Ria's Collection: September 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010


o it's officially Fall /Autumn here. We have been having heavy rains and very very wild windy days. I sometimes feel that I might get blown away with it whenever I stand on our balcony. These things have made my 'photography' session very difficult. I somehow find time in between my cooking to take some pictures and when I come out it is so windy that everything flies away...

I juggle between holding the placemat/napkin,my reflector,camera and myself in place. And in between my hair had to fly in the wind and fall all over my face! Stupid thing! :-P Today it was real bad after which I emailed Jobin saying ' I might end up in hospital with a back pain if you don't do anything about it!' . Poor thing! What can he possibly do :-) That's okay, I just took my irritation out on him :-D

When he gets back home and see that I made 'Vindaloo', he will be very happy :-) This dish makes both of us very happy and can eat a full bowl of it.

Vindaloo is a dish originally from Goa. The term Vindaloo derives from the Portuguese dish ' Carne de Vinha d' Alhos ' which is a dish of meat, usually pork, with wine and garlic. The dish evolved into the vindaloo curry dish when it recieved the Goan treatment of adding plentiful amounts of traditional spice and using malt vingear instead of red wine. ( Source: Wikipedia)

One of my reader's Maya, requested for this recipe a few weeks ago. This one is for you Maya! So just in case you have some request, do not hesitate to contact me.

Recipe source: Amma

Pork- 2 lbs/1 kg approx. cut into 1" cubes (try with medium fat pork and not fatless)
Onions- 2, medium
Red Chili powder-1 tbsp
Coriander powder-1 tbsp
Vindaloo Masala * recipe given below
Oil-1/4 cup
Salt to taste

*Vindaloo masala:
Cardamom-5 no.
Cloves-5 no.
Cinnamon- 5 x 1" sticks
Fennel seeds/Saunf/Perumjeerakam- 1tsp
Black Peppercorns-1 tsp
Mustard seeds-2 tbsp
Ginger- 2" piece
Garlic- 8 cloves
Vinegar-1/4 cup


  • Soak the vindaloo masala in vinegar and leave aside for 1 hour.
  • Grind it to a coarse paste . Do not add water or anyother liquid, vinegar will help in grinding.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker( heavy bottomed vessel). 
  • When the oil is hot, add in the ground Vindaloo Masala.
  • Saute the masala till you get a very nice aroma ( take it in, it smells very good!).This masala has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, so scrape the pan occasionally.
  • Add in the onions and saute till they are softened.
  • Add in the powders and salt and mix well for 2 mins.
  • Add in the meat, mix well, close the lid and cook under pressure for 2 whistles.
  • Once the pressure has dropped down and the steam has completely come off, open the cooker. You will see that there is some gravy/sauce in it.
  • You need to reduce the gravy till the oil starts to separate.Make sure you stir it well, every now and then.When you taste test, if you feel there is a need for more vinegar, add it. But always start with ONLY 1/4 cup.
  • We like it  dry, so that the masala is very well coated on the pieces.

Whenever Amma made this curry at home, I used to feel that it takes years to perfect this dish. But I was wrong...It is definitely an easy one to perfect! Just follow the recipe as is and you just cannot go wrong! Serve it to anyone and be ready to be floored with compliments.

Serve it along with Naan, Batura,Poori, Chapathi,Basmathi Rice, Ghee rice...or even just with some plain rice and curd.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


emember that I made some Dahi Vada's a few days ago? No? Okay, I made some Dahi Vada's a few days ago and I wanted to make some real doughnut shaped vadas for it. But again, who would see what's beneath the yogurt sauce? It would be just me since I am making them...and yes, Jobin too as he was poking around the kitchen because it was very tempting! Other than that,no one ever saw anything.

Yesterday,we had the real doughnut shaped vadas for brekky...with some Onion Chutney. They were very good. This was the first time that I am trying my hand at making them. It came out pretty fine, so I thought I'd share the making of it with you all. I know, I know, many of you must have mastered the art but I bet there will be are many like me who wants to know how :-)

Get the batter ready. You can see my recipe here.

