Ria's Collection: May 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Atta Laddoo
I have a major sweet tooth and so does my family. So it's really fun to try out new things because it will be cherished by all including Zara. The only problem is that I am the only one who seems to be gaining the happy sweet weight around my belly. Jobin does his daily workout religiously be it Summer or Winter. Ian is very active and so is Zara. I am the couch potato in the family. I would be the happiest to curl up with a cookbook or my phone on the couch with something to munch on,especially something sweet. So the other day, after a full fledged mallu meal, Jobin asked me if there was anything sweet to eat and surprisingly, there was none!
Atta Laddoo

So yesterday, I thought of making something sweet for us. I wanted to make something Indian. So as usual, I checked out some of my reliable resources on the internet for recipes. I am not sure why but even after 8 years (almost 9!) of blogging, I still have only a handful of resources (literally viralil ennavunna) online when it comes to recipes. I stopped blog hopping around the time Ian was born. I barely had the time to show my face here.
Atta Laddoo
So I am still reading the ones I used to read before 2012. Some of my favourite food blogs have stopped updating,which is such a sad thing because I felt I was a part of their lives, reading about them and one fine day,there are zero updates. Manjula aunty's page is one of my most favourites and her recipes are fail proof! I am sure almost all of you know her for her simple,fuss free and tasty recipes. I have tried out so many from her site and they all have turned out the way it should.Delicious!
Atta Laddoo
Sarah,one of my close hostel friends, was known for her mother's Atta Ladoos because they were incredibly yummy! We would request her to bring it for us whenever she went home to Mangalore. As I was making these laddoos,I couldn't stop thinking about the fun we had in our hostel sneaking into each other's room and tucking in homemade special food without the hostel Warden seeing us.Some of my best memories and friends are made during my hostel days in Bangalore.
Atta Laddoo Makes 16

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup superfine sugar *
1/2 cup melted ghee
1/4 tsp ground green cardamom
Paper cups

Method: In a heavy bottom pan, roast the flour stirring constantly on medium heat for 6-7 minutes or until it starts to smell nice and toasty. Add the ghee,mix well and cook for another 4-5 minutes,stirring all the time  or until the mixture turns light brown in colour.It will be aromatic at this point. Take it off the heat and transfer the mixture to another heatproof bowl. Let it cool a bit until it is warm to touch. Add the sugar and cardamom and mix well. Form small balls right away and dip the tops in chopped pistachios if you like. Store them in airtight containers and serve them in paper cups if you have them.

*Make sure the sugar is super fine or else it will remain as is in the final product. You can go ahead and substitute it with 200 grams of icing /confectioners /powdered sugar. If that's the case, wait until the laddoo mixture,after adding sugar and cardamom is cooled down completely before forming laddoos. It's only because they will not retain the shape well when it is still warm.

Atta Laddoo
We literally inhaled these laddoos. They were incredibly tasty! I have a soft spot for Besan Ladoos and these will give a tough competition for them. Zara was super excited to give it a try and she happily ate the crumbs she got. Ian on the other hand never liked any Indian sweets we've given him so far. He is forever happy with his Chocolate Cake & Chocolate Chip Cookie. Well, that remind me of the pending order for some cookies from him. He does not like our cookie jar to be empty!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Baked Mac & Beans
I did my undergrad from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore and pretty much anyone who've studied there around that time would be familiar with Raj shop on Loafer's Lane / Vasanthnagar. He makes the best ever Mexican Chaat and he is the only person whom I know that makes it. It was one of our indulgence during the hostel days when we would try to restrict our spending within our pocket money. My other indulgence was the Sweet Chariot's Chocolate Mousse Cake which I later mastered in making and was super duper thrilled about it . You can read about it here...my post from way back in 2009.
Baked Mac & Beans
In February, while Jobin was in Bangalore for work, we joined him and spent close to 2 weeks roaming around town dining at new restaurants and revisiting our old favourite restaurants.So one day, I asked him if he could take to me Raj's shop to eat a Mexican Chaat. I was not really sure if the joint was still open. When we reached there, the shop was open and Raj was inside bossing around the girls who came to buy the goodies from his store. He is known for the way he talks with the college girls. When I asked him for a Mexcian Chaat he was like,'What are YOU doing here now?'. It's been 11 years since I last visited that store and nothing has changed. Nothing at all!
Baked Mac & Beans
One of my favourite past time is to play some videos on Youtube while I cook or pretty much do anything around the house. Cooking videos are my current favourite and I happened to chance upon this one by Ruchi. She made me want to give it a try at home and I am really glad that I did! As I was eating spoonfuls of the piping hot pasta just out of the oven, I was reminded of a very familiar taste. I couldn't for some reason figure out what that was and then when I reached the rock bottom of the bowl, while scraping out the leftover baked sauce I realized that it tasted like Raj's Mexican Chaat!
Baked Mac & Beans
Ruchi makes her Bechamel sauce a.k.a White sauce in a different way. It's much easier and tastes good. I couldn't find the proportions to the ingredients for her recipe so I have added and decreased the ingredients the way I thought we would like it. It's a very forgiving recipe, so feel free to play with it. With all the beans and oregano in it, it does have a Mexican taste to it.
Baked Mac & Beans Serves 2-3

1 1/2 cup cooked macaroni

1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 large cloves garlic, made to a paste
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup frozen sweet corn
1/2 cup baked beans (tinned)
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
A few dashes of hot sauce (like Tabasco,Cholula)
Salt & pepper

Shredded Cheddar, as needed

Method: In a saucepan, mix together cornflour, butter and milk. Cook on medium heat till it boils becomes thick. Set it aside.
In a saute pan, heat the butter and saute the onion till soft and translucent. Add the garlic paste and give it a mix. Add the remaining vegetables and saute for a minute or two. Then add in the beans, ketchup, oregano, red chili powder and hot sauce. Cook for 2-3 minute or until it thickens up. Turn off the heat and mix in the white sauce. Add the cooked pasta and mix well.Season to taste.

