BENGALURU: For meat-lovers who assume that vegetarian options are limited, Vidhu Mittal (author and wife of Som Mittal, former NASSCOM president) proves them otherwise. After dishing out 142 vegetarian dishes in her first book, and another 150 in her second, the author brought out her third, Pure & Healthy, at a launch that was attended by city’s who’s who – industrialist and art collector Abhishek Poddar and wife Radhika Poddar; former managing director of Britannia Industries Vinita Bali; former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai, among others.
Despite a stroke eight months ago, which affected her significantly, Mittal has been working on the book for the last three years in collaboration with celebrity nutritionist Radhika Karle. “The idea of this book struck me when I had a gluten allergy. I was looking for new dishes to cook and wanted to bring out a book on healthy food. Often vegetarian and healthy dishes create images of being insipid and unappetising. But they give lovely textures and aromas,” Mittal said, adding that while trying out some new dishes, her sounding board, Karle, helped to a large extent. “She would travel to Delhi and we would agree upon ingredients and proportions. During the process, we discovered millets which were used in our ancient preparations but have been lost over the years,” she said, adding that the book’s photographs taken by Sanjay Ramachandran, involved extensive hours of shooting – 12 hours a days for 6 months.
Nutritionist Karle admitted that although her entry to the kitchen is limited to making coffee, she decided to take up the project owing to the success of Mittal’s first two books. “This was like going down memory lane. As a child, we were expected to eat what was put on the table, whether it was methi or karela. And working on this book took me back to my childhood,” said the nutritionist to the likes of actors Sonam Kapoor. “The hardest part was translating some of the Hindi names,” she said.
During the panel discussion between Mittal, Karle, Dr Sudarshan Ballal, chairman, Manipal Hospitals and advertising professional Stanley Pinto, Ballal recalled his mother’s Mangalurean cooking. “We are a hardcore non-vegetarian family. I now wonder had my mom got this book, whether the conversion would have begun long ago,” he said to an amused audience, who were later treated to a dinner, dishes in which, Lauki Kofta and Gud ke Chawal were prepared from the book.