Kerala Style Egg Puffs

This morning at around 10:45 am, having had just bread and mayo at 8 am for breakfast, I was craving a hot coffee and a snack to eat. I called on one my colleagues and we went to the cafeteria’s tea/coffee counter and got a tea for him and a coffee for me and we ordered some eggs puffs. Flaky, warm (not hot but warm enough to know that it was freshly made just an hour or so ago). Delicious and it satisfies the hunger.

How do you make it? Heat oil in a wide pan and add sliced onions. Cook till the onion becomes golden brown. Once the onion becomes golden brown, add crushed ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 mins. Add 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder, 1.5 tsp Chilli powder, 1/2 – 1 tsp Coriander powder, 1/2 tsp Pepper powder, 1/2 tsp Garam masala / meat masala , all masala powders and salt. Cook till the oil appears, around 2-3 mins. Add 1 – 2 tbsp hot water to bring everything together. Add ketchup, curry leaves and mix well.

Beat 1 egg with 1-2 tsp water for egg wash. Apply this egg mixture on four sides of the puff pastry. Place about 1 tbsp of masala on each puff pastry, followed by half a slice of egg. Put some masala on top of the egg as well. Bring together the diagonally opposite sides and seal. Apply the egg wash all over the sealed puffs. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until the puff pastry is golden in colour.

Serve with some ketchup and drink hot coffee or tea. On a rainy day in Kerala, this evening snack has few rival.

RIP Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian politician who thrice served as the Prime Minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, for a period of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and then for a full term from 1999 to 2004, passed away today. He was 93 years old. Apart from politician with great oratory skills, Vajpayee was also an acclaimed writer who wrote several poems.

He was a member of the Indian Parliament for over four decades, being elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house, ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house. He served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh until 2009 when he retired from active politics due to health concerns. Vajpayee was among the founding members of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh which he also headed from 1968 to 1972. He was the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

When the Janata government collapsed, Vajpayee restructured the Jana Sangh into the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980. He was the first Indian prime minister who was not a member of the Indian National Congress party to have served a full five-year term in office. He was conferred India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the President of India in 2015. Vajpayee remained unmarried. He adopted Namita Bhattacharya, the daughter of BN Kaul and Rajkumari Kaul.

Floods In Kerala

Days of incessant rain have led to raging floods across Kerala. Buildings and infrastructure have collapsed, leaving over 54,000 people homeless. Dams, reservoirs and rivers have overflowed, roads have caved in, sections of highways collapsed, and homes swept away in ferocious floods. People are homeless, tourists are stranded, and wildlife is in danger as more than half of Kerala is dealing with severe flooding due to the unforgiving rain. Opening of all five gates of one of the dams of the Idukki water reservoir have only added misery to the already-dire situation.

29 people have died and tens-of-thousands have been evacuated from affected areas. Rescue operations are being carried out round-the-clock, and around 500 relief camps have been set up so far. Over 50 tourists stranded at a resort in the popular hill station of Munnar in Idukki, have been rescued by the army. The army, navy, air force, coast guard, and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have joined hands, by coordinating on a massive scale to carry out evacuations and relief operations. A fourth red alert has been issued for the Idukki reservoir, the gates of which were opened yesterday after 26 years.

The water level at the Idukki reservoir went down from 2,401.60 feet yesterday to 2,400.72 feet today. The maximum capacity of the reservoir is 2,403 feet. Northern and central Kerala have been battered by heavy rains resulting from the southwest monsoon since August 8. Of the 29 people who died, 25 were killed in landslides, while four people drowned. Officials said that over 54,000 people are now housed in around 500 relief camps across the state. The situation however, eased somewhat on Saturday afternoon, with the intensity of rain reducing considerably.

Documentary On Indian Atheists

Write about a TV show or documentary you’d love to see get made.

I’d like to see a big production documentary or a large scale tv show about a minority in India, a minority of which I am a part of. I am talking about atheists in India. Yes, in the land of 8000 gods plus Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and a few others – we exist!

So how about a documentary about the history of atheism in India, from the time and possibly before the Vedas and onto modern days. Interview prominent atheists, public figures who happen to be atheists, meet and talk with atheists groups and see what their views on life are and how they go about their daily lives in India.

That is what I would want to see get made.

Prompt from 52 Writing Prompts to Inspire Your Next Blog Post

Pot Hole City

It’s been cold for several days. It’s been raining almost every day and on some days it’s been raining almost non-stop. My last post was about floods in the town of Pala in Kerala but it’s bad everywhere. Kottayam, Kozhikode and even Cochin. The railways stations in Eranakulam North Junction and in South Junction are both flooded and people are even using boats to float on the waters above the railway tracks.

