Ria's Collection: March 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Tropical Mango Pudding Cake

The weather is so good right now in Minneapolis. It's perfectly warm during the day and cool during night.The Spring has sprung all over and we are enjoying this beautiful weather before Summer hits here. We get extreme temperatures so we are really not sure which season are we actually looking forward to! Anyhow, when I decided to make this dessert, I thought of sticking to one of my current favourite colours, Yellow!

Tropical Mango Pudding Cake

So for the pudding cake, I stuck to mango as  it is definately the top choice at the moment for colour & taste and since I had a big can of puree with me, I did not see a reason why I shouldn't be using it! Plus, it's the best thing to use when you are not sure about the sweeteness of the mangoes you get in stores in Spring.That way you are sure to have a consistency for your recipes every time you need to make one!

Tropical Mango Pudding Cake

This was meant to be a birthday cake for my relative who is also a grown up like us. So I made it less fancy and kept it simple. The cake was baked in a jiffy with the recipe that's engraved on my brain which is also the same recipe I used for the Mixed fruit Swiss Roll,Coffee - Chocolate Triangle Cake,Checkerboard Cake etc. The pudding hardly took any time to make and once it was layered up, I left them in the fridge to set. It's a quick cake - dessert if you have things handy.

Tropical Mango Pudding Cake

I baked this cake having a totally different plan in mind but in the end, it was cut out into circles and got stuffed into my little cake rings. I love using cake rings because it gives you  your personal share of the dessert which clearly means...no sharing! It was a birthday gift  from Jobin 2 years ago and I've not been using it much as he would love me to. Mocha Marble Cheesecaklets were baked in it but other than that, none of them have appeared on the blog :-)

Tropical Mango Pudding Cake

If you don't have the puree, you can always use the fresh ripe mangoes and puree them with sugar to taste. I usually use that but this time,like how I mentioned before I had a tin full of pulp with me which I bought a while back to make some Mango Lassi. Talk about that lassi,it's the most popular flavour in stores here and I love it!

Recipe source for the cake : Amma
Ingredients for the cake:
1 c flour minus 2 tbsp
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 c sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F and line a jelly roll pan.
In a clean, dry bowl beat the sugar and eggs on high for 12 mins. Add the vanilla and beat for 10 secs. Fold in the flour and cornstarch, carefully without deflating it. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 15-18 mins or until the top is pale brown and is springy to touch.
As soon as it is out of the oven, loosen the sides if need be and invert the cake onto a kitchen towel which was sprinkled with some sugar before. Remove the parchment and let the cake cool.Brush the cake with some water just to moisten it. Cut out rounds to fit your small cake rings.

Ingredients for the Eggless Mango Pudding
My own recipe
1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1  c sweetened mango puree
4 tbsp sugar or to taste
1 tbsp gelatin dissolved in 3 tbsp water

Method: Whip the cream to stiff peaks along with sugar and then fold the puree in. Melt the gelatin, cool it for a minute and then fold  it into the pudding / mousse.

Assembly: Place a round of the moistened cake in the cake ring and pour some mousse over it, cover it with another piece of cake and repeat. The top layer should be the mousse.Decorate as you wish. Refrigerate till set, for about 4-5 hours. Serve cold.

Tropical Mango Pudding Cake

After the circles were cut up, there were some odd shapes left behind. So Jobin & I slathered some pudding over it and popped them into our mouths. It was seriously yummy! Infact I do it all the time to know how the end product would taste like :-) Try this quick dessert for your next party and make sure you eat the scraps too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Channa Biriyani

I've been getting a lot of complaints these days from friends and family alike. It's just because I'm not posting any veggie recipes during this season of Lent. They said they are loosing their control seeing the Fried Chicken Kabab!So I posted a Lemon Yogurt Cake and the complaints increased because a lot of them have given up sugar for lent! :-) Some of them did try the Garam Masala Pulao but for some , they needed something more than just a pulao!


I love Channa, in any form. Some of my favourites are Sundal, Channa Masala, Papdi chaat or even just plain salted boiled channa. The black channa is also dearly loved in the form of a Kannur curry called Kootucurry. I use Kabuli Channa/ White channa/ Chickpeas more than the black ones. Jobin loves a good Chana Masala with Batura,so do I. Luckily the weather is super good in Minneapolis now and I can make Baturas to our hearts content without thinking of the fact that the oil smell is going to hang around in our condo for the next two days...just leave the balcony door wide open!

