15 Minutes of Fame…

Is it ok if I do a bit of self glorification? ;)

A few weeks back I got an email from Shilpa, the reporter of Gulf Weekly, a newspaper based in Bahrain.

She wrote:

Hi Maria,
Have been following your site for so long and have been witnessing it grow
in demand day by day (need to thank my sister to introduce me to your site).
I am a reporter with the GulfWeekly newspaper in Bahrain and I would love to
do a feature about your website, passion, recipes and about yourself for the
paper.

And that’s how it all started…. thanks a ton to  Shilpa &  Shalu (Shilpa’s sister)  :)

Wait, wait I’m not done yet…. a big THANK YOU to YOU who drop in here and support & encourage MariasMenu by leaving a comment or by subscribing to our site or by joining us on Facebook/Google Connect or by simply dropping in :)

Below is the write up from the paper. You can see the online version here.


Cookin’ up hot and tasty meals

By SHILPA_CHANDRAN

AUNTY’S recipes have created an internet sensation for Bahrain-based blogger Maria Jose who has been inundated by numerous newly-wed women wanting to cook up some hot stuff in the kitchen.

Her ‘MariasMenu’ website has become a huge worldwide phenomenon and has received heaps of praise from those lacking experience when it comes to cooking up Indian culinary sensations.

Maria, 29, from Juffair, launched her venture five years ago after marrying Bahrain-raised investment banker Jose Paul Martin back home in India before settling down in the kingdom. She said: ‘When I moved to Bahrain my Aunt Tessy gave me a diary of all her old recipes and soon I began using them. I even began experimenting and introducing a few additions too.’

Impressed with her new cooking prowess, Jose suggested creating a blog where she could archive the collection of recipes as well as share them with friends and family. Word soon spread and thousands logged in for cooking tips and advice.

Jose, 32, said: ‘We started it as a very basic site with 4,000 hits a month but now we have 35,442 unique visitors, 210,177 page views a month and 1,234 subscribers for the page.

‘The content and the photography on the site is all Maria’s – with help from her aunt’s family treasures! She compliments the food with a picture – sometimes taking up to 30 minutes to capture the perfect image of a single dish!’

The site now boasts more than 200 recipes of traditional homemade Keralite dishes as well as other delicacies. Maria, 29, said: ‘I love bakery items in particular and used to live on them during my school days. Even now when I go to a bakery I am like a hen let loose in the moonlight!

‘Seeing my love for bakery items, my aunts used to say ‘we will get you married to a bakery owner’ and secretly, I loved that idea! The thought of an unlimited supply of meat puffs, laddoos, jilebis and jam rolls on a daily basis was too much to resist!’

Her relationship with Jose was almost heaven-sent when Jose revealed his childhood dream of one day opening a bakery. She said: ‘I guess we were destined to meet – a bakery-obsessed girl getting married to a would-be bakery owner!

‘We would love to have our own bakery or sweet shop some day because they are places where people usually come to celebrate their happiness and we would love to be a part of it.’

Jose’s favourite dish is Maria’s chicken biryani, which she has now mastered after failing miserably at the start. She said: ‘I still remember the first time I made biryani. It was our ‘one month’ wedding anniversary celebration and it had only been a few days since I had started cooking.

‘I wanted to surprise Jose and decided to make the dish for dinner but half way through it I realised that it needed to be baked. I didn’t have a clue how the oven worked – we only bought it the previous day and I hate reading operating manuals.

‘Since the whole dinner was supposed to be a surprise, I couldn’t ask Jose to help. Luckily, I recalled my aunt mentioning the ‘dum biryani’ method using the stove.

‘But this incident helped me a lot with the blog because I know exactly how a ‘novice cook’ thinks. I try my best to write the recipes accordingly, including even the simplest of things!’

‘What keeps me going is the feedback I receive from visitors. They are very generous with their comments and support and I feel blessed to have such wonderful followers.’

The website also has helped the couple make new friends and Maria hopes to add different cuisines to her recipe for success, for instance popular Italian dishes. Currently, she is planning her first published cook book which will feature simple, homemade recipes for young women.

