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What is the secret recipe of Madhuri Dixit’s ageless beauty at 40-plus? Well, she won’t reveal all, but she does tell t2 about her hunger pangs...

The first thing I have in the morning: A glass of plain water. Later, I have a cup of tea. When I am in the mood for it, I have masala tea, flavoured with ginger and cardamom. My husband wakes up very early so I make him a breakfast of eggs. I too usually breakfast on eggs, either poached or scrambled or an omelette. This is accompanied by a glass of hot milk to which I occasionally add a bit of coffee for the aroma. When I need a change, I have a dosa or some poha or saabudane ki khichdi.

My lunch: Dal, sabzi, roti, salads. I love green vegetables and eat all vegetables besides eggplant and bhindi. I eat a katori of curd on alternate days. In dals, yellow dal is my favourite.

Between rice and roti I prefer: Roti. Basically, I am a chappati person. My husband is fond of rice, though I am not.

I avoid eating: Red meat.

In non-vegetarian food, I relish: Tandoori chicken. I also like prawns and fish like pomfret and bangda. Some people feel bangda smells but I just love it. However I can’t eat dry fish — I find it very smelly. I relish crabs too.

In Maharashtrian food, I like: Modak and Rawa Sheera. I also love the aroma of Tirfir, a spice added to bangda curry.

My evening snack: A few Crackers with a cup of tea. Or a vegetable sandwich. I avoid samosas and other oily stuff though I do give in to temptation and indulge myself occasionally.

My dinner: Usually comprises breast of chicken and a fruit.

My favourite fruits: I can eat any fruit besides plums. Mango is my favourite. Cherries, yes; strawberries, no. I like eating bananas and litchis too. I can eat kiwi fruit and oranges only if they are sweet. My entire family is very fond of custard apple.

My favourite desserts: I love cheesecake; mango cheese cake is heavenly. I have been to the cheesecake factory in Washington. I am also completely mad about Tiramisu. In Indian sweets, kaju katri is my hot favourite as it is not as sweet as other mithais. Rasgullas and gaajar halwa are yummy too. I love chocolate truffle and litchis and fresh mangoes with vanilla ice-cream.

I indulge myself by: Eating biryani once a week. I often drop in at my friend Swapna’s house and she makes excellent fish and chicken curry. The only time I eat rice is at her house as it makes a fine combination with her fish and chicken curry.

My favourite beverage: Tea and water. I am not very fond of aerated drinks but abroad one tends to drink them as everyone else is doing so. I am also fond of pinacolada, iced tea, and a mocktail called Orange Blossom because it tastes like ice-cream soda.

A childhood FOOD memory: In my school tiffin, I’d carry roti, sabzi and a fruit. Our food was not always typically Maharashtrian since we had neighbours from all communities.

My culinary abilities: Are not bad. My husband is just crazy about Indian food. He is not fussy, he tells me to cook whatever I feel like. People think I’m a good cook because I make round phulkas! But phulkas are the first thing I learnt to cook. I have made lobster in coconut gravy for my husband and it has turned out quite well.

My idea of a romantic meal: Is the way we celebrated a recent birthday of mine. I was preoccupied in my carpentry work and did not realise that more than an hour had passed by. When I finally came out of the room, I was amazed to see the place lit up with candles. My husband had prepared a surprise meal — garlic scallops pasta, stir-fried vegetables and a bottle of wine. I was very touched.

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