Wet your palm and fingers and grab a small ball of the batter/dough and make a smooth ball out of it.

Flatten them using your fingers into a nice smooth circle.

Poke a hole in the centre of it using your pointer /middle finger.

Then it should look like this.

Drop them into hot oil (350F) so that they sizzle and get fried.If you think the outside is getting browned very fast, reduce the flame and fry them.

Once fried to a nice golden brown colour, lift them out using a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil.Transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen towel .Serve them hot with Onion chutney!

Verdict: A crunch with every bite!

Monday, September 20, 2010


The first time I ever had a bite of this must have been when I was 6 or 7 years old. It was from our neighbour's house, a neighbour whose face I don't even remember of. Not that I have a bad memory , it's just because I never went to their house again nor saw them elsewhere.They moved from the neighbourhood very soon.

But, I remember that cold Vada dish very well :-) I loved it. I know Amma adores it as it is one thing she always ordered whenever we went outside Kerala. Oh well, the Dahi Vada's that we have had in Kerala always turned out to be a very 'sour' experience.

It looks and maybe sounds complicated too, but it is one of the simplest thing that comes with a 'complicated' tag and a high appeal. Now did I just confuse you? O, maybe it's the weather that we have now. It is so foggy today.

So, I made this for our Saturday Brunch. We usually wake up late on Saturday mornings and it is too late to have brekky and too early for lunch...but we both will be so hungry that we can cut up each other and stick a fork in it , play a movie and munch. I hate cooking on such mornings because I'd be doing everything in a hurry and he will be hungry and so will I be. And whatever I do then...takes forever to cook.

But last saturday, we both woke up extra late and we weren't hungry...yes not at all! So I had plenty of time to do all what I wanted to which included the chilling time for the dish and even clicking pics!

My own recipe

For the vada/croquettes
Whole Urad - 1 c [Also known as 'Uzhunnu'--the lentil we use for dosa and idli]
Water- 1/2 c
Salt -to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp)
Green chillies- 6-7
Rice flour- 5-6 tsp
Oil- for deep frying

For soaking:
Warm water - 4 c
Salt - to taste (optional)

For the dahi/Yogurt sauce:
Thick yogurt- 2 c
Water *- 1/2 c
Salt-to taste
Sugar- to taste

For garnishing:
Homemade Tamarind chutney- 4 tbsp (optional)
Red chilli powder/ Paprika- 1 tsp
Coriander powder-1 tsp
Cumin powder-1 tsp
Cilantro/Coriander leaves- 4 stalks, chopped fine.

For the vada/croquettes:

  • Wash the urad 3-4 times until the water is clear.
  • Soak the whole urad for 4-5 hours or overnight. In the morning, drain the excess water.
  • Grind it to a thick smooth paste along with 1/2 cup of water, salt and green chillies.
  • We need a real thick batter, thicker than cake batter. Basically it should be scoop-able and shape-able.
  • Add the rice flour to achieve that consistency. Rice flour also adds a crunch to the vadas when fried.
  • Heat oil on medium high for 3-4 minutes. Once it is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
  • Scoop out some batter using a spoon and drop it . Deep fry them till golden brown.Each batch will take 4-5 mins.
  • Drain the excess oil on a tissue paper.
  • Soak them in water +salt (add only if you need more salt for the vadas) for 2-3 mins and squeeze out the excess water.
  • Arrange them in a big serving bowl. Keep aside.
For the Yogurt sauce:

  • If your yogurt is thick, add water and whisk till smooth. Add salt & sugar to taste.
  • If your yogurt is loose, do not add excess water. Just add salt & sugar to taste.
  • Pour over the arranged vadas.


  • Sprinkle red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder over the dahi.
  • Drizzle few tablespoonfull of homemade tamarind chutney over it.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve chilled!

