Bollywood star Amrita Rao is proud of her plant-based diet—so much so that she calls it her “Rao Wow” diet.
With no godfather, Rao found her own identity and place in the film industry with dignity and grace. Her striking performances in Main Hoon Na, Ishq Vishk, Vivah, and Welcome to Sajjanpur won our hearts.
Rao won the Stardust Best Actress for Shyam Benegal’s Welcome to Sajjanpur in 2009. She is also the youngest winner of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Best Actress in Vivah, a film that inspired legendary painter M.F Hussain to call Rao his muse. These achievements all compliment Bollywood's quintessential "girl next door."
Thai food—like this recipe for Thai Vegetable Salad—became a favorite of Rao’s after she spent time filming and working on several other projects in Bangkok. The Mangalorian Batata Humman (coconut-based potato curry) is another favorite of this Mangalorian beauty.
Rao acknowledges that the high quality and high volume of her work relies on proper nutrition and how well she takes care of her health. She says that following a healthful, plant-based diet is "the best thing I can do for myself, the animals, and the environment."
Thai Vegetable Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
1/4 head of cabbage
Optional: peppers of any color, scallions, green beans steamed until just tender, broccoli
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Shred vegetables into thin, matchstick-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds over the vegetables.
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
Place dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend well, allowing sugar to melt. Add water to reach a pourable consistency.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Shred 10-12 leaves of basil or chop 1/4 cup of coriander/cilantro leaves and mix in. Let the salad stand a few minutes before serving.
Optional: Add tofu to the salad to make it a complete meal: Boil firm tofu in 1 1/2 cups water with a 1-inch piece of ginger, shredded, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes, then cut into cubes and toss into the salad.