What’s comfort food for you?
I’m a Punjabi at heart and simple things make me really happy. So comfort food could be rajma chawal or even aloo parathas.
What are your childhood memories of food?
I grew up eating traditional Punjabi food from Amritsar. So Amritsari kulcha and rajma chawal will always remind me of my home. They remind me of food prepared at home as well as all the food I ate at dhabas with friends. In Amritsar, you have kulchewallas, like All India Famous, who specialise in making kulchas. The Amritsari kulcha has a delicious spicy potato or paneer stuffing.
What are your favourite dishes from Amritsar?
The kaali dal, which is cooked in desi ghee, is one of my favourites. It is very heavy, but you can’t leave Amritsar without eating this traditional dish. There’s also one dish that my hometown is famous for: the matthi chholle. Matthi is usually eaten with spicy pickles and is only available in Amritsar, where it is also served with chhole.
What’s your favourite dish cooked by your mother?
She cooks authentic Punjabi paneer extremely well. It is a very simple dish, but not easy to get it right. She makes it with lots of cream, masalas and the onion and tomato base.
How did your recent diet go?
I have to confess that it is very difficult for a Punjabi to diet. I did it because it was for a film. I hated the idea off eating boiled vegetables sometimes for dinner so I cheated on my diet. My dietician also added salads such as chickpea salad, which was supposedly high on protein.
What do you eat while shooting?
I prefer to snack on omelette pav or an omelette sandwich on the sets and try to avoid food on the sets as much as I can. But I’m such a foodie that it becomes hard to resist sometimes. When I was on the sets of the film directed by Abbas and Mastan, it was really difficult not to dig into their dabbas because they brought some amazing food. I used to hit the gym and workout for two hours after their shoot every day. They are big foodies too, but it’s a well-kept secret that they can eat simple dal and chawal all through the year.
What’s your poison?
Scotch. My father was very fond of Scotch whisky and I drink it sometimes. My father is no more. I would have got him the best Scotch whisky money can buy if he were alive.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
When I’m in London, I love to go to this Indian restaurant Chak89. It’s in Mitcham in South London and has an extensive menu. The restaurant also serves some Pakistani and Sri Lankan dishes.
Who are your foodie buddies?
All my friends from Amritsar, who I used to go eating out with when we were young. They remain my best dining friends until date.
What do you binge on?
I can eat anda-pav 24×7. I love eggs. I also love omelettes. There are other things like chips that I should avoid, but love binging on.