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November 4, 2021

A Catholic Foodie: Trini Cooking with Ria

Have you ever heard of the famous ‘Trini Cooking with Ria’ blog? It is a popular international blog that features some of our favourite Trini recipes. Her recipes for sada roti and dhalpuri have had more than one million views on YouTube and is the go-to recipe for most Trinis in the diaspora, but here’s a little-known fact: she is also a Catholic foodie!

Born in a little village in Central Trinidad, she was the toast of the community when she passed for Holy Faith Convent—the only girl from the village to pass for the prestigious central secondary school in that year. The experience there was perhaps the foundation that led to her, many years later, becoming a Catholic.

This multi-talented genius migrated to the US in the early 1990s right after A’ Levels, but her desire to eat her local cuisine led to her always seeking out the best possible ways to make her own dishes.

Ria’s first memory of cooking was when she was nine years old and her mother had gone to give birth to her sister. As the older of the two siblings at home, she felt compelled to cook for her father. “I clearly remember the process of kneading the flour to make the roti and I fell in love with the process,” But, she confesses, it would take her more than 20 years to master the skill.

All her recipes are simple, chemical, and preservative free. They are also traditional recipes from her mother, her aunts, her uncles, grandparents, and neighbours that she has tried to perfect. Ria admits to being a perfectionist, so she has tried each recipe countless times until she has mastered it.

Her creation of the blog ‘Trini cooking with Ria’ is an offshoot of who Ria really is, a person who is always trying to share love and positivity to everyone she meets. It is no surprise, therefore, that the main goal behind her blog and YouTube channel is to inspire persons from all walks of life to get into the kitchen and “prepare meals that nourish your body, mind and soul”.

Ria says her goal is to encourage people to aim for satisfaction, not perfection, to live passionately, love freely, laugh abundantly and eat mindfully.


Flour Parsad Serves 8-10


1 can Carnation evaporated milk (12 oz)

1 cup whole milk

2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar, (8 oz)

1 cup ghee (clarified butter) (I prefer Cow Brand Ghee), (8 oz)

2 cups all-purpose flour (approx. .532 lb or 8.5 oz)

1 cup golden raisins (Optional) (5 oz)

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, or more to your liking

1 – 2 teaspoons ground elaichi (cardamom)


Cream of Wheat Parsad Serves 8-10

1 can Carnation evaporated milk (12 oz)

1 cup organic whole milk 2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar, or more for a sweeter result

3/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) (I prefer Cow Brand Ghee) 1 cup all purpose flour 1 cup instant cream of wheat (farina) ½ cup golden raisins (Optional) 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, or more for a more gingery flavor 1 teaspoon ground elaichi (cardamom), or more to taste

For a sweeter parsad, add 1.5 cups sugar.

1. Peel, grate ginger and measure ingredients.

2. Make Syrup: In a small saucepan with a long handle, add evaporated milk, whole milk, one cup of water and sugar and place over a low flame. Stir until sugar has melted. Keep on low flame. [A few times I added the ginger to the milk and it curdled, so I no longer bother. You may continue to use the milk if it curdled, I didn’t notice a difference to the final product]

3. To cook:

Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat (my wide all clad dutch oven worked wonders and cooked the flour in record time), add ghee.

4. When it melts, gradually sprinkle in flour (or sift flour into pot) and stir, using a wooden spoon in a rapid back and forth motion, scraping the flour from the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn. You sprinkle in flour to prevent lumps in the parsad. [If the flour is becoming brown too quickly, lower the heat.] Cook (parch), stirring continuously, scraping the bottom of the pot, until the flour is golden brown, like the colour of tea with milk (or a little lighter if that’s your preference), and light in weight, about 5-7 minutes (may take longer on your stove). If you prefer a lighter colour, cook on the lowest heat for a longer period 17-25 minutes.

5. If you are making the cream of wheat version, add cream of wheat and continue to stir continuously, about 3 minutes. If not, skip this step.

6. Add raisins, grated ginger and elaichi and cook 3 more minutes until raisins are plump.

7. Start pouring the hot milk mixture gradually (one cup or ladle at a time) into the pot, (and carefully since the syrup will splatter). Feel free to ask your significant other or other trustworthy person to assist you in pouring the hot milk mixture into the pot. I pour one cup at a time–but quickly–because I find that it’s easier to turn that way. Turn vigorously and rapidly in a back and forth motion, until the cream of wheat is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed, about 5-7 minutes–depending on your pot or the heat. It may look “pasty” for a little while, don’t lose courage or confidence, success is just around the corner–just keep those arms moving.

8. The parsad is finished when it starts to clump together, your arms are dead tired and sweat is pouring from your forehead. No exaggeration, and most importantly, the parsad is fluffy, pillowy soft, light and the aroma heavenly. [It may seem a little greasy, but as it cools, the grease will be absorbed to keep it at the right “parsad” texture.]