Don't go on her petite waif like frame. She is a complete foody, and by her own admission, she can eat food by tons and not have a single calorie show on her entire being! Now isn't that lucky?
And there is more. She not only loves to eat, but loves to cook. So read on to find out what she loves and her favourite mouth watering recipe that is sure going to impress the culinary lovers around here! So here is Neha Mehta, of Mamta fame, in the Telly Buzz Food-O-Holic kitchen with Minnie.
Are you a Vegetarian or a non vegetarian?
I am a hard core non-vegetarian .
Are there any foods that you would not eat as a child but eat now?
There are loads of them. But one thing that springs to my mind right away is tomatoes. I used to hate the sight of tomatoes when I was young. But now I simply love them.
Do you watch your calories when you eat something?
Never ! I am blessed by God. I can eat anything, anything, and not gain a single pound on my body. Anyone who knows me knows that I hog like a pig, if you can excuse me for using that expression, but it's so true. I can eat and eat and don't even need to go the gym. All my friends always envy me that I can eat so much, so I have been very very lucky in that.
If you go to an Indian restaurant, what are you most likely to order?
Which part of Indian cuisine fascinates you the most?
It’s Mughlai. I love Bhuna Ghost.
What's your favourite cuisine?
I love to try out different kinds of food all around the world. But my favourite is Indian. Thai food comes very close to it, and I love it. I love Italian too, and Chinese as well. As I said, I am a total foody and can eat anything.
What is your favourite ‘Ghar Ka Khana’?
I love khichdi ( for the uninitiated, it's a porridge like meal made just by boiling rice and dal together after seasoning some cumin seed in a little oil.)
Yes, I love khichdi. In fact on a normal day routine, I love bland food. I can survive on boiled chicken day after day. I know I said I love all kinds of food like Mughlai and Thai which are very spicy, but normally I don't like too much spices in my everyday food.
Any particular dish you think of and your mouth waters?
A home made Chicken curry cooked by my dad. I adore my dad's cooking, and he is such a fantastic cook. My mother is a strict vegetarian, and right at the start of their marriage my mom had made it clear that she was nt going to cook anything non veg for my dad. So my dad cooks all the non veg stuff, and it's so yummm.......in fact my mouth is watering right as I am talking to you! (giggles delightfully)
What is the most expensive restaurant you have been to?
Ermmm...errr..........(thinks for a while)......can't think of any!
Are you a snacker?
Not really. I am more of a meal person.
Are you a coffee or a chai person?
I neither drink coffe nor chai. On shooting, I take a lot of nariyal pani.
Do you drink alcohol?
Rarely. I love the aftereffects of alcohol, but I don't really enjoy drinking it. So if I normally do plain sodas, but if I am in a mood to get tipsy, then I do one Bacardi Breezer and half a beer, and I am out. I have a very low tolerance of alcohol.
What is the strangest food you have ever tried?
I went to Europe and I tried Ethiopian food. It was yummy! Absolutely delicious! Unfortunately we don't get Ethiopian in India, but if you ever have a chance, it's a must must try!
What’s your normal food schedule in a day?
Let me tell you on the outset - I need at least 7-8 meals a day. When I am not shooting, I start my day with some juice and porridge. Then have some fruits as my Mom is very particular about these things. Then I have an omelet, some sausages, toast or baked beans depending on what is served on that particular day.
Around 11.30 am, I scour the fridge to see what's in there and try to have something a bit on the heavier side. It could be roti sabji or something else. Then around 2.30 pm, I have proper proper lunch. Around 5 pm I have a sandwich with some milkshake. Around 7.30 pm, it's some soup with toasted bread. then at 9.30 to 10, I have proper dinner. And, if I am awake, I again have something to eat around 12.30 or 1 AM in the morning! As I said, i need constant supply of food as my stomach seems to digest everything very fast.
So what happens when you are shooting?
It does become tough. So what I do is to try have at least my lunch, snack and dinner properly. It's hard to get breakfast as you have to reach the shoot early, and then you have to read the scripts on time, rehearse etc. I start the day with nariyal pani. Even the unit people know how much I love to eat, so they keep asking me what I need or want. In fact, as I can have anything, I also eat pizza and other fast food when there is nothing else around.
Which dish do you love to cook?
I am good cook, and I cook a lot of things. Bhuna Ghost and Butter Chicken are two of my all time favourites. But today I will share with all the recipe of Bhuna Ghost.
1 kg Mutton/lamb
4 Tbs Oil
5 Large Onions - chopped
2-3 large tomatoes - chopped
2 Bay leaves
8-10 whole black pepper
3 full tsp cumin seeds
1-1/2 tsp coriander powder
red chilli powder ( adjusted to how much spicy you want it to be)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
For the marinade:
ginger garlic paste: 2 tsp
Mutton masala: 1-1/2 tsp
Onions: 3 grated
Tomatoes - 2 large grated
Yogurt: 250 gm ( this is my personal touch, but it's optional)
Cinnamon powder: a pinch
salt to taste.
Step 1: Marinading.
Mix all the marinade ingredients and marinade the mutton/lamb for at least 45 min to an hour.
Step 2: Cooking.
a) In a deep heavy bottomed pan or kadhai, heat the oil.
b) Season tej patta (bay leaves), long ( cloves) and sabut kali mirch ( whole black pepper) and jeera ( cumin seeds).
c) Make a paste of dhania ( coriander) powder, red chilli powder and haldi (turmeric). Fry in the oil.
d) Add chopped onions. Stir and fry till they turn brown.
e) Add tomatoes. Keep stirring till oil leaves sides.
f) Add the marinaded mutton/lamb. And now starts the fun part, because now you have to keep stirring and stirring and stirring. Cook it on a very low flame for at least an hour or till it's fully cooked. Mutton or lamb normally have a lot of water of their own, so they need to be cooked in their own juice.
g) Once it is fully cooked, garnish it with some onions and serve hot with rice or roti.
Tip: Bhuna Ghost is actually mixed with keema peas curry. So you cook the keema in the same process separately, leaving the marinaded part out, and then mix it with the ghost. It's simply d-e-l-c-i-o-u-s !