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I really want MariasMenu to be an enjoyable and fun place. You can share your experience related to a recipe or give your suggestions or feedback. But remember, if you spam, be offensive, or just plain rude – I will delete those comments. Think of it as going to a friend’s house, wouldn’t you respect that friend?
  • My my my!…..Now I am a freind of a Celebrity…:)…Congrats Maria, congrats. U have been a life saviour to many, including me…..well deserved!

  • Its about two and a half months; during my google search for kerala receipes I came across Marias Menu. Most of them I tried and it came out well. I would say its best especially who are new to cooking. The amount said and all is very accurate. All the Best Maria!

    • Hi Soly,

      Thank you so much Soly :) I’m very happy to know that you like the recipes here.

      Sorry for the delayed rep :( and thanks again for the wishes.

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Amazing Maria….u must be feeling on cloud 9…… :)
    Really an achievement….very happy for u…..Wish u the best in life….gud luck!!!

  • Congratulations Maria, u deserve all the fame …………..as u mentioned, ur efforts in stating the minuetest details about cooking has helped me a lot……awaiting for ur cook book…..wish u very best in all ur efforts…

  • Congratulations Maria !! I love all your recipes and have subscribed to them since some time now .Keep Rocking !!

  • You deserve the write up Maria, I have been a silent follower of your blog since you started.thank you for sharing your recipes.I am very happy for you.congrats!

  • Read about u r site from gulfweekly.. will pass this site details to my wife . am sure she will like it very much …:)

  • HI Maria
    congratulations!! I am a regular reader of your blog.I have tried many recipes from your blog and came out well.I have started a food blog recently.Could you please help me to find a solution for adding my URL in the Google search engine?Expecting your reply

    Amina

  • It’s fantastic that you are getting the appreciation you deserve….great going :)
    All the best for your book once again!

    Cheers,
    Mini

  • Congrats to you, Maria.

    Your blog was introduced to me by a very close friend from Kenya. We were casually chatting and he mentioned that he has made some yummy beef dish for the weekly guys nite. Since I was engaged and being aware of my cooking skills (more like lack of it), Navin suggested using this blog from where he takes his recepies.

    I tried Beans and Carrot thoran right away since I love it. Insant success at home!! :) Thanks to you..

    Now I am married.. to Jessil, whose mom cooks the most yummiest dishes I have ever tasted. So here I am looking for receipes to match his well pampered tastebuds. My cooking has to got where Amma’s have. But our blog makes it really easy for those of us who are true virgins in the kitchen.

    Maria, you have indeed saved the day and my face as a cook. Kiddos to you, Jose who suggested this blog and Tessy Aunty for all that mouth watering dishes.

    • Hi Rohini,

      Thank you so much dear for writing such a sweet comment. Please convey my special thanks to your friend as well :)

      I’m so happy to know that the recipes here helps you. Hope your husband also like it.

      I’ll convey your regards to Jose & Tessy aunty too :)

      All the best & happy cooking :)

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Its a Proud moment again…..Congrats….I should call me a lazy blog follower .lazy to comment ..I have tried many of your recipes including Mutton Biriyani , Dark chocolate Roulade and stuffed Bun… and came out really good.When I moved to US 3 years ago I also thought about a blog..Again it was my laziness ..I didnt start one .Now I have made up my mind and just started one..Only after I started the blog I realized the effort you all take to come out with a post…Keep Up the Good work..Congrats once again Maria..

    • Hi Jisha,

      Thank you so much :)

      I’m really happy to know that you have tried many recipes from here…

      Hope you enjoy blogging & continue with it. All the best!!

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Nivedita – thank you :)

    Shabs – thank you so much dear…coming to the celebrity part…I guess I should say that…I’m a close friend of a celebrity food photographer :)

    Thanks Nisha, KS, TBC,Priya, Ancy, Nitha, Ragini, Divya :)

  • Hi Maria,

    Thanks for all the recipes u have been mailing me. I have tried some of them and they turned out good.
    I have tried baking cakes, muffins and pancakes. Sometimes they turn out good but sometimes i fail. May be i am not using the right amount of baking powder and baking soda. Since you are an expert, i thought of asking your guidance and tips . Tell me whether i should use both (baking powder and soda) or any one and the correct measurement if i am using 1 cup of flour.
    My pancakes become soft and fluffy but there r no tiny holes in it. Can u please tell me what mistake i made.
    Waiting for your reply.
    Thanks and regards.
    evette

    • Hi Evette,

      Thanks for trying the recipes from here :)

      About adding baking powder & soda, it depends on the recipe. For baking, the most important thing is to use exact measurements to get a successful result.