Channa Biriyani

It's been a while since I've been thinking about a pulao/biriyani with this wonderful source of protein. I've seen quite a few recipes in cookbooks and on foodblogs but nothing tempted me as I wanted a greenish tinge to my rice. So last night, I went ahead and soaked some channa so that things would be easier the next day.

Channa Biriyani>

This recipe might look like it's lengthy but trust me, it isn't. You can easily pull it off in less than 45 mins, if you plan as I planned :-) As much as I love to cook, I hate spending a lot of time in the kitchen, especially near the stove!

My own recipe

1 c channa, soaked overnight
2 c basmati rice
5 green chilies
1/2 c grated coconut
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
4 cloves, 4 green cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick
1 large onion, diced
1 tomato,diced
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 bunch mint leaves,chopped fine
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
2 tsp lime juice or to taste
Salt to taste
4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ghee
4 c water

Method: While you pressure cook the soaked chickpeas with some salt for 3-4 whistles, soak the rice for 30 mins. Meanwhile, get the other ingredients ready.Grind the coconut, ginger garlic paste and green chilies together, to a rough paste without adding any water.

In a non-stick pot, heat oil and ghee together. Add the whole spices and stir for 30 secs. Add the onions and cook till they are golden brown.Add the tomatoes and cook till mushy, about 1 minute. Add the powders and saute for 30 secs. Add the ground paste and saute for a minute. Add salt & herbs. Mix well. Add the boiled channa and let it cook in the masala for a minute. Add the soaked and drained rice and fry for a minute. Add 4 cups of water to it, check for salt and finally pour the lime juice and stir to mix, carefully so that the rice grains don't break. Cover and cook on medium heat till the rice is done!

Channa Biriyani

Whenever I experiment, I wait for the smell of the dish to fill the house. I think everyone can judge how good or how bad a particular dish is going to be depending on it's smell :-) This time, I was in a biriyani haven and I knew I had nailed it! Serve it with a bowl of chilled Raita and maybe some papad too.

All you meat lovers...make it and eat it because you will not miss meat in this atleast during this season of Lent! :-)

Monday, March 12, 2012


Lemon Yogurt Cake

Ibaked my very own cake,for the first time! When I say that, I mean, I didn't use anybody's recipe but my own proportions to bring it all together.Don't ask me how I got till there...it was a long bumpy ride on a very dull Thursday. Fortunately the end result was mind blowing that being sad the whole day didn't matter after all! All the thoughts, worries and confusions yielded in an awesome sauce lemony cake!
OK. I have to tell you that long story and I am not going to cut it short :-)

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Last Thursday was quite eventful at home, on the lines of baking. I tried my hand at baking a piped cookie whose dough was just not pipe-able so I rolled them into small balls and baked it. It came out just OK and not so good as the recipe stated. It was a butter cookie and there was a lot of butter in it. I cannot waste butter even if I have to waste the rest of the ingredients. Yeah! I'm like that.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

So after a so-so butter cookie, I thought I'll do something to get me going.It's been days since I've been longing to eat a lemon flavoured cake. The hunt was on for a good recipe but seriously, I couldn't get one. During our many e-mails throughout the day, Jobin mentioned he was going for out with his colleagues after work and will be late to get back home. I got that email right after that stupid cookie and when all my search for the perfect lemon cake came to a full stop.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I whined. I wrote back saying 'I'm sad.I want to eat a nice plain lemon cake.I cannot find any recipe.Tried baking a cookie. Flop aayi. Sad.' I mean, seriously...when there are so many food blogs and recipe websites, how is it that I cannot find one recipe which sounded good to me??? Most of them had some sort of a topping going over the hot cake and I didn't want that extra sugar going into our bodies, if I could help it. So I thought I'll compromise and start on with Amma's recipe for her famous cake. That was the beginning...just the beginning of everything!

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I took out my brand new digital weighing scale that I was sent for a review and started off measuring butter and sugar. I dumped them into my Reddie to do it's work. Then I moved onto measuring the flour and I painstakingly realised that I was short on it! The butter and sugar was busy creaming up and I don't have enough flour! Ok, let's move onto Plan B...I shall make do with some wheat flour then. Hmph! Ok, now grab the eggs...and for some strange reason, I knew there were not  many eggs left in the fridge. Sadly,it was true.I looked back at my Reddie and couldn't even think of dumping that butter!

