South Indian cuisine is Anil Kapoor’s fitness mantra; here’s why

Anil Kapoor Selection Day Netflix

Anil Kapoor revealed that his love for south Indian cuisine has played a vital role in making him what he is. (Source: File Photo)

Anil Kapoor is 62 and there is nothing about his personality that would hint at this number. The actor who has the vigour and a youthful vibe, recently credited the humble idli sambar as one of the secrets behind his fitness. While talking to The Times of India, the Race actor revealed that his love for south Indian cuisine has played a vital role in making him what he is.

“It probably has to do with my love for South Indian food and the amount of such food that I have consumed over the decades. I am very fond of the cuisine. Idli, sambar, chutney, dosa and all the pickles I have had with rice, rasam and curd must be the reason. South Indian cuisine like idli and dosa are healthy food options. When a person is unwell, their diet usually includes idlis — as it is the safest food option,” Anil Kapoor told the media group.

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In most parts of India, fermented food, such as the idli, has been a kitchen staple. (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

In 2013, ‘India Breakfast Habits Study’, a survey conducted in four metros, found that Chennai has the best breakfast ‘nutrient profile’ in the country. The study covered other metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata on a sample size of 3,600 subjects, split across 8 to 40 years age group, and described ‘alarming’ figures of nutritional inadequacy in our country.

Here’s why we agree with Bollywood actor:

* The rice and urad dal in idlis complement each other making it a complete protein.

* Traditional sambar preparations have veggies like drumsticks, pumpkin, brinjal, okra, tomatoes and various other fibre-rich seasonal vegetables that are rich in fibre and anti-oxidant. The goodness of vegetables in sambar makes it a good supplement and helps in digestion of the lentils.

* Curry leaves, tamarind extract, turmeric powder, red pepper and mustard seeds have a number of health benefits, ranging from good digestion, weight loss and high immunity, hair growth among others.

* A pre-clinical study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine, ‘Sambar, an Indian Dish Prevents the Development of Dimethyl Hydrazine–Induced Colon Cancer’ said that consumption of sambar significantly reduced aberrant crypt foci in DMH-induced colon cancer model. Sambar may prevent the risk of CC when consumed in dietary proportions. It comprises a variety of spices that exhibited both pro- and antioxidant properties in different tissues, leading to its overall beneficial effect in this model.

The goodness of vegetables in sambar makes it a good supplement and helps in digestion of the lentils. (Source: Sharmila B/Flickr)

Here’s how you can make an authentic sambar


3-4 – Bite-sized pieces of cut drumstick, yellow pumpkin and brinjal
2 cups – Tamarind juice, extracted from a small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
100g – Toor dal, pressure cooked until the dal is soft
1 tsp – Sesame oil
1/4 tsp – Turmeric powder
Salt – To taste

For seasoning

1/2 tsp – Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp – Fenugreek seeds
2 – Red chillies
1 – Green chilli

To garnish

5 sprigs – Curry leaves and coriander leaves

For the sambar masala

2 tsp – Sesame oil
2 tbsp – Coriander seeds
1 tbsp – Bengal gram
1 tsp – Black gram
6 – Dried red chillies
1/4 tsp – Fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp – grated coconut


* To make the sambar masala, heat a pan with 2 tsp of oil.
* Fry the coriander seeds, Bengal gram, black gram, red chillies and fengugreek seeds until golden brown.
* Finally, add the grated coconut and fry for a while.
* Cool the mixture and grind to a powder.
* Boil the vegetables in tamarind juice with turmeric powder and salt.
* Add some water if necessary. When the vegetables are boiled add the boiled toor dal and allow it boil for 2 minutes.
* Then, add the sambar powder and mix well. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.
* Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chillies, green chillies and hing powder that have been tempered in a tsp of oil.
* Serve hot.


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