      So if you are using a particular recipe, please stick on to that completely.

      About the pancakes, I think the holes are not coming because of less raising agent (BP or Baking soda). I’ve made pancakes using readymade powders n I follow the instructions on the packet.

      Cheers
      Maria

  • feeling proud of you dear. am a regular visitor of your blog. awesome and perfect have only these words to say about your site. am dying to buy your cookbook

    loads of hugs

    • Hi Sumi,

      Thanks a ton dear for posting such a sweet comment :) Thanks again for visiting us regularly…

      Best wishes to you too..

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Hi Maria,

    Hearty congrats. You deserve this acknowledgement. As u mentioned above, ur recipes are very simple to follw. So keep it up.

    Regards

    Lekshmi

    • Hi Lekshmi,

      Thank you dear :) It’s really nice to know that you find the recipes here simple. Thanks again for your encouraging words.

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Hey Maria,

    I am just a silent visitor to your website. I was recommended by one of my friends. After that I have been a great fan of your wonderful recipes. Especially days when I am really confused what to make for my husband and kid for a suprise. The Website has helped me a lot. Great Work. I was a little hesistant to mail up. Kind of start up issues. We reside in UAE.
    The Only comment I could give is Simply great. And you make your family proud. Wish you all success and your family too.

    Regards,
    Shreya.

    • Hi Shreya,

      Thanks a ton for such a wonderful comment. I appreciate very much your effort for leaving a comment here :) It’s really nice to know that you like the recipes here and also its enjoyed by your family. Thank you for your wishes too.

      Wish you also the very best in life! God Bless!

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Dear maria
    My name is inaz I,m a keralite married to a place called guravayur but setteled in thirunelvelly I’m a regular visitor of uakr blog tried out 2 -3 dishes it was a big success my husband liked it a lot just like u I was a real horrible cook after marraige but now I’ve been an expert just like I’ve trying out a lot of recepies of my own and recepies from various cookery books,tv shows and from the netm-‘m a big fan of yours and would like to congratulate on your success

    • Dear Inaz,

      Thank you so much for your wishes. It’s nice to know that you visit this space often and also tried recipes from here :)

      All the best to you too..

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Hi Maria !!

    The fact that I had to scroll quite a bit to leave a comment testifies to the fact of your success !!!!.
    You dont know me, but I definitely appreciate your love for food !!….i tried your chicken stew the other day for our easter morning breakfast !!…I’m a newly married woman living in Dubai…bored to my wits with only cooking keeping me company !! (bored only when my sweetheart is busy working !! )…..

    Anyways…chicken stew was a hit !!!….even I was surprised !….

    You’re little tips including how to make the coconut milk as well as cashew paste was life saving !!!!!!

    One more help from you Maria …I needed some recipes/ideas for evening snacks ! I’m a self proclaimed fraud mallu whereas my better half yearns for it !!…Any ideas ??

  • Hi Sarah,

    Thanks a bunch for such a lovely comment. Wish you both a wonderful & blessed married life!

    Nice to know that my chicken stew was a part of your Easter menu :)

    Here are some Kerala style tea time snacks, hope you find it interesting!

