Ria's Collection

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Chemmeen Pattichularthiyathu
That name was a mouthful, wasn't it? Everytime I have to share a Malayali recipe with you, I wonder if I should include a translated,simple version or just stick to the original name. It plays in my head for a while I type the post and eventually, I go with the original name for it's charm and authenticity that might get lost during translation. I have been guilty of doing that in the past and in my defence, I was much younger then! :-) As I grow older (and even a bit wiser!), I can certainly notice a change in me with regards to how I think and also in the way I do things. Have you been noticing such changes in yourself? I have even come to realize that I like the way I feel now a lot better than what I did in the past...I do things at my pace and I am totally living my life on my own terms now. I cannot wait to grow older! :-)

Chemmeen Pattichularthiyathu
This recipe,is a quick and easy one. It's from the book Suriani Pachakam by Mrs. Bava Lukose. Prawns or Shrimp as it's known in this part of the world, barely requires any time to cook. It's one of my most favourite seafood for it's taste and texture. Seafood can get rubbery if you overcook it. I have seen so many cookery shows in Malayalam where the seafood is cooked in a pressure cooker and it's given multiple whistles. I cannot even begin to imagine how terrible the texture might be! All you need for this particular recipe is a good old mannchatti if you have one and maybe another pan to fry. If you don't have a mannchatti, I highly recommend you to get one at the earliest! I don't know if there's an extra taste coming from it but I surely know it's a healthier way to cook and definitely has a rustic charm with a nostalgic tag attached to it.
Chemmeen Pattichularthiyathu
For this recipe or any seafood recipe for that matter, please take your time to find out the best source to get them. I had a hard time figuring out where to get good seafood here that actually tastes like the sea. I eventually found out that it's the best at co-ops, Whole Foods or wherever they sell wild caught seafood. It tastes the best and it does taste like the ocean. I mean, that's the best way I can describe how fresh the seafood is back in Kannur. Nowadays, even back home, we see a lot of seafood coming in from far away places and they just don't taste the same.

Chemmeen Pattichularthiyathu Serves 6

500 gram cleaned prawns
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece ginger, crushed
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 pieces Kudampuli soaked in 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sliced pearl onions
4 dry red chilies, de-seeded and crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 sprig curry leaves

Method: Into a mannchatti, add everything from prawns through salt along with 1/4 cup water. Mix well and cook over medium high heat till the prawns are just cooked. It will turn salmon-pink and will curl up,about 5-6 minutes.
Heat oil in a fairly large pan on medium high heat and add the pearl onions. Saute until they start to brown a bit, then add dry red chilies, black pepper and curry leaves. Mix well and add the cooked prawns and saute well till the masala is well coated, about 2-3 minutes. Serve hot!
Please adjust Kudampuli to your taste. I used 3 small pieces. This curry's success depends a lot on the 'erivum puliyum' balance. 

Chemmeen Pattichularthiyathu
This curry was honestly a huge hit at home! Jobin's mummy and Jobin couldn't stop raving about it . Jobin usually doesn't like Kachimoru but the recipe I shared with you last week, is his favourite.It's a little spicy for children,so I washed the pieces and served it to them along with Cabbage & Baby Kale thoran, Koorka Mezhukkupuratti and Matta rice. Hmmm...that combination is so nostalgic! I can never ever get enough of it!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Moru Kachiyathu
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely start to 2020 and enjoyed the Holiday season as much as we did. After sharing the amazing Oreo Truffles with you, we packed our bags and flew across the globe with a quick stop in Bangalore on the way to Malaysia and then to Singapore. It was a 12 day trip which I must say have left a lasting impression in me. It was a very relaxing vacation to say the least! It was also much needed after the crazy busy time we've been having ever since I came back from India in Summer.
Moru Kachiyathu
As many of you have read on my blog over the last 11 years, my Appa's side of the family spent quite a good amount of time in Malaysia. Appa was there till he was 10. Even though his siblings visited Malaysia after that, he never did. He wanted to go with all of us sometime in the future. So Amma decided to take Appa and all of us there for his 60th birthday! It was the best way to spend his special day for sure. We got to eat and see everything we've been hearing all our lives! Appa's first cousin's still live there,so we had a lovely get together with all of them. That way my children got to see their extended family and spend quality time with them, which is a big deal for me!
Moru Kachiyathu
We even went to Tampin Lingi plantation where my Grandfather worked and saw his office and also the bungalow Appa lived as a child and the small church they went to right down the road. It was all intact! I mean, this is after 50 years! It was such an exciting evening for me. I couldn't believe that I was seeing all of that for real! It was too good to be true! I have left a piece of my heart in Malaysia for sure and I definitely want to go back !

