Ria's Collection: April 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013


Iam a person who likes to do things from scratch, especially cooking and baking. So if I have to deal with an ice cream machine to churn out some good ice cream, I think of the days I will have to face in India when I feel like making one. Same is the case with puff pastry sheets! I feel the need to make my own, thinking about the days back home. You can call me a bit obsessed...about thinking too much :)

So the other day, I bought a can of deliciousness. Sweetened Condensed Milk. I love that stuff and I remember eating a bowl full of it when I was little.Of course, I felt sick after that . I do the same even now. No, I don't eat bowl full of it, instead lick the tin clean, once the contents are poured out. And yes, I still feel sick because it can be a little too much. So I pick up my mango pickle and eat that. Then everything seems to find it's own balance.

I love reading the things written on food containers. The tin told me that it had some recipe behind it's wrapper and it did have one, this recipe. A recipe for a quick and easy ice cream. I wasn't very sure about the flavour combination it had so used my favourite choice of flavouring, Vanilla. I always use the real vanilla and stay away from imitation stuff because the real thing has so much flavour and the way it shines through the end product is amazing! Try it sometime. You will be amazed!

This ice cream, like I mentioned before has just 2 ingredients. That is if you don't count the flavouring as another ingredient.Then it becomes three.Whatever the name maybe, the method of making this ice cream and the time needed is hardly any! Of course, it needs some good time in the freezer to set up though. You can flavour it however you like. Cookie dough? Rippled Chocolate? Oreos? M & M's? You can use this for sandwiching cookies for making your own homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches! The possibilites are endless. You just have to start making it. Here's the recipe,for it.
2 cups heavy cream,chilled
1 tin (400g ) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or any of your choice)

Method: In a large bowl, beat the chilled cream to stiff peaks. Fold in condensed milk and vanilla. Pour the entire batter into a 1 litre capacity bowl with lid and freeze for 6-8 hours until set. Enjoy!

It was surprisingly warm today, in Minneapolis. I hope we are done with the snow for this year. So when I tried photographing the ice cream, everything was melting really fast. I think I managed to do a good job and got some photographs before it became really soft.

So that day, when Jobin came home after work, I thought of taste testing it. I gave him a scoop of it and he was quite surprised. After relishing it he asked me if it was homemade and even before I could say anything he said,'Of course, it has to be!'. That's my husband. Now,our son.He was sitting on his Appa's lap and watching the whole thing...with his mouth very wide open, almost drooling. He got his share and demanded more. Since I made it at home, I knew exactly what went into it and how safe it was for my little Vaava to have it. So he still gets his share everytime after his meal and he enjoys it to the last drop!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Baby Shower Cake
Iam so happy to have made this cake because this was for our very good friend, D, for her baby shower.When I was pregnant,4 of my other very good friends from Minneapolis were pregnant too! It was so much fun discussing all the little things that mattered the most to the pregnant women and funnily not that much for others, especially for those who haven't had babies yet. D,has cooked many many Biriyani's for me and every time I felt like baby shopping, we would get together and hit the malls. Not to mention, accompanying me to the French Bakery at the mall to quickly eat a small Opera Cake!
Whenever we meet up, I tell Ian Vaava that Aunt D, was the one who cooked Biriyani's for him when he was busy eating inside my womb.
Baby Shower Cake
I wanted this cake to be as perfect as I could make it. D, loves crafts and stitches up quite a few stuff too! She made a cute little blue cap for Ian Vaava for my baby shower and that was what he wore when we brought him home, from the hospital. I wanted the cake to reflect what she loved doing,so keeping that in mind, I made something which kind of looked like an embroidery,to me. The baby carriage had a little bit of detailing around it's canopy, like a lace. Everything was handmade and I am so happy,really happy that I could pull it off ,for D.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Homemade Kerala Porotta Porotta! Do I have to give an introduction for this flaky flatbread? I think most of you must have eaten it, if not, you really should! I never knew what it was,rather how it would feel not to have a restaurant ,where you live, which sells a good Kerala Porotta until I moved to the United States. We tried out frozen parathas which looked like the Malabar/Kerala Porotta types but they were all really sad! I wonder where they get their customers from if they sold such oily, sad stuff laden with calories!