Seriously, that was not my day! I am usually very careful and pull out all the ingredients before I start baking and I have no clue what was going on with me that day! I was so let down that I couldn't get a simple cookie right and finally this cake too? Like I said before, the end result changed everything! :-)

My own recipe

180g unsalted butter, softened
240g sugar
3 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
Zest & ( 3 tbsp ) juice of  1 lime or lemon
200g maida/all purpose flour
40g whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp yogurt

Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Line a 9 inch baking tin.
In a bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking powder & baking soda.In another large bowl, beat together butter and sugar till creamy,for 2 mins. Add the eggs one by one and beat for 30 secs after each addition. Add the lime juice and zest and beat for 30 secs. The mixture will curdle but it doesn't matter. Add the flour mix and beat to incorporate. Add the yogurt and beat on high for a minute or two. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour 10 mins. Your oven timings maybe different, so keep checking from 45 mins.

*Updated on 26/4/2020 - Over the years I revised the method for making the cake batter. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and beat it on high speed using a hand mixer for 2 minutes.
  • My current oven bakes the cake in 45 minutes.
  • You can use 4 whole eggs instead.
  • You can use 240 grams of maida/ all purpose flour instead.
  • My 1 cup flour measures 120 grams and 1 cup sugar 200 grams. 

I always dreamt about creating my own cake recipes and never did I even dream that it would be through an accident, a very careless accident! I've actually had a successful accident a while ago and it grabbed me 1st place at a competition too! So, no complaints with accidents! ;-) Don't worry, this cake wouldn't stick to the bottom of your pan as you saw in a photograph above, I was just piling up the crumbs into the tin after I got the cake out of it.

This cake was so so soft that I feared it would crumble in my hands when I unmoulded it. The lemon taste was spot on and the cake was so buttery & incredibly moist! I am so proud of myself ! :-) It really is a wonderful delicious lemon yogurt cake!

Friday, March 9, 2012

FRIED CHICKEN KABABS... Empire restaurant style!

Chicken Kababs

Is there anyone out here who hasn't tasted the Empire Restaurant's (Bangalore) Chicken Kababs? I'm sure there are plenty and all I can tell them is ' you are really missing out on some good stuff!'. This was my most ordered, favourite item of theirs.I could eat as much as they would give me but they never gave more than 5 or 6 pieces and since we were in our college days, we needed our pocket money for more than just kababs ;-)

Chicken Kabab

Usually when I think of Kababs/Kebabs, they are either baked or pan fried. This one is different from the rest as they are deep fried using a marinade. In Bangalore, you can find people selling these not only in restaurants but also in those road side shops which opens only after 6.30 pm and their menu doesn't go beyond Fried Rice and Chicken Kababs.

Chicken Kabab

There was an old Uncle right across the street from our hostel who sold Fried Rice & Chicken Kababs and we were regular customers of his yummy food. He would make these in front of us but the marinade was made ahead of time and gave me no options to have a sneak peek of what's going into it. I remember asking him once to which he replied,' We use Bombay Kabab Masala'. I really have no idea if such a thing exists ! Once when Appan and Amma came to visit me in Bangalore, I bought them a plate of Kababs from that old Uncle's restaurant and ever since, if Appan goes that side, he buys it and eats them!

Chicken Kabab

I didn't give up my hunt. I remember seeing a recipe in Vanitha for Empire Chicken Kababs and it was just flour,vinegar, chicken, food colour, Empire kabab masala (!?!) and salt. C'mon, when you give a recipe, it should be a whole recipe...how else will you know what's there in that Empire kabab masala? Never mind! I still wrote down that recipe in my favourite navy blue diary.

Chicken Kabab

Like I mentioned in my previous post (Remember the late night Kadala Muttai?), I woke up one fine day with the thought of having the Empire kababs. Now where in Minnesota will I ever get it? Who in Minneapolis can make it for me? No one! I ate Jobin's brains,vented out on Facebook but nothing helped. So the hunt began...now you know where my hunt can lead me to! EMPIRE KABABS!!!! :-)

Recipe from here

4 tbsp maida/ all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
2 tbsp red chili powder
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste 
2 eggs
1 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
Juice of 2 limes (or to taste)
3 green chilies, finely chopped
1/4 tsp red food colour,optional ( I used it)
Salt to taste

1 kg chicken, with bones (I used chicken thighs)
Oil for deep frying

Method: In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients from maida to salt. Add a few extra drops of water if the batter is very thick. Add the chicken pieces and mix to coat well. Let it marinate, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Heat oil on high heat, in a deep vessel. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the chicken pieces, a few pieces at a time. Fry for 3-4 mins turning the pieces occasionally. If you fry it further, the colour of the coating will change from red to brown, if you used food colour. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with a few lime wedges & onions rings.