I never knew I would get it right at the very first trial! It was really delicious. The yogurt sauce was perfectly seasoned with the spices and tamarind chutney.
We both loved it. I licked the bowl clean! We served it to some of our friends too...and even they loved it. I can now proudly say that I have one more 'perfected' dish to add to my list :-)

This is an excellent make ahead dish can be served anytime! But make sure you serve it chilled! Do try it and let me know!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Trust me, I am in no mood to talk today. I think I have a spoken enough for the rest of my lifetime already! Jobin says I talk less these days ,when I feel I kill him with my non-stop nonsense banter (do couples always think opposite? ) He says I have become funnier after our wedding, when I think I have become boring day by day (so couples do think opposite, 100% sure!)

Now don't ask me what is the connection between my talks and this sweet. Absolutely nothing.This is how I am when I am in no mood to talk. I talk about things which has no connection between them. I get so bored talking about one thing at a time and Jobin gets so confused switching between topics at the same speed that I switch topics. 

Let me let you in on a big secret. I speak Malayalam way way way too better than Jobin. He will never agree to this, though. If he happens to read this post ( I am sure he will) , he will ask me to speak in Hindi (Uh-oh!).
Anyway, let's get back to the ladoos. This is a 3 ingredients, ghee-less, guilt - free ladoo than most of the ladoo's around. Try it and you won't be disappointed.

Recipe source: Anushruti RK

Roasted unsalted Peanuts without skin- 2c
Jaggery-3/4 c, powdered (You can find it in Indian grocery stores ]
Cardamom-4,seeds powdered and pods discarded.

For all those who have only raw peanuts with you, like me:
  • Heat a flat bottomed pan.Add in the peanuts (skin on) and roast for 5-6 mins or till you get a nice aroma . Is still in doubt, bite into one and if you get the roasted taste, switch of the flame.
  • Take the pan off the fire and transfer the peanuts onto a kitchen towel.
  • While it is still warm, rub the peanuts together using the help of the towel. The skin will come off easily. 
  • Use these peanuts for making ladoo's.
For making these round beauties you need to:
  • Powder the roasted peanuts in your mixie/magic bullet (small jar & 4 blade bottom) stopping every once in a while to ensure that it doesn't turn pasty.Nuts release oil when they are ground, so be careful.
  • Transfer this to a bowl and add the powdered jaggery and cardamom seeds to it.
  • Mix very well, if you have lumps in the jaggery, mash the mixture with a potato masher. I skipped it because I love biting into jaggery pieces.
  • Form the mixture into ladoos. You will need to use little bit of strength here to form them into balls as you don't any wet ingredient. But trust me, it's easy.
  • The peanuts must be warm while grinding so that the mixture remains warm when you form the balls, or else it will be slightly difficult. Just in case your mixture turns cold, like mine, microwave it for 10 secs and proceed to form the ladoos.

 For all those who love the ultimate combination of peanut and jaggery, go for it. I thought it would taste like 'kadala muttai' or 'peanut chikki' . Not exactly. It has it's own magic of lending a different flavour altogether.

A very appealing, easy to put-together recipe for all occasions. Jobin & I loved it and I had a tough time keeping some aside so that I could take pictures of it.

 I am sending this post as an entry to Sugar High Fridays : Bite sized desserts hosted by the lovely Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

TRIED & TASTED September 2010

As mentioned in the previous post,I am the host for Tried & Tested for the month of September 2010. Blog of the month is Alka's Sindi Rasoi.

The rules are simple:

  • Cook any recipe(s) from Blog of the month and post about it. Stay as true to the original recipe(s) as possible. Therefore, there is no need for re-posting it, simply link to the original post :-) There is no time-frame for the original recipe. It can be as old as my grand-mother or as fresh as a mung bean sprout.
  • Have you cooked from Blog of the month before? As this event is all about tasting and reflecting on the taste, older posts are also welcome. Simply link to this post and mention T&T event.
  • Link your post to Ria's Collection and to the original post on Lakshmi's blog. Please always link to both sites, so both blogs are given credit and you are avoiding copyright fuss.
  • Send your entries to airmathew AT gmail DOT com with the following details: subject as T&T, with your nameyour post URL as well as the original URL and a picture (300px by height, please).
  • Deadline is the 10th of October and the round up will be posted within a week.
  • Non-bloggers are more than welcome to participate (after all, our posts are mainly being written for them). Simply e-mail me with your experience of what you cooked and please include a picture.