Worst parts are the roads! Cochin is famous for having potholes that the local government take their own sweet time to address and when they do get to fixing it, they do a barely minimum job which they either ruin by having pipe work done on the sides immediately after or they fix the roads just before the monsoon season. All this ensures that the contractors get their contracts signed every year regularly and the corrupt politicians gets to steal money.

Yesterday the cab I was in had to use two diversions because of huge pot holes on two side roads onroute to my office in the evening as the waters were deep and sedans as well as smaller cars and bikes won’t get through without damages. I lost a lot of time, almost 30 minutes because of this.

How I Am Viewing The World Cup

I’ve been streaming the live matches of the World Cup from the comfort of my bedroom using the Sony Liv website, which is amazing by the way. I had signed up earlier this year to Hotstar for their really cheap Rs.299 a year for the Sports Package but Star network, their parent company, do not have the rights to broadcast the World Cup.

I was checking out other streaming options before signing up two weeks ago with Sony Liv for their monthly rent of just Rs.99 a month to watch the football games. I am loving this so much that I just might continue using it for a year or so. It’s easy to sign up and pay and then go to the website and select the game you want to watch. My 10mbps unlimited plan with Asianet is coming in really handy for this.

This weekend has been spent indoors, enjoying nice cool weather, with the exception of a quick Uber ride to and fro the self-service Bevco in Gandhinagar for a few beers – six in all, 2 each of Hunter, Black Fort & British Empire – and a 600ml bottle of Smirnoff Apple. I have to try to find another outlet though; this one doesn’t seem to have the brands I want.

ChicKing India VS KFC India

So, off the bat let me tell you that this is a comparison or atleast this post is only about the Indian versions of both these franchises. KFC is an American giant which has a global franchise and reach while Chicking is an Indian owned, Dubai based company that has outlets in India and the UAE but no where else that I know off. They also outgun KFC in the number of outlets in Kochi & Kerala overall. I think KFC has four franchisees in Kochi while ChicKing may have 5 to 6.

Now what matters is the taste. Head to head having had their flagship style batter fried chicken buckets in the last 2 weeks – Chicking two weekends ago and KFC last weekend – I must say that taste wise and even option wise, Chicking seems to be the outright winner. Along with the various options for buckets, they also give you buns, coleslaw, garlic sauce dips and buns. KFC will give you buns & French fries but neither of the other two. Both will give you packets of ketchup. I just feel like as a meal, KFC have to start getting you sauces and coleslaw to make it a real meal especially for family size buckets.

And taste wise Chicking seems to have the edge too. KFC has a bit of a metallic taste in their meat; not too pronounced but just there. Chicking’s chicken meat feels more juicy and fresher compared to KFC. I think they are clear winners!

RIP Sridevi Kapoor

Veteran actress Sridevi died in Dubai on Saturday after a cardiac arrest. She was 54. Popularly hailed as the first female superstar of Hindi cinema, the actor was in Dubai with her husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi to attend nephew and actor Mohit Marwah’s wedding. The actor had married film producer Boney Kapoor with whom she had two daughters. Sridevi, who made her acting debut at the age of four, had many big hits like “Chandni” and was especially noted for her impeccable timing as a comedienne.

She took a 15-year-long break from movies in 1997, a year after her marriage. She returned in 2012’s “English Vinglish”. Sridevi stunned fans with her performance as a villainous queen in “Puli”, which also marked her comeback to Tamil cinema after a gap of more than two decades.

Sridevi started her career as a child artist in M.A. Thirumugham’s devotional Thunaivan at the age of four, and continued to act as a child artist in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films. She made her Bollywood debut as a child artist in the hit Julie (1975) and played her first adult role at age 13 with the Tamil film Moondru Mudichu (1976). Subsequently, Sridevi established herself as one of the leading actresses of Tamil and Telugu cinema, with roles such as 16 Vayathinile (1977), Sigappu Rojakkal (1978 ), Varumayin Niram Sivappu (1980 ) Meendum Kokila (1981), Premabhishekam (1981), Moondram Pirai (1982), Aakhari Poratam (1988 ), Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari (1990) and Kshana Kshanam (1991).

In Bollywood, she made her debut as a lead actress in Solva Sawan (1978 ) and gained wide public attention with the movie Himmatwala (1983). She appeared in a string of commercially successful movies such as Mawaali (1983), Tohfa (1984), Naya Kadam (1984), Maqsad (1984), Masterji (1985), Nazrana (1987), Mr. India (1987), Waqt Ki Awaz (1988 ) and Chandni (1989). She also received critical acclaim for commercially successful movies such as Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992), Gumrah (1993), Laadla (1994) and Judaai (1997). Sridevi has won five Filmfare Awards and has been nominated ten times.

