Friday, November 21, 2014

Keema Kaleji: Mince Meat and Liver Cooked Indian Style

Minced meat and liver cooked Indian Style

I have been flooded under work recently, but well, it was what I wanted. C left today, and as I type, she is sitting in Frankfurt Airport, waiting for a connecting flight. I feel slightly bummed, but well, V will take me out tonight to see Interstellar probably, and then we will wander around the tree-laden streets in the night, and life will again move on.

Minced Meat Recipe

I made this dish the other day after I spotted some good mutton chunks lying in the butcher's plate, and picked one up and silently handed over to him, mouthing the word "Keema", while my attention was diverted to the small-ish chunk of liver lying on the same plate. In the end, I took it too, came home, and cut it in small portions. I had originally planned to make a Liver Fry and some Keema Matar , but then I decided to combine the two, and make a batch of Keema Kaleji. 

I generally make a paste of 20-25 dry red chillies, after soaking them in warmed vinegar (4-5 tablespoon) plus a tiny bit of water for an hour. This paste can be stored in the fridge and used in place of red chilli powder. This is used quite often in my house. In case you do not want to go through that trouble, I would suggest mixing red chilli powder or kashmiri mirch powder with vinegar to make a paste. But well, the taste is just not the same.

Roast 1 teaspoon whole cumin, 1 teaspoon whole coriander, 5-6 whole green cardamom, 1 stick cinnamon, 10 cloves, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 10 peppercorn, 1 large blade of mace and 1/4th of a nutmeg over mild heat till the whole spices are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and grind it in a spice grinder. I prefer a coarse grind, but you can go for a more finer powder. I generally call this my Garam Masala powder.

Also, make a paste of equal amounts of ginger, garlic and green chillies. I generally, again, paste them with vinegar instead of oil, and use them quite often in my recipes.

Marinate 100 gm. chopped liver in 1 tablespoon yogurt and a big pinch of salt. Marinate 250 gm. minced meat with salt. 

Heat 1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil or mustard oil in a pressure cooker. Although I am using the pressure cooker to quickly cook everything, you can definitely use a heavy bottomed pan and cook this for a longer period of time. Once the oil is heated, add 2 whole dry red chillies, a bay leaf and 1/4th teaspoon whole cumin.

Once the spices splutter, add 1 medium onion, chopped. Cook till the onion is golden, and then add 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Let the paste fry slightly, then add 1 large tomato puree (around 60 ml. or 4 tablespoons). Cook till the tomato puree is thoroughly cooked, and the oil starts to separate from the frying mixture.

 Add to this the minced meat. I used goat meat, but you can use lamb easily. Stir fry over high heat to seal the juices of the meat, and then stir briskly. I like my mince quite coarse, but you can get yours finely chopped. Once the mince is well-seared, drop the heat, and cover the pressure cooker loosely with the lid. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the marinated liver.

Cook, stirring briskly, for a minute or so, and then, add 1 tablespoon of the red chilli paste and the prepared spice mix. Stir, add 1/2 cup water, and then quickly put the pressure cooker lid on. Let the pressure cooker build up to full pressure, then turn off the heat right after the first whistle. Let the pressure cooker cool down on till you can open it easily, and then adjust salt and if you want, add a bit of sugar. I don't, though. I add a bit of cilantro leaves on top, and then crack open a packet of pao. 

Keema Kaleji

Lufthansa A380: My Dream Trip Might Just Be Real Now!

I have never really been a fan of flying in India. Truthfully speaking, even when I have flown business class, there was something essential that I missed in India. Maybe it was the service, maybe it was the seating, Indian airlines never really blew my mind.

Of course, when international brands started to come to India, I was curious. For a blogger who likes traveling and food as much as I do, going places is inevitable, and good service is a must to make me like a particular airlines. There has been some disappointments, of course. But most of the times, I have noted that international airlines are far better in the service segment when compared to our domestic groups.

This is possibly one of the biggest reasons for me to be totally excited about flying Lufthansa.
Known as one of biggest power players in the airlines business around the globe and the largest airlines in the EU, Lufthansa was one of the groups I was eagerly waiting for to do more in India. I have always had plans to travel the globe, and a backpacking trip around Europe was always in the cards. Solo journey and all, you see! I want to make it an eating tour! And what better to start than Frankfurt, which promises to be the gateway to the European nation to me! I checked the details for some flights, and a round trip in mid-February is going to cost me around 48,000/- INR, which seems perfectly reasonable to me for the service I will be receiving.