The logo was designed for us by Ksenia .Thank you so much, Ksenia! Kindly use them in your posts. 

Friday, September 10, 2010


Not that the summer has officially ended nor autumn/fall has officially begun, but it already feels cold and my favourite green jacket is out, but I am still in a mood for one of my summer favourite childhood snack.Indian stores here still sell raw mangoes and I couldn't keep my hands off them.

<<< Rewind <<<<
Characters: Tia & Ria

We are first cousins and used to be stuck together ALL the time. She is my bestest cousin and still is and will always be.Period. When I had to decide upon my bridesmaids, I didn't have to think about her, because she was there and will be there...or else I'll be dead!

Our summer in Pallikuttumma was always fun-filled, laughter-filled, care free days[How can I forget the million disturbed night's sleep that I have had with her. She used to sleep talk and walk around the room muttering all sort of possible stuff, some of which had a connection to the previous days activities and most of them have no connection with anything.By the way, if you think she has grown out of it, well, no!] .We had almost 4-5 varieties of mango trees around the house and they yielded mangoes throughout the year. Our main job during the holidays was to eat them, both raw and ripe. Ripe ones were eaten without guilt (the word calorie never existed for us then!) in it's pure form. Pure form in the sense, we just eat them like all our ancestors did long long ago :-)

We used to grab a mango rather mangoes one after another from beneath our uncle's bed (that's where all the ripe mangoes were stored) and not to mention, take in all of the ripe mangoe's smell hovering in the room and run outside and 'plop' ourselves on the hammock tied between a guava and a mango tree. Then, we used to bite into the mango right through it's yellowish orange skin , spit out the skin and eat the flesh. The mangoes were so juicy that the juice would have been running all the way till our elbows. After that mango is over, I used to lick my fingers, palm and all the way up to my elbow making sure that I don't waste a bit of it's juice.  I never (then) knew why it's tasted salty and muddy towards my elbow :-)

Then it was our turn to attack the green mangoes.Maybe Tia did notice my love for food and cooking, she would always give me the turn or rather always asked me to do it. So between us, it was always me who used to chop the mangoes (in no particular shape) add a dash of hot red chilli powder , a generous helping of salt (Oh! I love salt! Especially drinking salt solution!) and a few tablespoons of my favourite favourite wonderful coconut oil! Then I mix it all up with a spoon and run outside towards the hammock with the bowl carefully nestling in my hands . Then we forget all the fights that we had over sharing my 'never ending' barbie doll collection, or over our cooking set or even somebody else's playing cards and just enjoy the sweetness , sourness and everything in between mixed with saltiness and the spice.

After eating a bowlful of that ,our teeth, especially mine, would be so tart  that if I try rubbing my teeth together,I used to get a shiver/shock...a dirty one all over my body,the same type Whoopie Goldberg gives you in Sister Act.I knew it would happen, but eating the raw mangoes were worth it!

Now we both are continents and oceans which separates them apart, but, everytime I eat the raw mangoes, I think of you :-)


>>>> Fast Forward >>>>

I am the host for Tried & Tested for the month of September. Blog of the month is Alka's Sindi Rasoi.

The rules are simple:

  • Cook any recipe(s) from Blog of the month and post about it. Stay as true to the original recipe(s) as possible. Therefore, there is no need for re-posting it, simply link to the original post :-) There is no time-frame for the original recipe. It can be as old as my grand-mother or as fresh as a mung bean sprout.
  • Have you cooked from Blog of the month before? As this event is all about tasting and reflecting on the taste, older posts are also welcome. Simply link to this post and mention T&T event.
  • Link your post to Ria's Collection and to the original post on Lakshmi's blog. Please always link to both sites, so both blogs are given credit and you are avoiding copyright fuss.
  • Send your entries to airmathew AT gmail DOT com with the following details: subject as T&T, with your name, your post URL as well as the original URL and a picture (300px by height, please).
  • Deadline is the 10th of October and the round up will be posted within a week.
  • Non-bloggers are more than welcome to participate (after all, our posts are mainly being written for them). Simply e-mail me with your experience of what you cooked and please include a picture.
I will upload the logo for the even as soon as possible. Please do check back and try to include them in your posts.Ksenia will be making the logo for us.Thank you so much, Ksenia!