Today's post is a simple recipe which is a staple in our house and I love to pair it with Mamma's Urulakkizhangu Mezhukkupuratti. That combination is excellent! This particular recipe comes from Ente Tharavadu Pachakam by Aswathy Mathan, a cookbook Amma gifted me a few years ago. I love all the recipes that I've tried from it so far!

Moru Kachiyathu Serves 6-8

2 cups homemade yogurt
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt

To grind:
2 tablespoons grated coconut
3 pearl onions
2 small cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon ghee
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
4-5 green chilies, slit
1 tablespoon thinly sliced pearl onions
2 dry red chili, torn
1 sprig curry leaf
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, water and salt. Set it aside.
Grind together the ingredients from coconut through mustard seeds into a fine paste using a little bit of water.
In a large saucepan, heat oil and ghee on medium high and splutter mustard seeds followed by fenugreek seeds. Add the green chilies and pearl onions next and saute well it the pearl onions starts to brown. Then add the dry red chili and curry leaves and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the ground coconut paste along with 1/4 cup water and cook until the water evaporates and the mixtures comes together like a ball ('urundu varika') leaving the sides of the pan,about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat and add the yogurt mixture and cook stirring continuously till it starts to steam, in about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Do not let it boil, it will split.
Turn off the heat and add the red chili powder. Stir for another minute to cool it down slightly and serve!
This recipe has been requested by many so I thought I'll share it as the first post of 2020! If you have struggled getting the consistency of your Kachimoru right, try this recipe. It gives you a perfectly thick one. Appa likes sour Kachimoru and if you are that kind as well, use sour yogurt. I always use the regular homemade one. Like I mentioned earlier, this pairs well with any side dishes, especially Mamma's Urulakkizhangu Mezhukkupuratti. It is a heavenly combination! Today, I served it alongside Koorka Mezhukupuratti that was sent from home. Appa spent a good amount of time cleaning it for me and it was delicious! Thanks a lot Appa & Amma!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Oreo Truffle
This takes the #1 spot on the most requested items during Christmas season from Ian. Every time I mention the word 'Christmas Party', he makes sure that I have written this item on my to-make list. I usually don't make the Christmas treats throughout the year, it's made only around the last week of November.It's just to keep the excitement going and to have some special treats around the house during the most lovely time of the year!

Oreo Truffle
It's funny how they know which aisle carries the cookies when we go grocery shopping. For Ian, it's easy since he can read but Zara kind of takes a cue from her elder brother and tells us which direction to push the cart! They hold on to that precious packet of Oreo cookies as if it's the last packet on the face of this planet! I cannot blame them, I rarely buy packaged stuff for them due to the long list of ingredients that goes into making most of them.
Oreo Truffle
These Oreo truffles are delectable little bites of heaven! I have to admit that I have lost my sweet tooth off late which  I am extremely happy about but that doesn't really stop me from enjoying these treats once a year. They are so easy to make and looks very pretty when served on a platter. This is a simple recipe that you can make along with your kids. To make your life easier, use a 1 tablespoon measure cookie scoop, if you have one. I use them and it makes the process really fast! You can decorate these Oreo Truffles with sprinkles, dragees, chopped toasted nuts or even drizzle them with chocolate. I have been seeing a whole lot of different ideas like making an Ornament, a Snowman, a Reindeer etc using these as a base on the internet.
Oreo Truffle

Oreo Truffle Makes 25-30 pieces

400 grams Oreo cookies
225 grams cream cheese, at room temperature

450 grams almond bark / compound chocolate of your choice

Method: Blitz the cookies to a fine powder along with the cream. Dump the powdered cookies into a large bowl,add the cream cheese to it and mix well to combine. You can use a food processor or a hand mixer for it.
Form them into 1 tablespoon sized little balls and freeze for 25-30 minutes.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the coating chocolate as mentioned on the package and dip the frozen cookie balls in it one at a time with the help of a fork. Place the dipped cookie balls carefully over the parchment paper, sprinkle with toppings if needed and let them chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Once set, transfer to a container and store in the fridge until needed. Serve cold.

If you want to drizzle melted chocolate over it, do so once the dipped truffles are fully set.
I like to use white chocolate for dipping the truffles, not only for the taste but for the contrast in colours especially when bitten into.