Homemade Kerala Porotta
Our hunt continued because I didn't want to give it a try at home,yet. We landed in a pretty popular Indian restaurant here in Minneapolis since we heard that they had Porotta's on the menu. I ordered that along with a Keralan Chicken Curry. They were terrible, really horrible! Do you know why? They just barely heated up yet another frozen paratha and served it to us in the name of this wonderful Porotta! It was still cold...well, almost frozen! We rarely go to that place again!

Homemade Kerala Porotta
Then one fine glorious day, our friends told us that Trader Joe's have started selling Malabar Porottas. That was the best we ever had outside Kerala. It was awesome and had just one fourth the calories compared to the other terrible ones! The TJ's Porottas filled our freezer for the past 1.5 years. So one day, when the stock got over, we went to TJ's to stock up and that's when we found out the most horrible thing ever...they discontinued it! Our friends were in shock! Imagine e-mails flying across with the subject 'Kerala Porotta'! All of us grieved over it.I was really sad, so was Jobin. Our freezer looked empty. We couldn't accept the fact that it was no longer available. I told Amma about it  and even she grieved along with us! See, we grieve over food ;-)

Homemade Kerala Porotta
That was the beginning of my hunt for the perfect homemade ones. Amma's twin, Daisy Mummy was the Porotta maker in our family. She makes really good ones because her boys are big fans of it. I very clearly remember the steps involved in it and thought of trying it out ...and here they are in front of you :-)  A precaution, you really need to be liberal with oil for this recipe. The more, the better!

Homemade Kerala Porotta My own recipe
Makes 8

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Scant 1 cup water

Method: In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and form a smooth dough. Knead for 2-3 mins until it is really smooth,soft ,shiny and not sticky at all. It should be a soft dough and not a stiff one, just keep that in mind. Cling wrap the dough and let it rest for 4 hours. Afterwards, divide them into 8 balls and roll it out as shown below:

Roll out each ball into 6-7 inch discs and cook on a flat hot pan,smearing more oil on either sides as you flip and cook. When done, stack 4 together and bash it up from the sides using your curled fist,to separate the layers. Serve as hot as you can!
Now that I have this recipe with me, I don't have to freeze and bring porotta's from Kannur anymore! I thoroughly enjoyed making this and Jobin absolutely loved eating it. Ian Vaava liked it too because he came back for his little share every time I offered him a piece of this homemade Kerala Porotta. So, there's a small Porotta lover growing up in our house :-) I sincerely hope, this ends your search for that perfect Porotta recipe. I know many of you have requested for this recipe, so here it is, for you ! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Just when I thought I found a delicious pizza crust made using my favourite Cauliflower, I found another one! This is made using just 2 ingredients, yes just t-w-o ingredients. How cool is that? That's exactly what I thought too,when I stumbled upon quite a few similar recipes on the big web.I did have my doubts of this recipe working but when I really thought about what went into it, it did make sense to me.

So where's the yeast? Hmm,there's no yeast in this recipe. So, the leavening comes from the baking powder that's present in the flour. The other ingredient is yogurt. The original recipe called for Greek yogurt but I never buy it as I find it too thick for my purpose. I eat yogurt with rice,add it to curries,to my biriyani masala etc. For that I require a slightly more watery yogurt which is our regular homemade types.

Since the original recipe called for Greek yogurt and wanting to make use of the available yogurt, I just took a little more than what was needed and hung it using a cheesecloth for 20 minutes. If you actually don't calculate the time needed for getting the yogurt ready,like in my case, you can pull this off in less than half an hour!

There's one more good thing about this crust. It needs absolutely no kneading or proving. Isn't that a blessing? For me, a big YES! since I feel like eating all these kind of things at the most odd hours possible! I topped it with some tomato-basil marinara,oven roasted garlic-red onions-red bell pepper trio,hot Italian sausage and a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.It made one big yummy pizza for us to relish!

