Get cur­ried away

Friday - - Motoring -

For many of us, In­dian food con­jures up images of in­dul­gent creamy sauces and calorific trim­mings. Of course we love it and eat it reg­u­larly, but can it be healthy? Chef Dipna Anand is determined to prove that there are healthy ways to en­joy all your favourites, from tan­doori dishes to Bom­bay pota­toes, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing flavour.

“A lot of peo­ple think In­dian food is oily and greasy, and it can’t be made with­out a lot of but­ter and ghee, but that’s not the case at all,” says the 30-year-old, whose fam­ily has run the award-win­ning Bril­liant Restau­rant in Southall, West Lon­don, UK, since the Sev­en­ties.

“You can still make, for ex­am­ple, a fan­tas­tic chicken tikka masala with­out us­ing the but­ter and oils and fats. As long as you bal­ance the spices, that’s what gives the dish its flavour and taste.”

Anand was in­spired to re­search low-fat In­dian cui­sine as a school­girl when her fa­ther, Gulu, had a wake-up call af­ter suf­fer­ing a heart attack.

“He was eat­ing a lot of oily, greasy food, so I wanted to do some­thing aimed at peo­ple who were con­trol­ling their weight but still loved In­dian food,” she ex­plains.

She has now writ­ten her first cook­book, Be­yond Bril­liant , which fea­tures healthy dishes among its more than 40 recipes.

“Some of the recipes in the book date back 65 years, they were passed from my grand­fa­ther to my dad and now passed on to me,” says Anand, whose favourite in­clu­sion is the tan­doori lamb chops recipe.

The Bril­liant Restau­rant has wel­comed its fair share of fa­mous faces over the years, in­clud­ing the Prince of Wales.

TV chef Gor­don Ram­say also fea­tured the popular eatery in his 2010 se­ries Ram­say’s Best Restau­rant , and spent a day learn­ing how to cook on the clay oven.

“It’s not the eas­i­est sta­tion to work on in the kitchen, he left here with blis­ters on his arms, but he still did a fan­tas­tic job and he grafted,” re­veals Anand. “He’s very pas­sion­ate and very funny as well. When it came to work, he was get­ting the or­ders out.”

When she isn’t work­ing in the restau­rant or run­ning cook­ery cour­ses, Anand plays cricket and in­dulges her other pas­sion: shop­ping.

“I’m a com­pul­sive shopa­holic,” she con­fesses. “I love shoes, hand­bags, shirts, ear­rings, ban­gles, jew­ellery, ev­ery­thing!”

Anand’s fam­ily is at the heart of what she does, and there are pho­to­graphs of them through­out her book. “For the last 10 years my dad’s been say­ing, ‘Dipna you should write a book’,” she re­veals.

“There were tears in his eyes at the book launch – his dream was ac­com­plished. Just to see that smile on his face, there can be noth­ing more re­ward­ing than that.”

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