    1. Sukhiyan: http://www.mariasmenu.com/desserts/sukhiyan

    2. Avalose podi: http://www.mariasmenu.com/vegetarian/avalose-avilose-podi

    3. Vattayappam: http://www.mariasmenu.com/vegetarian/vattayappam-kerala-snack

    4. Pancake: http://www.mariasmenu.com/snacks-starters/simple-pancake

    5. Kozhukatta: http://www.mariasmenu.com/vegetarian/kozhukatta

    6. Egg chutney kabab: http://www.mariasmenu.com/vegetarian/egg-chutney-kebab

    7. Unnakkai: http://www.mariasmenu.com/snacks-starters/unnakkai-banana-coconut-sweet

    Happy cooking :)

    Cheers
    Maria

  • Hi Maria,
    I’m Janice, in Dubai… i’m a recent visitor of your excellent site. 
    I ‘m having 2 bunches of cheera (red spinach) and I have no clue how to cook this. when i checked for the recipes, only palak recipes are coming
    could you please help me out and share these recipes

    • Hi Janice,

      Thanks for dropping in. I make cheera thoran just like any other thoran. I’ll share a basic outline of what I make below.

      Clean & wash the cheera well & chop it finely. Add some small onion, green chilly, turmeric powder & curry leaves to grated coconut. Mix it well using your hands. Heat oil & crackle mustard seeds. Add the coconut mixture & fry it for a few mins. Add chopped cheera & salt. Mix well. Sprinkle some water. Cover & cook. give a stir in between. Cheera gets cooked fast, around 7-9 mins on low flame. If you feel that its getting sticked to the vessel, sprinkle some more water.

      Hope this helps..

      Cheers
      Maria

  • hi chechi, 
    i’m juvaria , frm saudi arabia,,,,, i love all ur recipes and i try each of ur recipes evryday,,, ur photography skills and the way of describing each recipe is appreciable,,, luv ur site a lot,,,,,,, my hubby is a grt fan of naadan dishes  so im a usual visitor of ur site,, keep goin  waiting for more and more recipes frm u,,,,gonna try melting moments now :D

    • Hi Juvariashifaz,

      Thanks a ton dear for the lovely comment! So we are neighbors right? do you come to Bahrain?

      Hope the melting moments came out well :)

      Take care…

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Hi Maria,
    I am a recent visitor to ur site. Its interesting……….. i didnt tried anything yet bt will try soon…. ur dishes seems to be so simple to make………… and my belated congratzzzzzzzzz so happy happy happy for ur success…………. :)

  • Hi Maria,
    Thanks to you I can now cook our traditional keralite dishes confidently. Have tried your appams and chillie gobi and its was a hit. However, I tried the appams for a party of 20 adults and had taken the measurements 3 times more but the batter was very loose and the appams a flop. I think i got the measurements wrong somewhere.  Would appreciate if you could provide measurements for more than 10 people too for dishes that can be made in bulk. Thank you and all the best in your venture.

    • Hi Gaby,

      Glad that this site helps you with cooking traditional Kerala dishes. Thanks a lot for the comment!

      The thing is I’ve never cooked for more than 8 people at a time, that too very rarely. I usually cook for just the two of us, so it’s kinda difficult to give me the qty for such large number :( Hope you understand.

      Cheers
      Maria

  • pepper chicken : tried and tested for the second time, great result. got tonnes of appreciation from my friends. Hope u vl add more recipies.
    thank u so much maria
    arjun. akhil. arun , shibin

  • My wife who dint know cooking was introduced to this site and now she is cooking almost all the recipes… and i have taken printouts of almost all the things i need from this site.. Thanks for making such a helpfull website.. :)

    • Hi Smilu,

      Thank you very much for your comment! I’m really happy to know that this website helps your wife with cooking. Please do convey my thanks to her as well :)

      Cheers
      Maria

  • maria chechi…. one thing i must tell you, what ever doubt a beginner will feel, you will have the answer for it in your “Notes” section. recipes are simple and i trust you completely when i try some recipes from here. even if you say put salt in payasam, i will do it, since you asked me to do it. you simply rocks….. and all hats off to Jose ettan too…. without a supporting spouse, a woman can’t be this much successfull…

    • Hi Deepthi,

      Thanks a ton dear for your lovely comment. I’m so touched to know that you’ve that much faith in the recipes posted here :)

      I’ll show your comment to Jose, he will be very happy and yes, he is the one who keeps pushing me to do this :)

      Cheers
      Maria

  • Wow! Amazing… Collection.. Thank you Maria you surely inspire me…great work!

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