YOGURT PIZZA DOUGH Makes one thick 8 inch pizza base

1 1/2 to 2 cups self rising flour
1 cup Greek Yogurt OR 1 almost overflowing cup of regular yogurt,hung in a cheesecloth for 20 mins.

Method:In a medium bowl,mix together the two ingredients and form a smooth,soft,non-sticky dough. You may or maynot need more flour depending on how you measure both the ingredients. The pizza dough is ready. Use it just as you would, with your regular pizza dough. I baked mine for 12 minutes at 500 F on my cast iron pan which was dusted liberally with semolina.
When I started out with this recipe, Ian Vaava was fast asleep. I was just hoping he would sleep till I put everything into the oven because I needed to work with my super hot cast iron skillet for the pizza. Well, he woke up as soon I finished thinking about it :-) I put him on his almost 52 year old wooden high chair while he watched his Amma make pizza for the 3 of us.I couldn't wait to see how this would turn out. My heart told me it would be just fine and it was! I couldn't wait until Jobin came home from work, so I sliced it up and shared it with Ian Vaava and not to forget, take photographs to share with you all. We really liked it. I hope you guys try this out. It's awesome , easy and very quick too!I will not be surprised if you tell me it's the easiest pizza dough ever! :)

Monday, April 1, 2013


I've never enjoyed Easter as much as I enjoyed yesterday. Do you know why?It's because it was our Little Boy's first Easter. did everything I could to make it perfect for him. I know, I know,a baby need not understand all of that but as a mother I think he knows and understands what we do with love, for him.Anyhow, it was a day of special's for him...starting from breakfast!
We had Appam and Chicken Stew for breakfast and it was the first time that he had a share of the real chicken.He is a big time foodie,so he did get his share of chicken in the form of soup a while ago. But this was new for him and he seemed to have really enjoyed it.And I enjoyed my breakfast enjoying the way he was relishing his little meal.

We had a get together on Easter Eve in our house for our friends. I started planning it as a party where I would cook everything but our friend's wanted to bring something over, so I gave the appetizers to them and cooked the rest of the meal by myself.I planned for almost a week as to what the menu should be,see,it's my Little Man's first Easter! There was Chicken & Bacon Bruschetta,Spiced Drumsticks,Baked Orange Ham,Green Beans in Chicken Broth,Scalloped Potatoes,American Biscuits -Gravy & a delicious Carrot-Pineapple Cake for dessert.The whole meal can be summed up in just one word - Delicious!

I made these Easter eggs for him,just for him to experience the fun of holding and feeling it.He absolutely loved the plastic eggs that I used as moulds for moulding these Easter eggs.I also hid some M&M's inside the eggs which would also act as a rattle if he shook it.I am so glad I found this recipe!

COLOURFUL EASTER EGGS Makes 8 large eggs

3 tablespoon unsalted butter
16oz bag mini marshmallows
6 cups rice krispies

Method: In a large non stick pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the marshamallows and still till they are completely melted. Add the rice krispies and switch off the heat. Stir well to mix.
Spray some oil inside the plastic eggs and oil your hands really well. Now,stuff each halves with the rice krispie mixture.Make a small well in the centre of each halves and place 2 candies in it and squish close the 2 halves together.Open the moulds and release the fresh eggs. Roll them in sprinkles if you like.
I wanted to post this before Easter so that if any of you were planning for it , you would have been able to make these even at the last minute. But I was so lost in the kitchen scrubbing potatoes and baking that delicious ham. Jobin did remind me once in a while about it but it had to happen post Easter :-)

Oh yes! For all those who are reading this section of my post just to know what Ian Vaava has been upto...well, he is now very fond of wires,phone chargers to laptop chargers to our lamps. He has started to crawl and it's quite funny how he crawls into the kitchen to find me when he needs me. That makes me so happy no matter what state I am in, in the kitchen ;-)

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