An Amicable Chat With Asha Bhosle: Bollywood Legend, Restaurateur, Chef

You don’t have to be Indian to know Asha Bhosle. With a career in Bollywood spanning over six decades, generations have grown up humming her melodious tunes. Her contribution to Indian music is legendary, but what many people may not be aware of is her flare for the kitchen.

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Despite a very busy career, Asha Bhosle finds respite in creating new dishes for her family and her elite circle of friends in the Bollywood fraternity.

Seeing how much her dishes were being appreciated, Asha Bhosle decided it was time the world got a taste of her cooking too and this is how Asha’s, her chain of Indian fine-dining restaurants have spread across the globe.

Today I have the immense pleasure of sharing an excerpt of my interview with the legend herself; Asha Bhosle! She has even been kind enough to share her recipe for Muscat Gosht with us. Read on for more.

 

Music is in your genes! But when did you discover your love for cooking?

My father owned a large travelling theatre company. He was a famous actor, song writer and singer. He employed 300 people which was known as the Balwant Travelling Theater Company. Every day the Company used to cook food for all the artistes, performers, etc. In the Company there were cooks who cooked food for these 300 persons in large cauldrons and vessels. As a little girl, I used to wander through the Company’s expansive kitchens and wonder how these chefs went about their job. That was my primary introduction into the culinary world. This interest grew as the years went by and developed into my passion for cooking.

 

What was your favorite dish from your mother’s kitchen? And do you make it too?

My mother was an excellent cook. She was Gujarati and a pure vegetarian, but used to cook all sorts of non vegetarian and vegetarian food for my father who was non-vegetarian and enjoyed his seafood and meats as well as his vegetables. My father’s favourite dish which my mother cooked for him and was invented by her, was a chicken pulao and chicken curry. This is also my favourite dish and though I cook it, it just doesn’t taste as good as my mother’s preparation.

 

How do you manage keeping alive a love for cooking with your busy schedule?

Cooking is my passion. I enjoy it and therefore take time out in my busy day to go into the kitchen and try out something new, or just do some old favorites which my family enjoys.

 

You turned 83 this month! How do you manage to look so young and have so much energy?

I lead an active life which helps me retain my energy. I don’t believe in taking long rests. I enjoy working and I believe this helps me keep my energy flowing.

 

What dishes do you eat on a daily basis?

I enjoy my lentils, boiled rice, vegetables and any one meat or fish preparation. I prefer my food to be cooked in clarified butter (ghee) and I also must have a tiny bit of desert (sweet) after my meal. This gives me a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber.

 

When did you decide to become a restaurateur?

This happened by chance. I didn’t plan on it. Many of my friends in Bollywood used to tell me to start a restaurant since almost all of them have dined at my residence in Mumbai and have enjoyed my cooking. So, one fine day, I decided to start a restaurant in Dubai and as I write this, I have 11 Asha’s restaurants spread out all over the Gulf and the UK.

 

What do you order when you dine at Asha’s?

Everything in Asha’s is good. I don’t stick to any particular item as I like to try different items on the menu each time I visit Asha’s. This way I know what’s being prepared the way I want it done.

 

It would be insane not to ask the queen of Bollywood music some Bollywood related questions! Which celebrities have you hosted at home, and what did you make for them?

Almost all celebrities have dined at my residence and it won’t be possible to name all of them, nor can I mention the long list of items that have been prepared in my kitchen.

 

We have all grown with your music and have our personal favorites, but which of your songs is your absolute favorite and why?

My songs are like my children and I can’t name one particular favourite. The others shall get upset.

 

I loved you in ‘Mai’! Why have we not seen you in front of the camera before? And will we get to see you in more acting roles soon?

Thank you for your appreciation of my histrionics. “Mai” was a one off fun thing to do. I have been offered acting roles in the past but I never accepted them nor took acting seriously. I have always played my part behind the silver screen. I thought it would be fun to try my hand at acting once. I don’t plan on doing any more acting roles.

 

Please share a simple everyday recipe you would do at home with us. 

Asha Bhosle’s Muscat Gosht Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1kg Indian lamb boneless cubes
  • 300 grams onion, sliced
  • 400 grams tomato, sliced
  • 150 grams ginger & garlic paste
  • 7 grams black pepper corn
  • 8 grams cinnamon, whole
  • 10 grams red chilli, whole
  • 10 grams Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 grams cloves, whole
  • 15 grams black cardamom, whole
  • 300 grams ghee
  • 2 grams fresh coriander
  • 20g salt

 

Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours

Method:

  • Place a large deep pan over low heat.
  • Combine all ingredients the lamb, sliced onion, sliced tomato, black pepper, cinnamon, red chilli whole, cloves, black cardamom and salt to taste, in the pan and stir well; cover and cook until the mutton is tender. Cook for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Stir in the ghee and red chilli powder.
  • Cook until the sauce has thickened for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Transfer to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with ginger julienne, whole red chilli & coriander spring.

 

Please enjoy my recipe, love Asha!

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This recipe was provided courtesy of Asha’s restaurant in WAFI, Dubai. Read my complete review on Asha’s WAFI by clicking here.

 

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