we would have channa atta omelettes (chilla). My mom makes the most delicious avial and baingan ka bharta. Even her bitter gourd is tasty, seasoned with chilli powder and cooked in ginger-garlic paste, onions and tomatoes. I ate a lot of vegetarian food when I was young: palak dal and masoor dal, particularly cooked in the Parsi style. Dhansak dal, chicken farcha, salli boti were also staples. I also remember all those unlimited thali restaurants that we visited: Purohit, Status, Panchvati! I also recall going to Parsi weddings and eating dhansak, patra-ni-macchi and prawn patio.
Where do you love eating out now?
I prefer home food. But if I go out, then, I get salads in Mumbai at Suzette, a lovely little café in Bandra, or go to Yoga House, again in Bandra. Royal China and Thai Baan.
When I travel abroad, I like getting sushi at Zuma in Istanbul and Dubai. Sushi has many essential nutrients such as fatty acids and proteins, which is why I like it. When I’m in Los Angeles, which is undoubtedly the food capital of the world especially when it comes to experimenting with healthy cuisines, I go to Café Vida and Urth café. I’ve had some of the best food at these places. In New York, I’m partial to Jaya, a Malaysian restaurant with great ambience and fantastic service.
What are your favourite cuisines?
I love Parsi cuisine and food from Kerala as far as Indian cuisine is concerned. I love puttus, appams, and other food local to Kerala. Puttu is a top favourite of mine and I eat it with coconut milk. I like Thai, too, which uses a lot of coconut milk again.
How do you ensure that you stay fit?
My weight never fluctuates because I make sure that I follow a balanced diet. I’m very disciplined. I take work-outs and my diet very seriously. I indulge very rarely because I love the food I eat on an every day basis. The focus should be the nutritional value in your diet. For example, a fruit is always better than a sweet or a dessert. I like vegetarian food, but because I also need lots of protein to maintain my physique, I eat eggs and fish. I don’t cut out carbs and eat a lot of protein.
I had to gain weight for the film Force (2011) and so my diet had to change. I would eat oatmeal for breakfast and almost 30 eggs a day!
What do you eat for breakfast?
I believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and affects what you eat the rest of the day. I have oatmeal, egg whites and lots of fruits. I also drink protein shakes. I eat every few hours, and I eat foods with a low Glycemic Index through the day.
What’s your lunch and dinner like?
Lunch could be a quinoa salad with some fish and lentils. Or it could be roti made of jowar or bajra with rajma, or masoor or moong dal. Sometimes, I only have fruit and pulses for dinner, and I often have tea with honey. I ensure that I don’t eat carbs after 4 pm.
Don’t you have any vices?
I really enjoy this lovely sour, cherry brandy called Visinata that my sister-in-law’s father makes. They’re Romanian and this is a local brew that they make. Otherwise, I don’t like alcohol and only drink some champagne once a year. Otherwise, a cup of strong tea in the morning keeps me going.
Do you allow yourself any other indulgences?
Some fudge once in a while and a brownie, maybe.