Ria's Collection: February 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Boondi Ladoo

There was a time when I didn't know how to track the no. of visitors on my blog and there was a time I used to look forward to see that number increase.It gave me such joy that 1000's find my little bloggie useful in many ways! Most of you guys come here for recipes, some to ask me about crochet and other needlework and some of you just to read my 'stories' and take a peek at the photographs of what I post  randomly.
Boondi Ladoo

If you ask me what these 'stories' are, I wouldn't have known you read them as 'stories' until you all wrote to me. Funnily enough, I still don't consider them to be like that because I just write the association I have with that dish, from my real life :-)
Boondi Ladoo

When I got lazy in between, you all asked me to get back to this blog and start blogging again. I did and now I'm reaping the joys of it when this little space of mine has 10,00,000 hits as of today! It is a big achievement for me as I never even dreamt of this day when I started this space.

Now getting back to the ladoos, these are mine and Jobin's favourites! I've made them succesfully before, photographed them but it never made to my blog...I still wonder why! Maybe these ladoos had another destiny...to be here, on this special day :-) I dedicate these little yellow balls of pure joy to ALL OF YOU, dear readers! I wish I could share these with you in person...maybe someday it might happen! :-)

Recipe source: Manjula aunty

1c besan/chickpea flour
1/2 c plus 1 tbsp water
11/2 c sugar
1 c water
Seeds from 6 green cardamom pods,crushed
8 pcs of cashewnuts,broken
Oil for frying

Method:Make a batter using besan and 1/2 c plus 1 tbsp water. Pass it through a perforated/slotted spoon and see if you can get them to fall back into the bowl. If it doesn't, add a little more water to the batter and mix well.Bring the 1 1/2 c of sugar and 1 c water to a rolling boil and boil till it reaches 220F on a candy thermometer. Keep it off the flame. Meanwhile,heat 2 inches of oil on medium high and drop some chickepea batter into it and if it sizzles up right away, you are good to proceed. Hold the perforated spoon 2 inches above the oil and pour the batter through it.The batter will fall as round balls into the oil, which is what we want. Fry them till they stop sizzling and golden brown in colour.Repeat and make sure your wipe your perforated spoon in between all the batches.Add these fried boondi's to the sugar syrup and let them soak for 10 mins. Transfer the soaked boondi's to a plate to cool a little until they are still warm to touch. Form balls/ladoos by squeezing them in between your palms, it might test your patience but it's worth every squeeze!

After my Piano lessons last night, we went shopping to the Malayali store here and found some sweets stacked up in the cooler. I gazed at them for a while and in the meantime Jobin pinpointed his favourites and even I pinpointed mine and finally we both pinpointed at the Boondi ladoos together! I asked him if he wanted me to pick up a box and he said, 'No, I want the ones you make, I like them the best!'. Now, no matter what, I had to get that request fulfilled! :-)

Now,with my feet up on our Lazyboy, watching the snow fall and with the warm ladoos sitting next to me,I'm waiting for him to get back from work and start digging into these along with him. These laddoos doesn't stay long in our house, they are so yummy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Paniyaram & Chutney

Afew years ago,while still in college,my friends and I moved in as paying guests to a nearby home. They provided us with all the facilities one could wish for, which for me, was a well lit kitchen!We made plans of cooking all our meals there and once in a while dining out or buying 'tiffins' from the neighbour Aunty. Little did we know what was in store for us :-)

Paniyaram & Chutney

We cooked very very little and ate almost everyday from outside. The tiffin boy used to come by every morning to drop our 'dhabba' filled with food. I was raised in a very Malayali home in Kerala and was so not used to having a rice dish for breakfast. The tiffin aunty used to send us some sort of coloured rice dish (not idli/dosa) for breakfast. All those days, I would just eat a spoonful and then ask my friends if they wanted it. Everybody found it difficult to have rice the first thing in the morning!

