Ria's Collection: 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

NO-BAKE 10 LAYER CAKE for our 10th!

10 layer cake
I knew one thing for sure this year... I wanted to make a 10 layered cake for our 10th wedding anniversary. I somehow didn't want to stand by the oven baking layers after layers this year since we were all going through a round of fever,cold and cough and cake baking,even if it was for our anniversary was the last thing on my mind at that time. Even though I tried to push the thought of making a 10 layer cake away as much as I could, it came back to me with double the force! So I knew, I would be disappointing myself big time if I didn't put my plan into action!
10 layer cake
This cake is a no-bake layered cake which you can customize to the number of layers you want it to be! I needed 10 and this particular measurement gives you 10 with enough frosting to cover it up. So if you need to build a bigger or a smaller cake, please scale the recipe accordingly. There's absolutely nothing to go wrong here,even a child can make it! It's super simple and extremely delicious!
10 layer cake
So you basically need graham crackers and a good frosting. I chose the chocolate graham cracker because our kids love chocolate cakes and I was pretty sure it would do down well with them as well. You can choose to use regular graham crackers or even honey flavoured. This recipe is inspired by the Russian Honey cake where you make a batter first and then make several layers of cake by baking them separately.I've made the original version quite a few times before when we had friend's over and it was a massive success!
10 layer cake
Given a choice, I would have gone for the longer route but with all what was going on at home, I just wanted to do the quick version and literally be done with it and have a cake for ourselves to enjoy the next day! So this cake barely needs 15 minutes of your time to be put together but it needs some good amount of chilling time so that the crackers get the the time to soften up and become cake like! It absorbs the moisture from the frosting and becomes really soft and a bit plump. No one can ever tell they were made using graham crackers!
NO-BAKE 10 LAYER CAKE
10 layer cake Serves 12-15

Ingredients:
4 sleeves of chocolate graham crackers (1 box + 1 sleeve from another box)
Frosting:
16 ounce / 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
One 8 ounce packet cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounce unsalted butter, room temperature
One 14 ounce can condensed milk
Topping:
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Crumb:
4 extra crackers

Method:
Frosting: In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks and set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the butter along with softened cream cheese till it's smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the condensed milk and beat until it's well incorporated, about 1 minute.
Fold the whipped cream into the butter mixture carefully in 2-3 batches. Your frosting is ready!
Topping: Gently melt the chocolate and cream together in a microwave oven for about 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Set it aside.
Crumb: Crush the crackers into a fine powder using a rolling pin
Assembly : Take a large platter and dab a small amount of frosting in a rectangular shape. Place three chocolate crackers over it. Cover it with some frosting and repeat till all 10 layers are done. You will need 30 crackers in total for a 10 layered cake. Cover the top and sides with the frosting. Pour the ganache carefully just to cover the top. Gently press the crumb mixture to the sides of the cake. Let it chill for a minimum of 6 hours before serving.

This cake tastes absolutely delicious! Just look at that list of ingredients...how can it go wrong! :-)
It is a heavy, rich cake mostly because of the frosting, so serve them in small slices. Ian kept saying this is the best cake I've ever made and then he corrected himself saying...'Well, it's always like that!'

Friday, January 24, 2020

KASHMIRI CHICKEN CURRY

Kashmiri Chicken 5
Growing up, I always wondered how to make a curry with ease and without breaking a sweat. I remember making this particular curry for the very first time way back in 2010 and as a newly married then, it was even more exciting to try out the recipes I had been writing down in my recipe diary from a long time. Over the years, I've learnt the easy art of making curries without all the fuss, from scratch and you all have ben a part of that journey for the past 11 years!
Kashmiri Chicken 1

This particular curry has quite  a number of ingredients than my usual ones but the method of making it is a breeze. I am not the one to stand by the stove over a weekday, stirring and stirring for literally 20 minutes just to get  the oil to separate from the masala. I would rather save it for a day when I have nothing  else to do.

Kashmiri Chicken Curry is one of our family favourite curries and is a winner with our kids. So, when the folks at The Feedfeed & Muir Glen asked me if I could share a recipe using Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes, this curry was the first one to come to my mind. Their tomatoes are perfectly balanced in taste and is a perfect substitute for recipes where you need fresh tomatoes. I always have a stock in my pantry for the same. It's a brand that I have been using for years now. I shopped for my Muir Glen tomatoes at Wedge Community Co-op. It's our favourite place to shop,especially for local products. On our recent visit two days ago, we found quite a few interesting fruits that we've never seen before... Buddha's Hand & Kishu Mandarins! Find out what co-op you should visit here!
Kashmiri Chicken

KASHMIRI CHICKEN CURRY
Kashmiri Chicken 8
Serves 8-10
Active cooking time - 10 minutes
Total cooking time - 30 minutes

Ingredients:
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
1/2 tablespoon paprika 
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon unsalted cashewnuts
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups diced red onions
1 tablespoon grated fresh garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
One 14 ounce can of Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes
1 teaspoon garam masala

Method:
  • Remove the skin and excess fat from the chicken and cut each thigh into 4,using a cleaver or a sharp heavy knife.
  • In a large bowl, marinate the chicken pieces along with turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, using a blender, grind together cayenne,paprika,mustard seeds, cumin seeds & fenugreek seeds together along with 1/2 cup water to a fine paste. Feel free to add a couple tablespoons more of water if needed. Set it aside.
  • Soak the cashewnuts in 1/4 cup water.
  • In a large pan, heat the oil on medium high heat and sauté the onions, ginger & garlic till the onions turn soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the ground spice paste along with 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and let it sauté for 1 minute. 
  • Add the 14 ounce  can of Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes to it and mix well. Continue to sauté the mix, stirring often until you start seeing oil around the edges of the pan,about 2 minutes.
  • In the meantime, grind the soaked cashewnuts along with the soaking water to a smooth paste.
  • Add the cashew paste, along with chicken to the pot. Add 1/2 cup water, salt and mix well to combine. Cover and cook until chicken is done, 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the garam masala and stir. Do a taste test for salt and adjust if necessary.
  • Serve the curry hot with Naan, Parata's, Rice etc. Enjoy!
This post is sponsored by Muir Glen and The Feedfeed, but all opinions are my own.
Kashmiri Chicken  7
I have served it with Rice, Chapathi, Porota, Ghee Rice, Tomato Rice, Batura, Appam etc and it's all been well received with big smiles!
I shopped for my Muir Glen tomatoes at Wedge Community Co-op. It's our favourite place to shop since 2010,especially for local products like Honey, Poultry & Meat. Find out what co-op you should visit here! Also, Muir Glen have an awesome deal happening now. Get ten 14.5 oz cans of tomato products for $10 from Jan 22 until February 4! Make use of that and stock up! You can put them to use all year long!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CHEMMEEN VATTICHULARTHIYATHU

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 VATTICHULARTHIYATHU
Chemmeen Pattichularthiyathu Serves 6

Ingredients:
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
Salt
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

KACHIMORU / KACHIYAMORU / MORU KACHIYATHU

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!

KACHIMORU
Moru Kachiyathu Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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!
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