How do you keep fit?
I stay away from sugar and that includes even pasta and pizza because they break down into sugar ultimately. Add egg whites and banana to your diet to fuel your energy levels through the day. Pulses and grains add the right amount of protein and fibre to your diet, so ensure you get both. All these rules are simple – eat fresh vegetables and raw if possible. A fresh salad and a clear vegetable soup will fill you up for longer. If you must eat something sweet, eat dark chocolate. Cut down eating out as much as possible.
Do you have cheat days?
I’m crazy about food so yes, of course. My two guilty indulges are butter chicken and dal gosht!
What do you eat when you’re shooting?
I ate really spicy North Indian food when I was shooting for Rockstar, which made me sick every time I ate it. The food on the sets is very heavy and I usually fall sick if I eat heavy food. But I can’t stop myself from indulging.
You’re half-Pakistani and half-Czech. Was there an interesting range of food at home?
My mother cooked Pakistani food very well and we ate spicy Pakistani food at home when I was very young. After my parents split up, my mother introduced us to her traditional Czech food. It’s heavy on meat and pork. While growing up in New York, I got to eat all kinds of food since the city is such a melting-pot of communities and cultures. I recall that I loved the South American food that I ate there.
What’s comfort food for you?
A sugar rush is unbeatable so my comfort food has got to be chocolates and cakes.
Do you love desserts then?
Yes! I find red velvet cake irresistible. When I travel, I always bring back chocolates from across the world. I love all Indian sweets too including gulab jamuns, kheer, kulfi and Bengali sweets. I love them all.
What are your meals like on a regular day?
I have a mix of things with a lot of fibre. I begin my day with nariyal paani, protein powder and seeds such as flax and hemp seeds, goji berries. Sometimes, I even have the flesh of a coconut. I also include bananas or eggs often – fried or boiled – in my breakfast.
There are a lot of veggies in my diet. Lunch could be just about anything – stir-fried vegetables, a delicious patty, grilled chicken or fish or even pasta. Sometimes, it’s just steamed vegetables such as potatoes, broccoli and so on for lunch. When I eat meat, it’s mostly at restaurants. I mostly eat vegetarian at home. What I often do is substitute rice with quinoa. It can be cooked with rajma and even vegetables such as carrot and broccoli. Sometimes, I like chickpeas with quinoa. Again I have a mix of different foods. A lot of times, I add tuna to my meals. I like to experiment with my food. I like snacking on crackers, I throw in avocado. I roll up a chapati, spread hummus on it and toss in chopped onions, tomatoes, avocado. I like to eat this like a wrap. I also add sardines with onions to my food often.
What’s your favourite cuisine?
I love Thai cuisine for its soups. A steaming bowl Tom Yum soup at the end of a long day feels amazing. I ate Malvani cuisine for the first time in Pune a while ago and tweeted about it even. I love how seafood is cooked in the Malwan region with coconut. Japanese cuisine is another favourite.
Which are your favourite restaurants?
I love the fantastic Mediterranean spread at OIive in Mumbai, which also has a great vibe. I also love Wasabi at The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. I think it’s the coolest Japanese restaurant around. I’m partial to all the restaurants at JW Marriott in Juhu. When I travel to Dubai, my favourites are Blue Jade at Ritz Carlton for its amazing pan-Asian fare.
What do you like to cook?
I love to cook unconventional food. Recently, I tried adding coconut yoghurt to ice cream, butter, oil and milk.
What’s your poison?
Coffee with coconut milk and honey. I also love how Bulletproof coffee with MCT oil does great things for your energy levels.