Lufthansa boasts of quality food, great service, and on-time flights, three things that I tend to be very particular about.Plus, they have launched the Lufthansa A380, the largest commercial aircraft, which would be the carrier for the Delhi-Frankfurt flight. Now that is the advantage of being big and beautiful! Check out more at and check out this Post by Lufthansa India.

Disclaimer: This post is in association with Indiblogger and Lufthansa A380. For more, check out Lufthansa India Website or search with #LufthansaA380 

Hot Pot Offerings at ITC Sonar (Autumn-Winter 2014)

Sitting around the table, and sipping a chilled drink, we look longingly at the steaming bowl of broth bubbling away in the hot pot in front of us. The hot pot sits on a glowing base, and the broth looks mostly clear and inviting. A plate of vegetables and protein await expectantly on one side. I am slightly disappointed to see that there is no beef (which is the thing I like about a good Shabu Shabu), but oh, well, I believe I will settle for the Tuna Tataki today.

Soon, the broth is ready. Meanwhile, D and I sneakily pick off strips of pink salmon and tuna and little curls of cuttlefish from the dish, dip it in the gorgeous soy-mirin dipping sauce, and deposit them straight into our mouths. We love our sashimi, and yes, wasabi is optional.

Chef Jerry Bernasol has made a light dashi stock, and he stirs in the firmer vegetables first, which would take more time to cook. He adds some chicken sliced fine to it, which would lend flavors to the both. Mostly bonito-based, he explains that the accompanying sesame sauce, soy-mirin sauce, and the egg yolk are all supposed to be added to the broth before consuming, depending upon the taste buds of the eater. As he speaks, he spears slices of leeks, shiitake and button mushrooms, onion rings into the broth, and stir rapidly.

On my request, he puts a slice of tuna in the broth, swirling it around for 10-12 seconds, and then quickly remove it to my plate. I savor the buttery tuna, barely cooked on the outside and all pink and beautiful inside, with a smidgen of the Shichimi Togarashi lying innocently on one side.

Shichimi Togarashi
Once cooked, the protein and vegetables are ladled onto our bowls. The dashi stock is mild and a little bit of soy sauce just improves its flavors. The vegetables are perfectly cooked, and the fish flakes at the touch of my chopstick. I relish the curls of the cuttlefish and dip them in more egg yolk, then rapidly finish the broth.

D calls the soup nourishing. I agree. We both look at each other with a secret yearning for a couch or a bed to sleep on. This is soul food - something that feels like a healing touch to me, after the long month of severe eating out, especially all the junk I could get.

 Udon noodles are thrown into the leftover stock to make a quick noodle soup. I fish out a couple of Shiitake mushrooms from the broth and bite into their meatiness.

Tom Yam  Mor Fai

 The table is quickly cleared to make way for a new pot filled with broth. Our eyes widen as the Thai Tom Yam Mor Fai starts brewing in front of us. This Asian beauty is spicier, with a broth fragrant with Lemongrass and Thai basil. Chef Promod Sinha quickly introduces the vegetables - fresh lemongrass, basil, bokchoy, mushrooms, fish and prawn in it. The sauces are changed too - a sweet Thai Chili and a hot Chili Paste replaces the soy and sesame paste. Some jasmine rice is served alongside, to be enjoyed with the broth.

Chef Jerry Bernasol

 Chef Jerry explains the nuances of Thai food, which is definitely more spicy and fragrant than the lighter Japanese fare. He stirs in the vegetables first, then adds the protein in. The broth here is better with rice, and the rice bowl is frequently reached for.

Tom Yum Broth

We are at this point beyond full, but the Chef has one last hurrah for us. He promises us a dessert platter with all the cool trimmings.

dessert trio

Dessert Trio is a pretty affair and I demolish it with gusto. There is some coconut jelly on top, followed by a bowl of wasabi ice cream in the middle, and a bowl of chopped fresh fruits at the bottom.  It is all very refreshing, although I am not a fan of bringing wasabi and ice cream together.

Green tea Ice Cream

Oh hello, Liquid Nitrogen! The last dish that comes out from the kitchen is a Green Tea Ice Cream, and the aesthetic beauty of it is overshadowed by my greed to get one more spoonful of the silky green tea ice cream, mild and delicate and possibly the best way to end the meal.

The hot pot meals are available at Pan Asian ITC Sonar all through the cold winter season and a meal for two will cost 3300/- plus tax from 12.30 to 2.45 pm (lunch) and 7.30 to 11.45 pm (dinner).

Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at ITC Sonar at the invitation of the management.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

L’Oreal Nude Magic Foundation Natural Beige Review

L’Oreal Nude Magic Foundation is available in India with Nykaa and Flipkart. It is priced at 899/- for 27 ml. of product. 