IndiBlogger’s Blogger Q&A On Twitter

Recently I’ve been participating in what I’d like to call mini-blogging or mini Q&As on Twitter that Indiblogger has been conducting. It’s been fun participating in it and reading other bloggers answers. Here are 6 (in two tweets) that I answered:

1. Tell us about yourself and your blog.

A. I blog from a personal perspective; anything that I like, love, hate, experienced and have a passion for.

2. What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far? 3. Which of your strengths really helped you to #blog?

A. Nothing much: Once I started my blog (started in 2002, regularly blogging since 2007) it became a part of me.

3. Imagination and ideas

4. What language do you prefer to blog in and why?

A. English only. I wish I knew French, Latin or Klingon. English is my first language.

5. English being a foreign language, how did you learn it? Were there challenges?

A. I grew up in Kuwait and the community I was in spoke mostly in English.

6. To be a grammar nazi or not to be and why?

A. Occassionally a Grammar Nazi but I write casually so I don’t mind it too much. #language #Blogging #indiBlogger

Creator Of Old Monk Rum Passes Away

The man behind the most iconic alcoholic beverage of India passed away. Brigadier (retd.) Kapil Mohan, former Chairman and MD of Mohan Meakin Ltd and the man behind the rum Old Monk, passed away on January 6. He was 88 years old.

Old Monk Rum was the very first alcoholic drink that I ever drank, other than beer ofcourse. I was 19 and my much older cousin brother gave me two tall glasses of rum+cokes on ice (or was it rum+coke+lime) and I loved the taste. And ofcourse I got tipsy after the 1st glass. After that first taste, I started drinking rum on a weekly or bi weekly basis and Old Monk was my rum of choice.

The choice of most guys in my age group in Kerala (and it seems a lot other Indians agreed too) was Old Monk rum. Rum was cheaper than most other alcoholic beverages. So many evenings or afternoons spent in a bar drinking 3-4 rum+cokes on ice and deep fried beef. Oh those were the days when drinking out didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Good memories! Cheers to the life of Brigadier (retd.) Kapil Mohan. Thank you, sir.

RIP Shashi Kapoor

Veteran Hindi film actor Shashi Kapoor passed away on Monday after prolonged illness. He was 79. The actor-producer took his last breath at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. He appeared in a large number of Hindi films as well as in various English-language films, notably the films produced by Merchant-Ivory. He was also a film director and assistant director in the Hindi film industry. Born as Balbir Prithviraj Kapoor; 18 March 1938 Kapoor was a member of the Kapoor family, a film dynasty in India’s Bollywood cinema. Kapoor was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) during the British Raj. He was the third and youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, the younger brother of Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, the widower of Jennifer Kendal (sister of actress Felicity Kendal), and the father of Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, and Sanjana Kapoor.

In 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contributions to Art-Cinema. In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Dadasaheb Phalke Award, making him the third member of his family to receive the highest award in Indian Cinema after Prithviraj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor. He was admitted for a reported chest infection at Kokilaben Hospital, Mumbai on 3 December 2017 and died on 4 December 2017 due to prolonged liver cirrhosis. He made his debut as a leading man in the 1961 film “Dharmputra” and went on to appear in more than 116 films during the ’70s and until the mid ’80s. The veteran actor is well-known for his roles in films like ‘Deewaar’ (1975 ), ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’ (1978 ), ‘Junoon’ (1978 ), ‘Shaan’ (1980 ), and ‘Namak Halaal’ (1982).

McDonald’s India Has Some Dumb Menu Items

Went into McDonald’s (Vennala) this evening on the way back from work and saw that they had new stuff on the menu. Sweet! thought I. But nay….I was disappointed soon.

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The Cheesy Italiano Chicken – it is enough for Italy to declare war on India. A dry chicken patty with some melted mozzarella and what looks like Italian dry powdered herbs. Or McD’s stole some oregano and chilli flake packets from Dominos and powered them even further and put it on this patty with a couple of small pieces of onions. Voila – instant Italian classic…NOT!

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It was kinda bland and disappointing. Bun was multigrain or multiseasame or something stolen from Subway. It totally felt like something from Subway without all the options for toppings and sauces. This is part of McDonald’s India’s new “Flavours without Borders” menu – More like Borders without Flavours!! They describe the burger as – “juicy chicken patty, sprinkled with aromatic Italian herbs, layered with a rich and creamy onion-cheese sauce and shredded onions in a square toasted bun.” Seriously??? The preparation looks more like some guy in Bombay who was smoking some fine weed and coming up what he thought was “Italian”.

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They also had a new McFlurry – Phirni McFlurry a rice pudding dessert prepared to perfection with delicate flavours of rich condensed milk along with rice bits. It was ok but not as good as the others that they have!