You are gonna LOVE it!

Chicken Kababs

These kababs are as good as the ones we get in Empire or maybe even better! The chicken remains so juicy after frying that you need to hold a paper napkin underneath to protect your clothes!As soon as the first piece came out of the oil, I had to eat it. I must admit, it was so so good! Even Jobin said the same! When I was photographing these, I really couldn't resist the yummy smell of it and thought 'What the heck! After all it's for me  us!' That's the photograph you saw above :-)

Make this super easy appetizer for your next party and reap the compliments! There's nothing to go wrong in here!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Chikki/London Cake

Ihave a problem. A serious problem.If I see a photograph of something that I really like, I have to make it then and there...no matter what time it is :) What would happen otherwise? I would dream about it and wake up hungry, it's that simple :-) Have you all faced such stuff? I do, most of the time...therefore inorder to get a good night's sleep, I have to cook and eat it!

London Cake/ Chikki

This peanut chikki was one among them.This is such a favourite for all of us, in my family. Appan is super happy if he has a bar of it. I was,is and will always be happy if I have 2 bars of it. Ritchie is not as greedy as I am, so he is happy if he has a bar of it :-) Amma likes it too maybe not as crazy as we 3 are. Appan,his brother and my uncle Tom and my grandmother calls it a  London Cake ,don't ask me why? :-)

Peanut Candy/Chikki

This peanut chikki was one of the items we had to make in our college lab for the candy making class. In our labs, we are not allowed to use a candy thermometer so after many burnt fingers, we all got different stages of  melting the sugar right.Whenever I came home on weekends from the hostel, I used to take 'Manna'(my fave brand) slabs (read many) back with me. The last time when I went home and shopped at the supermarket, those Manna slabs were staring at me and I did pick up a few. How can I leave them behind when they were my everything during the hostel days??

Recipe source: Nithi & Sharmi

1 c roasted skinless peanuts
3/4 c white sugar

Method: Crush the peanuts coarsely,using a mixie. Make a dry caramel (Melt sugar without water in a pan, till it dissolves completely. It will turn dark brown in colour).* Switch off the heat and add the crushed peanuts and mix well, quickly. Immediately,pour this over a greased plate/parchment paper,roll it into 1/4" thickness using a greased rolling pin and mark into desired shapes with a greased knife. Let it cool completely. Break into pieces.

* Timing is crucial in this recipe, so as soon as the last crystal/lump of sugar melts add the peanuts.Roll it out as soon as it is poured and mark into desired shapes.

After seeing a photograph of it on Facebook, I told Jobin that I wanted to eat Kadala Muttai. It was around 9 pm then and I was sure that I didn't want to ask him to take me to the store as the Indian stores would be closed by then :-) It's not just that, the peanut chikki, irrespective of the brand that I have tried here has always been soft,chewy and tasteless. I like them to be crisp, crunchy and brittle...they way they are meant to be.

Therefore without a second thought, I went straight into the kitchen and made it. It hardly took me 10 mins.The dinner was finished in seconds as I had my little quick dessert waiting for me :-)

Monday, March 5, 2012


Veggie Pulao

Last Friday, I was so out of ideas for lunch and since he was coming home I had to make something solid ;-) We were out of veggies and since it's the Lent season, I try and avoid eating non-veg on Fridays. Therefore I was left with very little options, since cooking anything vegetarian keeps me thinking for hours as I feel I cannot do justice to it! There was a time when I feared making a pulao but now it's as easy as breathing ;-)

Veggie Pulao

By the time I planned on what to make I had only 20 mins left with me.Without wasting anymore time,I kept the cooker on the stove and started adding ingredients to it, one by one. It smelt really good and I knew the end result was going to be very rewarding. I was just hoping that the water - rice ratio would be fine. Usually you need 2 cups of water for every cup of rice but in this recipe, I used 1:1.

