At home with Vikram Vij
Finding inspiration for a really good meal can be a daily struggle. Many of us tend to go back to the same old recipes way too often. Which made us wonder, what does a guy like Vikram Vij, Vancouver celebrity chef and owner of the world-renowned Vij’s, cook when he’s at home with his family? His restaurant, co-owned with his wife Meeru Dhalwala, is known for a special brand of Indian Fusion and a no-reservation policy that has kept many celebrities- including Martha Stewart- waiting in line (oooh, we’re inspired already!). Here’s a behind-the-scenes chat with Vij at home:
Inspiring tip #1: Quality food is key.
Vij’s story started in India, where he learned the importance of quality food from his family. “We never ate junk and never ate out for meals,” he says. Instead, they would go via rickshaw to local produce stands, buy the produce available, and at the same time learn where it all came from. These outings, along with his grandmother’s fabulous food, spurred Vij’s love for cooking.
Inspiring tip #2: Meet your local farmers.
These days, sourcing quality food from local farmers markets is a big part of where Vij gets his daily inspiration. He takes his daughters along to buy veggies and explore what farmers are doing in their community. He’s also a fan of CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), explaining, “When you join a CSA, the farmer you support will package together whatever they are growing, put it in a bin and give it to your family each week. You make your meal plans around what’s in season.”
CSA’s are found throughout BC. You can find out about CSA’s near you by doing a Google search “CSA + (your city/town)”.
Mealtime traditions are a theme here at Better Together, so we had to ask what goes on in the Vij household. “Every Sunday and Monday, I can be found at home with Meeru, cooking for our two girls. We mostly cook Italian and French, the kids’ favorite.” But what does this culinary master recommend for a meal mix up? That brings us to…
Inspiring tip # 3: Try a fast food makeover (aka make a healthy version of your kids favorite treat at home).
“When my kids want a treat like chicken fingers, I show them how to make the meal from scratch. We use fresh chicken, breadcrumbs, flour, etc., and I show them how to handle the meat themselves so they aren’t scared of meat and know where it comes from.” Another Vij family fave is hamburgers. Here is his very own recipe:
Hamburgers by Vikram Vij:
(serves 6 hamburgers)
454 g of hamburger meat
1 teaspoon of salt
1.5 teaspoons of red chilis
3 teaspoons of Garam masala
2 tablespoons of ketchup
1 dash of worcestershire sauce
Mix it all together and grill until it is crispy.
Serve on hamburger buns with mustard or mayonnaise.