Paniyaram & Chutney

Once in a while, she used to send us these round little balls with coconut chutney that we all adored! We used to do the guess work of what it was made off till we ate up the last one. I knew it was made using dosa batter but wasn't sure as I've never had that before. We used to wait for that day, not knowing which day, to have it again!
Paniyaram & Chutney

Later, I moved out from there because of various reasons and then moved in with my aunt and family and I must say, that was one of the smart moves that I made, in Bangalore! :-) They were living in my dad's apartment on Church Street, which is in the heart of the city! Everything was accessible except for auto's since they are not allowed on that street :-) More on my life in Church Street, for another yummy day!

Paniyaram & Chutney
My own recipe

For Paniyarams
2 1/2 c dosa batter
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
For tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole urad
1/4 onion, diced (If you are living in India, please use 1/2 onion)
3 green chilies, chopped fine
A few tbsps of oil

Method: Thaw your dosa batter, if it was kept in fridge.Add the chopped cilantro &salt to taste. In a small tempering pan, heat the oil and crackle mustard seeds. Add the whole urad and wait for it to turn golden brown, in colour. Add onions and saute till they are soft. Add the green chilies and saute for 30 secs. Add these to the dosa batter and mix well.
Take a paniyaram pan/unniappachatty and heat it on medium-high. Add a few drops of oil in each depression (I used the same oil which I used for tempering) and pour a tablespoon full of batter into each. Wait till the top is almost cooked and the sides turn golden brown. Turn them over with the help of a spoon or the wooden stick which came with the pan.Cook for another minute. Transfer the paniyarams to a casserole to keep them warm.

Paniyaram & ChutneyFor the coconut chutney
1 c grated coconut
3 dry red chilies
1/2 c water
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chilies
1 sprig curry leaves
Salt to taste
3 tbsp oil

Method: Grind together the coconut, dry red chilies and water. In a pan,heat 3 tbsp oil on medium. Add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Add the dry chilies and curry leaves.Immediately add the ground coconut paste to it.Add more water ,if needed. The chutney should never boil. So take it off the flame as soon as you see the vapor coming from it. Add salt to taste. Serve with Paniyarams/Dosa/Idli.

Paniyaram & Chutney

It was Ash Wednesday for us, yesterday,therefore we thought of having a light meal for dinner. So when Jobin left for his guitar classes, I was at home crocheting a new border and was wondering what to have for that 'light' dinner. I was not in a mood to cook so thought of doing something with the dosa batter I had and that's how these Paniyarams were born plus there were so many good memories associated with those little  round balls. When he got back from his classes, he said our house smelt really good. He really didn't know what was in store for him, to eat :-) As soon as he opened the casserole, he tilted his head , raised his eyebrows and stared at it. That's it...I started blabbering about my days as a paying guest and how we loved it. The dinner was over in a flash because these were supremely delicious! Guess what I did right after...I went and soaked the rice and dal to make another batch of dosa batter, not to make dosas but Paniyarams!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HEARTS & ROSES CAKE... as we turn 2!

Hearts & Roses

Time sure flies! We both observe a moment of silence when we think of how fast the time flew by! It's just because we both still cannot believe it's been 2 full years! I am sure every single one of you, who are happily married,feels the same.It's been a year since I found out a way of doing that checkerboard cake without adding another set of baking tins into my already bursting drawer.It's been a year since we went for a ride on a dog sleigh! Life's is beautiful!


Whenever I bake a cake for any personal occasions, I look forward to having a twist in it.If it was a checkerboard cake last time, it's something else this time. I am just loving how my brain can think and my heart wanting to do it even if I lose my sleep over such petty issues :-) Really! I go to sleep thinking of colours,combinations or even what platter I should place the cake on! Aren't these supposed to be the little things that we shouldn't be worrying upon? Actually, I always feel, life is all about tackling the small issues that come by us and not waiting for that big one,which we think is the most important.

Heart & Roses

Anyway, why waste this good day on such thoughts! Let's move on! So, I got this idea from my fellow Minneostan food blogger, Amanda.  Somehow, being the lazy self that I am, I didn't want to bake another cake for the centre part instead wanted to get away with a filling. I was just hoping that my idea wouldn't break my heart when we cut into the cake on this BIG day! I asked Amanda what she thought about it and got a green signal with a 'chill it well' advice.