Oreo Truffle
I wish I could pinpoint a source that I got this recipe from, it's pretty much all over the internet. When I first made them, I followed a recipe I found online but this year I went with my own proportion of what I thought would be right. I didn't want to have extra cookies lying around the house. The Oreo packages we get here are pretty big in size, so use one packet that weighs 400 grams. I've used the regular kind here, not the double stuff. I feel that might make the truffles a bit too soft with the extra filling inside the cookie.

Do give this recipe a try this year. I am sure your kids would give you an extra hug for it...I am talking from experience! ;-)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Nadan Kozhi Peralan
I've been busy as a bee for the past couple weeks with all the get togethers that we've been hosting. Now that we are done with all of it, I feel like I have all the time in the World! So naturally,my first thing to do would be to come here and take a sneak peak as to what's going on. I actually had taken these photographs a few week ago to share them here but got the time for it just this morning. Once I am done with this post, I need to start packing for our upcoming vacation that we have been planning for almost a year now. Minneapolis is so cold right now so I am happily looking forward to that warm destination!
Nadan Kozhi Peralan
This is a life-saver of a curry. I've made this countless number of  times in the past and it turns out perfect each time. This recipe is from a cookbook 'Suriani Pachakam' by Mrs. Bava Lukose. I love this cookbook because whatever I've made from it over the last few years have been delicious! Bava aunty and I have exchanged many emails and even know many common people in between. Amma has met her twice or thrice already...I wonder when I will get to meet her finally!
Nadan Kozhi Peralan
It's such a quick curry to put together and goes with pretty much with everything that you can think of! I mean, chicken curry is something I like to pair with most things. Whenever a chicken curry is made at ours, it kind of gets over the same day unless I portion out some and keep it aside before it's served. Usually, that happens over a weekend when there's a movie being played on the TV and a glass of wine in hand. We rarely watch TV shows nor movies on a regular basis, it's just a weekend thing for us. I somehow don't get the time to sit in front of it to catch up on all the latest stuff, not even Food Network these days. I am also not willing to compromise on my sleep either! :-)

Nadan Kozhi Peralan Serves 5-6

1 kilograms chicken, cut into medium pieces
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup sliced onions
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 sprigs curry leaves

2 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed powder
8 green cardamoms
4 cloves
1/4 cup sliced pearl onions
2 tablespoons garlic
1 tablespoon ginger

Method: Grind together all the ingredients from coriander through ginger to a smooth paste.
Heat oil in a large pan on medium high heat and sauté the onions until soft. Add the ground paste and sauté well for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken, curry leaves, vinegar and salt. Mix well and add 1 cup water. Cover and cook until the chicken is fully cooked and the gravy is thick. Serve hot!

The last time I made this curry, I served it alongside Chapatis. We enjoy that combination a lot and it reminded me of an incident when I was a 5 year old. I clearly remember Amma had served me something to eat for breakfast, which I now think was Dosa & Chammanthi and I refused to eat it. She tried to convince me but since I didn't budge, she told me that I will not be given anything else to eat for breakfast until I eat a bite of that. I remember crying my eyes out and that's when Mamma came home. I ran to her to complain that Amma didn't give me anything to eat. I was so excited when Mamma asked Amma to feed me something else.

Then Amma served me a plate of Chapati and Beef curry with potatoes in it. I fell in love and I am still in love with Chapathi and any non vegetarian curry! That combination is amazing!

Monday, November 18, 2019


Garlic Parmesan Pasta2
Ihave lost count of the number of times I've made this recipe in the last one year. It is such a favorite amongst us and I even made it this time when I went home. Our little ones love pasta and even we enjoy it when made well. There are somedays when Ian & Zara asks me to make this particular dish. They both LOVE mushrooms so much that I think they sometimes eat this just for the yummy mushrooms that goes into this dish. It's very easy dish to make and they make great leftovers too!
Garlic Parmesan Pasta 3
You just need a few ingredients and by that I mean, pretty rich and tasty ingredients to pull this together. I made this for our annual Christmas party last year for the kids because most kids that we hang around with love pasta. And I still continue to make this very frequently for my own. Ian loves it so much that he asks me often if I've noted down the recipe somewhere so that he can recreate it when he grows bigger. Zara makes sure that there's enough of mushrooms in the bowl of pasta that I give her.
Garlic Parmesan Pasta
Growing up, I disliked everything about mushrooms. I think it was because of the way it was made...in it's whole form. I like them sliced thinly and sautéed in some butter or olive oil along with some salt and pepper until they reduce in size and turn brown in colour. That flavor is SO good! Now, whenever we go out and if I am ever in doubt of what to order...if there are mushrooms on the menu, then there's no looking back! I love adding them even to my Risotto, which is another much loved dish by the children. I found this recipe on Alyssa's blog and decided to toss some pasta along with it . Best decision ever!
Serves 4