What L’Oreal Says About It: L'oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder that looks like a foundation but as you blend in it transforms into powder. Ideal for people with oily skin as it is non-greasy. L'oreal Paris Magic Nude Liquid Powder blends well into the skin. It gives a natural look.
  • It gives complete coverage.
  • It reduces the redness on the face.
  • It covers dark spots, acne and blemish marks.
  • It covers skin pigmentation giving an even skin tone.
  • It gives your skin a semi-matte finish, not making your skin oily.
  • It is available in six shades to match your skin tone. 
My Take on L’Oreal Nude Magic Foundation:  I have always been interested in buying a good foundation that will not make my skin dry, but will give a mostly matte finish. It was this particular thing that made me purchase this product in the first place. The color Natural Beige is the perfect match for my current skin tone. 

Although the foundation claims to give complete coverage, it gives semi-sheer to medium coverage, and evens out my skin tone. It reduces redness and also gives it a very matte, yet not dry appearance. I like the fact that it is not heavy at all, and it does not leave me with dry patches – something that liquid or cream to powder foundations often tend to do. It has SPF 18 in it, so it protects against the sun as well.  
I think the lasting power is my only issue with this product – it is not very long lasting, and stays around 4 hours on me. It can apparently be used as a sunscreen, so I understand the sheer coverage.

In this weather, where winter is knocking, I would love to use this more to see how it performs against my skin and provides protection against the winter sun. The fact that there are more shades for darker and lighter skin tones make me very happy as well. 

You can check the swatch here, which looks lighter somewhere. The shade is very slightly light on my NC 42 skin tone, and I would say it will suit NC 40-42 very well. Overall, I think L'Oreal has come up with a good product for Indian skin tones, and the number of shades make it easy for you to pick one up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Create More Public Toilets: Solve the Issue of Open Defecating in India

I am going to talk about one of the most disturbing, yet common things that you might face when you are in India. A few years ago, two of my foreigner friends came to town, and when we were going around, I noted a young girl, of around 4 or 5, calmly squatting down on the side of the road to defecate. Of course, I was not shocked, but my friends were. They froze when they saw what was happening with open disbelief written all over their faces, and for a few minutes, they could not speak.

Later on, they asked me, why the girl had to “do her duty” in a public space. I explained to them that public toilets were few and far between in the city, and the concept of “Sulabh Sauchalay”, where people would pay a token sum to enter and complete their ablutions was not an option for a huge number of people in India, especially those who live close to, or below the poverty line. The situation does not improve in the villages, where there is a custom of defecating in jungles and fields. In fact, a recent survey showed that the total number of Indians who were defecating in public were around 597 million.

Yes, the number is 597 million. Did you know, this number is roughly forty five percent of the population of India, and nearly double the population of USA? Yes, that is how big this number is. This is one issue that is currently a matter of grave importance, because this particular practice has made people across India more prone to diseases. The figure that you see is a percentage which is far greater than many poorer, and less developed, nations, like Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia. More than half the world’s population who defecate in public are Indians.

This is a situation that should change. People need to be made more aware of the diseases they incur from this practice. Did you know, in India, a huge number of diseases are actually extremely prevalent, and all because of defecating in public? Children contract these diseases much more quickly than adults, and it results in less nutrition getting absorbed into the system, and therefore, more malnourished children continue to live in the world.

One of the best known sanitation brands of the world, Domex, has come up with a unique concept of the “Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme”, where you can contribute to building public toilets for people around India by contributing nothing more than a simple click. All you have to do is click on the icon at, and Domex will contribute INR 5/- towards building toilets in villages across India. A little goes a long way, and your contribution can help improve public sanitation and give people toilets that they need, and stop the practice of defecating in public. If you want to clean up India, you need to make sure you do your part to improve it. Check out, where you can check out “You Click Domex Contributes” campaign. Your valuable clicks are all that is needed, so please click, and also encourage others!  

Disclaimer: This post is a response to the Indiblogger #ToiletForBabli campaign and you should check out for more.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Introducing Cirrus

I am going to celebrate today. My sister just got her first artbook out, featuring a Manga which she started drawing when she was thirteen. Seven years and plenty of blood, sweat and tears later, the book is completed. She started to send it to publishers, but they were not very keen on publishing an artbook at first. So, it took time for her to publish it, three years to be precise. But here it is! Finally in print.

Priced at 499/- you can buy it by leaving me with your email ID in the comments segment. I will contact you and send you details on how to buy the book.‎