Hearts & Roses

Now, this is how it looks like :-) What do you guys think about it? We felt it was really cool! I enjoyed piping the roses over the cake and filling with a girly pink frosting. I wondered if Jobin would pass a comment on the colour but he didn't!

Hearts & Roses cake

Recipe source for the cake: Hersheys
Recipe source for the frosting & filling: Alice

Ingredients :
1 3/4 c flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 c oil
1 c buttermilk
1 c strong black coffee
1 tsp vanilla

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 350C and line two 9 inch baking tins.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to it and beat well for 2 minutes. Pour into your baking tins (halfway) and bake for 35-40 mins or till done. I used three 6 inch baking tins but used just 2 cakes for the final assembly.

1 c /2 sticks unsalted butter,softened
3 c powdered sugar,sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla
upto 4 tbsp milk

Method:In a large mixing bowl on high, beat butter for a minute until it's soft and fluffy.Add the sugar and beat on low till well combined. Add salt, vanilla and 2 tbsp milk and beat on medium for 3 minutes.Add colour if needed and beat for a minute. I needed a stiff frosting for the centre filling and a soft frosting for the roses, so after I filled the cake, I added another tablespoon of milk to the frosting and beat  it for a minute.

Assembly: Cut the cakes as shown below and fill it with buttercream.
Heart cake

Sandwich the two edges using melted chocolate.The cake with the pyramid goes on top. Give it a crumb coating with the buttercream and then pipe roses with 1M tip from Wilton. 

Our celebration cakes are always meant to be a surprise for Jobin. Therefore he was banned from using or even touching the refrigerator starting from last evening. Indeed that had it's effects when he saw the cake this morning !
OUR day!

This cake is super moist and the buttercream perfectly sweet.It compliments each other very well!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NEY PATHAL & ERACHI (Mutton) VARATTIYATHU...Welcome to Malabar!

Ney Pathal & Mutton Varttiyathu

Have you ever tried making Pathiri's at home? If not, I think you should start with these as I feel the success rate would be higher than Ari Pathiri. I don't quite remember when I started eating this because I've been having it for years now. I bet the starting point would have been at some family friend's house or my friend's tiffin box.This is typically a Malabar Muslim deep fried bread, made using ground rice, fennel seeds, coconut and sometimes with pearl onions too.

Ney Pathal -2

Even though it's deep fried, you just cannot stop at one or two. You will eat a lot and then feel heavy as well. So it's definately cannot be included in your daily menu, according to me. It's very common to spot these Ney Pathals even in a' Milma' booth's glass shelves along with Chicken Puffs ,Parippuvada& Samosas.I rememeber asking a friend of mine why some of these are called Pathiri's and some Pathal's. She told me , since it's deep fried it's called Pathal. Is it true? It seems in olden days, these were fried in pure Ghee and that's why it's called Ney Pathal.

Mutton Varattiyathu

I decided to pair this Malabar delicacy with another one,Mutton Varattiyathu.It's a mild yet spicy curry to go with any of your Indian breads or even rice. The curry base has fennel seeds in it and I find the addition of fennel gives any meat curry a distinct taste.Even though we are huge mutton lovers this is the first mutton curry recipe on this blog. I have no idea why it happened that way because we do have mutton quite a lot, in our menu.

Ney Pathal & Mutton VarattiyathuNEY PATHAL
My own recipe
Yields 25 nos.

2 1/2 c Ponni rice (edited 13/2- It is a type of boiled rice.DO NOT substitute.Available at Indian grocery stores)
1 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds/Perumjeerakam
1 c grated coconut
4-5 pearl onions, sliced
Rice flour, if needed
Oil for deep frying

Method: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the rice and switch off the heat. Cover the pot with lid and leave it aside for 4 hours.Drain, wash the rice.Grind it along with fennel seeds, coconut and onions to a coarse paste without adding any water. If you think you need water, add just a few drops and not beyond that. Transfer it to a container and if it's watery, get it back to a semi-solid form using rice flour. Oil your hands and make lemon sized balls from it. Using a banana leaf or a cut open ziploc back,pat these into   4 inch circles. Heat the oil to almost the smoking point and then slide the pathals in. Turn them over when it puffs up and fry till golden brown on both sides.Drain excess oil on paper towels and store them in a hot box/casserole.

