Food for Thought: Shika Budhoo

Actress Shika Budhoo loves cooking and rates herself an eight out of 10 as a cook.

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BILLY SUTER chats to personalities about their food and drink likes and dislikes in his occasional ‘Food for Thought’ column. Today the spotlight is on SHIKA BUDHOO, the popular Durban actress who is now based in Johannesburg but back in Durban with two diverse shows this month – one for children, the other for adults.
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SHIKA Budhoo is presenting two shows at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, this month.

Miss Marshmallow’s Rainbow Surprise, for children, will be performed at 11am daily from June 24 to 29. It’s described as an amusing, 55-minute show with song and dance, centred on a girl out to conquer her fear of thunderstorms. Tickets cost R75 each.

Also catch Shika in Shika-Land, at 8pm on June 28 and 29, and 2pm on June 30. Directed by Dhaveshan Govender and written by Shika, the show has the actress exploring the lives of five different women – one from South Africa (Shika herself), a mother from Trinidad, a girlfriend from France, hairdresser from England and a bride-to-be from India.

Interspersed with song, each Shika is presented in her own monologue. Through these intimate encounters the audience gets insight into arranged marriage, single parenting, abuse, infidelity and scandal, while posing the question, “Does our name fit our character. or does our character fit our name”?

Tickets for Shika-Land cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners).

Booking for both shows is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

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On a scale of one to 10 how good a cook are you? And why do you rate yourself so?

I would say an eight.  I only started cooking after I got married. My husband was the cook before I learnt. I make an effort to learn and perfect dishes. I am one to get the right balance between following a recipe and being experimental.

Your most embarrassing/awkward moment in a restaurant?

It was when I met my in-laws for dinner. I am a slow eater and everyone’s meal came before mine. I was still eating my meal after everyone had eaten their desserts. They had to wait (what felt like ages) for me to finish. It was most awkward.

Favourite take-away meal order? And what are you unlikely to never order?

I love Chinese! Chicken chow mein, with chopsticks.  I’m not likely to ever order a sub I can never open my mouth wide enough. It’s just awkward to eat.

What is your first food memory?

Eating dhall and rice with butter after school, during my pre-school years. I lived on dhal and rice back then.

Your favourite mea?

My favourite is chicken and prawns in a white sauce – with linguine, garlic and chilli

Something you loved to eat or drink when younger, which you can’t find today?

Holey Moleys… the chocolate snack!

As a child did you ever develop a taste for unusual foods or unusual combinations of foods?

Not really. My eating was pretty standard.

Shika Budhoo in Miss Marshmallow’s Rainbow Surprise, at Durban’s Umbilo Rhumbelow Theatre at 11am daily from June 24 to 29.

What is the dish you tend to cook most often (and why)?

Chicken roast! It’s quick, easy and yummy! Marinate chicken, cut veggies, pop in the oven and –boom! A family meal that leads to leftovers you can use for lunch the next day in the form of chicken and mayo sandwiches.

What do you like and/or dislike about attending dinner parties?

I love tasting other people’s food, and experiencing the flavours that make their tastebuds dance. Also food makes the world go round, so best I do my part.

What has been your biggest kitchen disaster?

Blueberry muffins that burnt black! It happened because I called my mom for two minutes that turned into 30 minutes. I learnt that if I have a lot to tell my mom, I have take make sure it’s scheduled, with two hours to spare.

What has been your biggest culinary success?

Chicken and mushroom lasagne! The sauce consistency, with the perfectly cooked sheets between, and salting it just right with the perfect cheese layer on top… I have got it down!

How serious a wine fundi are you, and what is your favourite tipple?

Not serious at all, but I do enjoy a Nederberg sweet red in summer and then a nice sherry in the winter months.

What three people would you most like to invite to dinner (and why)?

My mom, my dad and my sister. Now that I’m living in Joburg, seeing them only once or twice a year is tough. A nice dinner with my hubby, my son and I would be awesome.

If it were from the list of people who are no longer with us it would be my hubby’s mom, dad and brother, who have all passed on. I never got to meet any of them, so meeting them would be a dream come true for me.

What kitchen utensil can you simply not live without?

My vegetable knife and big spoon.

What’s the most kitsch thing in your kitchen – and why is it there?

A giant, soup-stirring spoon, covered with flowers, that my mom gave me. It’s there because, firstly, my mom gave it to me and, secondly, because I use it for absolutely everything – soups, making pancakes, dhall, stew, scooping muffin batter and cupcake batter into paper cups, pasta sauces…

What are some foods you simply refuse to try?

Mopani Worms, tripe, trotters, brains and chicken heart. Insects are becoming a fad for their availability in large numbers and nutritional value but… erm… NO! Never had them. I have a very conventional mouth.

What is your favourite restaurant in Durban or KwaZulu-Natal and what do you usually order there?

Spiga’s! I always got the Linguine Di Casa.

Favourite restaurant in South Africa and/or abroad?

Spur. Lol. But hear me out –  they have hearty meals, a variety of meals, a wide kids menu, and they make a great waffle. Look, I have a four-year-old, so the peace I get going there is wonderful. He plays, he eats, we eat, we chat, I take a book to read if it’s a Sunday afternoon. There’s sport on the telly for my hubby… we family it up.

Fave cooking ingredients?

Chilli, garlic and pepper.

One of five characters Shika Budhoo portrays in Shika-Land.

What marks the most memorable meal you’ve had?

A grilled calamari starter. It was the best-prepared calamari I’ve ever eaten – not rubbery, not chewy, just perfection of flavour. It was at Durban’s Roma Revolving Restaurant, when my hubby and I went there for my birthday last year.

Who is your favourite celebrity cook?

Gordon Ramsay. He’s charming and knows his stuff about flavours.

Your fave tipple and meal on a hot, humid day? 

Malibu and pineapple juice with braai! Chicken or chops with potato salad and sambals.

And on a freezing day?

Chicken and mushroom stew with all the veggies in my fridge.

What is the sexiest of all foods (and why)?

Prawns in lemon and garlic butter. Why? Prawns are just so succulent.

What do you tip in restaurants?

Up to 25% if service was awesome; 15% if it was average and 10% if it was really bad. During my years at high school and varsity I waitressed at the Bush Tavern In Umdloti and I know how easy it is to give good service, as long as your kitchen is behind you with great food delivery.

Have you/would you send a dish back at a restaurant if you were not happy with it?

Depends on the restaurant. Not every restaurant is managed the right way, so it is best to be cautious.

Favourite dessert/s?

Malva pudding… for obvious reasons (*licks lips*).

Store-bought sweet you most enjoy?

Astros. I don’t like sweets as much as I do chocolate.


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