Garlic Parmesan Pasta 1
4 boneless skinless chicken breast / thighs, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & Pepper
8 ounces white / baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced

Creamy Garlic Parmesan sauce:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 cup spinach, chopped
8 ounces pasta of your choice, cooked al dente*

Method: In a bowl,sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.In a large skillet on medium high heat, heat olive oil and cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown on the outside. Remove onto a plate and set aside.Into the same pan, add the sliced mushrooms and saute well adding a pinch of salt and pepper till it reduces in size and turns brown. Remove onto a plate and set aside.

To make the sauce, add the butter to a pan on medium heat and when it melts, add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the flour and mix well to cook for another 30 seconds. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook stirring till it begins to thicken. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts, 30 seconds.
Add the cooked pasta, reserved chicken & mushrooms and toss well to mix. Serve hot!

* Reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water, incase you need to thin out the sauce later.
For this recipe, you can use bottled grated Parmesan cheese or you can grate your own. It doesn't make that big of a difference. I've tried them both since I've made this dish way too many times already! I always use homemade chicken stock because it's pretty much a staple in our fridge. You can use storebought as well. I haven't tried substituting it .You can serve the chicken not just with pasta but alongside buttered rice, toasted bread, mashed potatoes etc. I started with pasta and it's stuck with pasta forever I guess! ;-) I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as we do!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


I've been baking a very similar cake for over 8 years now and we love it! I got that recipe from my cousin Roshini a long long time ago. After she got married, they moved to Australia, the place where this cake is the most popular. Roshini used to tell me via our chats that she tried a new recipe for the same and it was even better than the one she had shared with me many years ago.Somehow, I never got hold of that  'new' recipe from her. Years passed by and we both barely get any free time to chat about our new recipes and what we have been writing down in our recipe diaries. She has two little ones and so do I, so that's pretty self explanatory! :-)
Last weekend, we had a lovely newly wed couple over for dinner. I usually start any party prep by making the dessert first because it somehow sets the tone of the party right. But last Saturday was a super busy one for us and by the time we were home, it was around 5:00 pm. I still hadn't made the dessert! So I quickly glanced through my cookbooks in our home library and came upon this beautiful recipe for a Sticky Date Toffee Cake by Marcy Goldman. Her book Passion For Baking is truly a treasure for any baker!

This recipe can be made in no time at all, provided you have the ingredients on hand, especially dates. Since this cake can be served warm, it is perfect to make it at the last minute. It can be made extra special if you can have a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside the cake. I love the hot and cold combination, it never gets old for me. Plus,this cakes makes for a great Fall & Winter dessert! One of the first recipes I've tasted from Marcy's book was the first every cake Jobin baked for my birthday in 2010 - Finnegan's Chocolate Cream Cake. You should check that out if you are looking for a good birthday cake.
STP 5 Makes 12-14 servings

1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 1/2 cups water
4 teaspoons pure vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter,softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Hot Toffee Sauce
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

In a medium saucepan, simmer dates in water and vanilla until they are soft and mushy. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Let it cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a 9 inch round cake tin.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and both sugars along with orange zest until fluffy. Blend in the eggs one by one and then fold in flour, baking powder and salt. Blend well. Add dates and mix well to combine. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake until just set, 40-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by simmering together brown sugar, cream and butter for 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
When the cake is done, poke holes all over with it a skewer and then drizzle the sauce onto the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
The aroma that fills your home while baking this cake is something that you should experience. It's fantastic! The batter bakes up into a moist, soft cake and the orange zest adds such a lovely touch to the overall taste of it. Ian kept hovering around our oven asking when the cake was going to be ready. I wasn't sure if I should let him know that there were dates in the cake because it's one of the very few things he has kept aside to eat when he grows bigger! ;-)
I find it hard to not tell the kids what I am serving them because I would personally like to know what's on my plate. So I told him about the dates and as always, he said he will try it. And guess what..he couldn't stop himself from finishing the slice I had served him! The next day, he woke up whispering into my ears asking if he could eat one more slice after breakfast!! It's THAT good! :-)
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