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Tasty fare, food for thought...

Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor of "Khana Khazana" fame has joined hands with Hotel City Park and lent his expertise to a new restaurant, The Yellow Chilli. MADHUR TANKHA finds his philosophy of food as enjoyable as the succulent fare he serves up...

A NEW restaurant in North-West Delhi has opened its shutters. The Yellow Chilli in Hotel City Park serves up steaming dishes prepared by chefs whose cooking skills have been honed under the guidance of Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Kapoor, who has a packed schedule, comes now and then to inspect the dishes. One wonders why the famed host of "Khana Khazana" on Zee TV - reportedly the longest running show on television - has decided to lend his franchise in this nondescript part of the Capital. The answer is simple. Kapoor says, "I always do things which are uncommon. My friends told me to look for an eating place in South Delhi. But I decided to have it in Pitam Pura. Similarly, instead of lending franchise in big cities I decided to have it in Jallandar and Ludhiana." When chefs of other hotels had accepted the title `Shriman Bawarchi' for the cookery programme, Kapoor didn't like the name and came up with the name Khana Khazana. Naturally, he was chosen over the rest.

He has joined hands with Rajinder Aggarwal - one of the directors on the board of Hotel City Park - because the latter has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. At the launch of the restaurant, Kapoor explained that the name is taken from the peeli mirch - yellow chillies - which are commonly found in Western Uttar Pradesh, and added a points about quality. "Food has to be consistently good. Sourcing of ingredients is very crucial. We always get good quality suppliers. In tomatoes we procure different types. For gravy we use small and over ripe tomatoes, while for salads we use big sized ones. Therefore we economise on price without compromising on quality. Kababs have been kept traditionally light, but daal has been kept heavy. In onions the red colour isn't due to colouring but beetroot juice has been added instead."

He adds that small chickens are obtained to ensure the poultry dishes are succulent. The restaurant serves traditional Indian cuisine. No beef or pork preparations are served. Vegetarian dishes without onion and garlic are prepared on special request from customers. With a capacity of 78, the restaurant offers appetisers, soups, salads, kababs and an assortment of curries. One tries Harey Masaley Ka Bhunna Paneer and Shahi Sabz Seekh. Both are soft and low in cholesterol. Murgh Kali Mirch - dry, fiery chicken prepared in tomato gravy spiced with peppercorns - goes well with naan.

Kapoor acknowledges fact that women are better cooks than their male counterparts, but contends they desist from becoming chefs as "the job is very demanding". He also accepts the fact that home cooked food tastes best, as "there is positive energy while preparing the dishes".

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