Veggie Pulao

How could I serve it as is? We don't usually have raita or chutney with rice and having  no time to make any curry, I quickly deep fried some cauliflower florets using a simple spicy batter. It was a great accompaniment for the rice, some crunch and some veggies too! I am trying to incorporate more and more veggies into my diet,so looks like there will be more cooker pulao's happening here :-)

My own recipe

2 c basmati rice
2 c water
1 tsp ghee
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion, diced
5 green chillies, slitted
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 c frozen peas
1 c cauliflower florets
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 c cilantro, chopped

Method: On medium-high,heat ghee and oil together in a cooker. Crackle cumin seeds.Add onions,green chillies & ginger garlic paste. Saute till they are soft, 2 mins.Add the veggies and mix together.Add the powders, cilantro and mix well for a minute. Add the washed rice and fry carefully for a minute. Add water, salt and close the cooker with the lid . Cook for 1 whistle and keep it off the flame. Let the pressure go down on it's own. Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve hot!

Veggie Pulao

When he got back home, I told him that the lunch wasn't ready ;-) C'mon, I need to say something as soon as  I see him :-) He was surprised to see a pulao and that too with some fried Gobi! I am sure he wondered what's up with her, today!

He really liked it and said  that it was very flavourful and that I should make this quite often from now on .I agree to that 100%. You can incorporate more and more variety of veggies into your meal this way. If you are serving it with a curry, let it not overpower the flavour of the rice. This pulao is very very flavourful and you will feel like eating more and more :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Garlic Naan

The other day, I was on a call with our friend D and as always our talks led to the new dishes that we tried recently. She was very excited to tell me that  her cousin S tried a new recipe for a naan and she told D about it and D was excited and tried that recipe for Butter Naan which came out really well. I was excited to hear about it because of all the recipes I have tried so far, none of them were that good! I know, we all have the limitation of not having a tandoor at home and no matter what, you just wouldn't get that taste without it.

Garlic Naan

Whichever recipe I have tried so far, the naan wouldn't puff up when baked/broiled and if it's cooked on stove top,it doesn't look that good for me. They cook completely but when you tear the bread apart, it looks uncooked and not fluffy at all! There were some recipes which used direct flame to get the charred effect and unfortunately we don't have a gas stove so that option is also ruled out! What timing, right? :-)

Garlic Naan

So finally, I decided to give Naans a try, the FINAL trial. I always say that whenever I tried making them at home but somehow I could not give up. I was sure I would find my perfect dough someday and I did! I don't know whether you all would think the same but do give it a try, it's super simple and the results are really satisfying! Do not forget to keep them thick while you roll them out or else you will get hard almost crackers like Naans  :-)

Garlic Naan

If you are planning to try this at home, you can plan on making this just before serving as it hardly takes any time for the dough to rise and be made into soft naans. When broiling them, which is the method that is used for cooking them here, make sure you place the rolled out dough on the rack closest to the heating elements. That way the cooking time will be less plus you are not giving it a chance to get dried up.Also, keep an eye on them, if they turn very very brown, they will look pretty but it might be a bit chewy :-)

Garlic Naan
Recipe source: Aarthi

2 1/2 c maida/all purpose flour
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
About 1 1/4 c warm water
1 tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
A few leaves of cilantro, chopped fine

Method: Pre-heat the oven on BROIL mode for 10 mins.

In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.Make a well in the centre and add enough water to form a smooth slightly sticky dough.Knead for a minute. Cover with a moist towel and let it rest for 30 mins. It would have doubled in volume by now, if not, let it rest until doubled.
Divide the dough into 6. Roll them out into 1/4 inch thickeness and pat the chopped garlic and cilantro over it. Roll the rolling pin over it lightly so that garlic and cilantro sticks to the dough. Place the rolled out naan onto a cookie sheet/ flat baking sheet and broil for 3-4 mins or until you see them puffed up with brown spots over it*. Flip over and broil for another minute. Take it out and brush them with butter and store them in a casserole.

*Don't get excited seeing the brown spots appear and leave them to brown a lot further,it will do no good! I got excited and was left with a not so soft one :-D

Garlic Naan

I regret for not having some curry ready beforehand, especially the Butter Chicken I made a few months ago! I cannot blame myself because this Naan came out as a surprise :-) I really really liked it! Soft, fluffy...the way I wanted it to be! Jobin ate them quietly and then said that these were the best I've tried so far but again, it does lack that tandoor flavour! :-) So if you are ready to give up on that last bit,you are definitely ready to try this at home :-) I think this is the closest I can get to making it at home!
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