Transfer this mixture into a small baking dish and top it with cheese. Bake at 180 C/ 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Serve hot and enjoy!

So Zara thinks no matter what I cook, it is all for her. She will not keep quiet until I let her taste it. So today,she got her first share of pasta. She wasn't very sure about the texture of the pasta so she gave me a wide toothless grin while chewing it.It's really funny to see her push the food back into her mouth if it happens to comes outside.She is seriously one joker who loves to try everything. She thinks we all need to eat the same food,adult food that is! I am waiting for Ian to get back from his Montessori to listen to his 'dialogues' about this dish. He loves pasta,so he might like this too.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


So we are back in Minneapolis after a glorious 6 month long holiday in Kannur. If you ask me if it was tough coming back, honestly, it was like a new life because I totally forgot that I had a life in Minneapolis before! Staying with your parents is the best thing ever because it's like you never left home and you are at the place where you can truly be yourself.Everything around you is at the most familiar,the places and faces that you saw growing up, the aroma of your Amma's food, the most familiar voices... I hope one day Ian & Zara will have the same fondness for their sweet home as much I have for mine.
So before we left Kannur, Ian had asked me if I could bake some Chocolate Chip Cookies for him. I promised to do so but it totally didn't happen till he asked me again yesterday. We were out of chocolate chips, sugar and flour (oh yes, being away for 6 months can make that happen!) then so Jobin & I took him along with an excited little Zara to do some shopping at Target. We strapped them both onto the shopping cart and Zara couldn't stop giggling and smiling. She thinks that's the coolest thing ever,for now. Let's see how long that will last! Anyway,we came back home with a big haul of goodies to make his cookies.

So Zara is that Baby who loves to eat. She is just like how Ian was at 7 months...she will wake up when there's food around her! I am not kidding one bit...when we took her to India, she was barely two months old. She was a very sleepy baby who would sleep throughout the day and night except when the food was being served. She would wake up crying when the air-hostess brought us our food. Amma and I observed it for a couple of times and we laughed out so loudly once we figured it out. It's still the same and I am not complaining one bit because it's so easy to raise a child who loves to eat! I have warned Jobin that I might have to start a home canteen pretty soon since the 4 of us live to eat!

She sleeps the best on our couch during the day,so with her 'swabhavam' like that, I was pretty sure she would wake up when I was taking pictures of these cookies. And she did. She just rolled over to her side, opened her big wide eyes and saw me sitting with a plateful of cookies. She just pounced at me with one hand stretched out to grab them! How one earth did she know they were edible? :-) Well,the next 10 minutes were spent in sharing some cookies with her. Luckily, Jobin came home early from work, so I could continue taking the pictures without the Baby Cookie Monster lurking around!
Coming back to these cookies. They are super tasty and so awesome! I've been eyeing them ever since Lindsay posted it on her blog a couple years ago. If you are looking for a crisp cookie,like the Parle Hide 'n Seek we get in India, this is not the recipe for you. This particular cookie is soft all the way. There are no crisp edges with a soft center. If you want a recipe for that, please check out my old take on the Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are very good too!

113 grams / 8 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups chocolate chips*

Method: Preheat the oven to 350F and keep a cookie sheet ready. You don't have to line it.
Melt the butter in the microwave for a short 40 seconds, you just want to melt it and not heat it up. Add both the sugars to it and beat with a hand mixer until creamy,for a minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat just until it's mixed and turns pale,about 30 seconds. Do not over beat,mixture will become stiff. Add the dry ingredients and mix with the hand blender till it forms a crumbled mass, 20-30 seconds. It will be a soft non sticky dough. Add in the chocolate chips and fold it in using a spatula or your hands. Divide them into 12 balls and place them on your cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Do not over bake. They will puff up and look pale at the end of 11 minutes. Take it out of the oven and leave it to cool on the cookie sheet for 30 minutes.
Enjoy! Store the extras,if any in an airtight container.

*The chocolate chips we get here in the United States are fairly huge compared to what we get in India. So please add more chocolate chips,if you want to. If I were you, I would add atleast 1 1/4 cups.
It was Jobin's birthday two days ago,on the 4th. As always, I made Lamingtons for him and Butter Naan with Green Chicken Kurma for dinner. It's funny because everytime I make Lamingtons for him, it feels just like yesterday.Years are flying by and when you have kids,it's like a whirlwind just hit you. You just don't realise what's going on until you stop in your path,breathe and look around.My Monkeys are keeping me on my toes and since that's pretty much the only exercise I get these days,I will happily take that!
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