Ney Pathal & Mutton VarattiyathuERACHI VARATTIYATHU
Recipe source: Ummi Abdulla

500g mutton
6 tbsp oil/ghee
2 red onions,sliced fine
4 tsp Coriander powder
8 green chilies
2 inch piece of ginger
8 cloves garlic
2 tsp Aniseed/Fennel seeds/Perumjeerakam
2 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
3 large tomatoes,chopped
Salt to taste
2 tsp Garam masala
1 bunch cilantro,chopped
Juice of one lime

Method:Grind together coriander powder,ginger,garlic and green chillies. In a pan, heat oil and fry the onions till pale brown. Add the ground masala,remaining powders and mix till you get a good aroma. Add the meat and mix well, till you can see the oil separate a bit. Add the tomatoes, salt and maybe a 1/2 c of water and cook till the meat is tender.Add cilantro, garam masala & lime juice. Simmer till the gravy is thick.Serve hot with Ney Pathal!

Jobin has never tasted a Ney Pathal before. So when he got back from office yesterday, I had them hot and ready along with the Mutton Varattiyathu. He took a bite of it and said it was wonderful. Later, I heard some cling and clang of the lids in the kitchen and found out that he was attacking another one :-) We actually took it over to our relative's house and it was attacked by the kids equally! The only complaint I heard from the kids were that they felt heavy after eating it :-) Of course, you cannot run and play right after eating this :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012



Finally we got our computer back and I'm hoping, really hoping to be regular from now on.Now, let's get talking about this super cool colourful favourite dessert of mine! Falooda, originally a Persian dessert,was introduced to us Indians during the Mughal rule. I've never been a fan of it until a few months back.It was Amma's forever favourite thing to eat in an Ice Cream Parlour.If not a Falooda, she would order a Fruit Salad with Ice Cream.I never understood what's so special about Falooda.


Falooda was a very commonly discussed subject in my house.The first time I remember seeing it was about 17 years ago, for my cousin sisters wedding reception. The Groom's family made it and it was for a huge crowd. Seeing all the ingredients then, I assumed it to be a very elaborate thing to make. I think I was one of the few people who didn't attempt tasting what they served that night.Little did I know what was in store for me!


17 years later...I am hooked onto this wonderful cold dessert! I've made this so so many times and I've never got enough of it. It has many layers and different textures.I'm sure, if you give this a try you would love it! This dessert can be made way ahead of time and assembled in the very last minute.

My own recipe

Things you'll need:
1 batch Vermicelli Kheer (recipe follows)
1 tbsp Tukmaria/Sabja seeds/Basil seeds {NOT Poppy seeds}
1 small packet jelly/jello, of your choice
Fruits of your choice,cut up
Rooh-Afza,a rose flavoured syrup
2 c cold milk
Sugar to taste
Vanilla Ice Cream

For the Vermicelli Kheer: In a pan,roast 1/2 c of vermicelli on low flame till pale golden brown.Increase the heat to medium,add 2 cups of milk and cook till the vermicelli is soft, stirring often. Add 1/4 c plus 2 tsp sugar and cook till the mixture is thickened slightly.Switch off the heat and let it cool. Chill till needed.
For the Rose Milk: To the 2 cups cold milk add Rooh-Afza and sugar to taste. Chill till needed.
For the Tukmaria: Soak the seeds in 1 c water for 10 mins. Drain and reserve.

Assembly: In a tall glass add 2 tsp of tukmaria followed by vermicelli,fruits and cut up jello. Pour some rose milk just to cover the assembly. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve immediately.

I love photographing what I cook, especially desserts as I get to eat it right after :-) Our friends had come over last night for a potluck and I served this for dessert. They loved it and so did we.I think I'm going to have another glass full of it once this post is published because these pictures are making me drool!

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