I met some of the finest and most humorous souls - Om Puri, Manoji, Hemant Trivedi, Gulshan Grover, Sanjay Mishra, Johnny Walker, Shakthi Kapoor, Razaac Khan and Rajpal Yadav. Meeting people is great, but creating lifetime bonds is a true treasure. Rajpal was one of my favourites — endearing, funny, compassionate and humble. Every one of them had a common love affair with food. Food was an important aspect and the variety of food which the actors brought to the set from their homes was overwhelming. It used to be a picnic mood every day at lunch. In one of the vanity vans, all the food would be laid out and we ate together. The unit cook made excellent Maharashtrian food, so we got to taste everything from sabudana vadas to bharit. Rajpal was very particular about his Indian food.
Rajpal Yadav started his career when he played a porter in the movie Shool in 1999. He has given many memorable performances in hits like Hungama, Chup Chup Ke and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. The National School of Drama alumnus has also shown different shades of his acting in projects like Jungle, Vaastu Shastra, Main Meri Patni Aur Woh and Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon. He has acted in many languages. He is one of the favourites of Priyadarshan and has done Malayalam and Telugu projects.
While shooting in Hyderabad with Sanjay Mishra, they went into ecstasy over the 21 types of chutneys which were served on thali meal. While shooting for Chupke Chupke in Chennai, each actor be it Kareena, Shahid, Sunil Shetty or Neha brought their favourite south Indian dish and shared it. This memory remains alive in Rajpal’s mind and he says that the pleasure one gets eating south Indian food, one does not get anywhere. He grew up in Saharanpur, UP, and recollects his mother cooking only in cow ghee, especially rasilla tomato sabzi and khichdi. When he travelled to Canada, he met his wife Radha, a big Krishna bhakt and a fan of his. Now, he is hooked to her cooking, especially, the egg curry she serves him with basmati rice.
Rajpal looks forward to shooting in Tamil Nadu now and wants to taste and flavour every heritage dish it has to offer. He tells me that in real life he is very boring and loves taking up real-life issues to make into a movie like the Bhopal gas tragedy. His first wish on waking up is sharing a nice cup of masala chai with his wife and wanting to know the menu for the day before setting out to work. He says that one day he hopes to open a south Indian restaurant. Original recipes, experienced cooks and food cooked as offerings to the divine would be part of the agenda.
Today, Rajpal shares his favourite dish cooked by his wife whenever he craves some comfort food.
EGG CURRY RECIPE
Garlic: 4 cloves
Butter: 2 tbsp
Ginger: 1 tsp, shredded
Coriander leaves: 1 cup
Cumin powder: 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Eggs: 6 boiled
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Green chillies: 2, cut fine
Fresh cream: 1 tbsp (or full fat milk 1tbsp)
Ground pepper: 1 tsp
- Peel the onions and garlic cloves. Slice one onion thinly. Chop remaining onion with the garlic. Chop tomatoes
- Grind coriander leaves and green chillies to a fine paste
- Heat the butter and fry the sliced onion until golden
- Remove from heat, add onion and garlic mixture, ginger and the spices except garam masala
- Add the ground green coriander
- Add salt to taste
- Add tomatoes and saute for 5 mins
- Let it simmer for a little time
- Add garam masala and the hard-boiled eggs, halved or whole
- Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add cream or milk
- Remove after one stir and serve with hot rice or rotis
- Do not over boil the eggs
- Make sure the masalas are fresh to get the authentic taste.
- Kashmiri chilli powder will give the colour
PREP TIME: 15 mins
COOK TIME: 10 MINUTES
SERVES: 4 pax
CALORIES PER SERVE: 210 cl
— Chef Ramaa Shanker is the author of Festive Offerings to the Gods: Divine Soul Recipes