    Friday, September 3, 2010


    I made this curry for our dinner last night. I didn't have any idea as to what to make. I knew I wanted something with an onion- tomato puree based, but what veggies should I add in it?
    I was talking with Jobin's mom over the phone while I was sauteeing the masala. And the conversation went like this:

    Mummy: So, what are you cooking today?
    Me: Curry, but I don't know what curry to make though I am sauteeing the masala now.
    Mummy: Don't you have chicken or something at home?
    Me: I do, but we had chicken curry 2 days ago :-(
    Mummy: Make an egg curry then!
    Me: Jobin had eggs for brekky already...so no more egg dosage ( though I'd love to! )
    Mummy: (smiles)
    Me: Sigh! Will do something.

    Whenever I am in confusion, I open my kitchen cabinet where I keep my veggies,dal etc and stare at it (sometimes play with my hair too), trying to make a decision. And I instantly found my answer! POTATOES! How could I forget about it?? They are our fave and used to be my saviour at all my ' I don't know what to make' situation. I have no idea how I could forget about it ! Maybe because it's a long weekend and I am super excited about our trip to Wisconsin! :)

    My own recipe and I am so proud of it :-)

    Potatoes- 2,large peeled and cubed
    Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
    Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
    Green chillies- 4, slit
    Dry red chillies- 2
    Red onion- 1, large (If you are in India or elsewhere, please use 2 large onions. We get coconut-sized onions here :D )
    Tomatoes- 2 large ( If you are in India or elsewhere, please use 3 medium sized tomatoes.)
    Water- 1/2 cup + 1 cup
    Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
    Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
    Red chilli powder- 1 tsp
    Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
    Salt- to taste
    Oil- 3 tsp
    Kasoori Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves- 1 tbsp

    Method: ( I cooked the curry on medium heat since it involved puree and I didn't want my kitchen to be splattered red and pink!)

    • Puree the onions and tomatoes together adding 1/2 cup of water.
    • Heat oil, add the mustard seeds and let it pop. Add the cumin seeds and let it crackle .
    • Add the green chillies and dry red chillies to it and fry for 10-15 secs.
    • Add the pureed mixture and mix well . Cover with a lid and cook for 15 mins stirring every now and then.
    • Add in the ginger garlic paste and mix well for a minute.
    • Add in the powders,salt , mix well , cover and cook for 3-4 mins.
    • Add in the potatoes, mix to coat ( by now the water must have all reduced).
    • Add in the remaining 1 cup of water and cook till the potatoes are fork- tender.
    • Crush the Kasoori Methi in your palm and add to the curry. Mix well.
    • If you want the curry to be rich and more like the makhani gravies,use ghee instead of oil in the beginning & add 1/2 cup of cream and 2 tbsp of unsalted butter toward the end. mix well and serve hot with roti's ,naan's etc.

    Nowadays curry making is like an art for me.Maybe I don't know what veggies should go into it, but I very clearly know how I want it to look and taste like. And when I achieve that, I am a very happy girl.

    When I set forward to make this curry, I had an imagination as to how I wanted it to turn out. I wanted it to have onion-tomato puree base with a hint of spices and I even knew how it wanted to smell. And trust me, I was able to get it into reality.
    This curry will make you lick your fingers clean, of course your plate too! It pairs very well with Basmathi rice or even Sona Masoori. I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with just rice and curry, so made some Chapathi's too, to go along with it.We did have a good meal!

    My two cents: This is not a curry which you can cook in less than 10 mins and such.It needs time as it involves puree. You really need to cook it well otherwise it will taste raw. So give time for it cook at each step.I learnt it the hard way and I used to blame myself saying ,'my veg curries never turn out good!' But now it does and I don't want you all to learn it that hard way! :)

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