Friday, August 27, 2010

Baked Potatoes | Boiling Vegetables in Microwave | Basics in Microwave

The morning rush hours really demand you be on toes with dishes are all planned. While I was proud that I was always planning my menu, there are days when I lax on them a bit. Also there are days when Konda never wants what I plan for her. I never thought there will be a day when she will refuse Dosa for any meal, but it has indeed happened!

So the breakfast dishes have taken a turn and really cause me so much tension, trying to make something that she will eat. These days she is got more fond of bread. So every other day its either Bread Pizza, Bread Jam, or any of the many things one can think with bread slices that a 9 year old can eat.

I also decided that she can't refuse Aloo Paratha for lunch. It at least twice a week, its either Aloo paratha or Paneer Paratha. Thats when I found the Microwave to be a blessing. All I need is a potato for the paratha. While it was such a tough job previously, trying to pressure cook it and fighting with it to get cooked on time, after finding out the ease with which one can boil/bake potatoes, I have never looked back!

Thanks to the Microwave Chef, I now have maximized the usage of Microwave to the next level! Aloo paratha gets done in flat 7 mins, yes I have timed it of course. 

See this is how soft it turns out after being baked. Refer the Easy Aloo Paratha for this quick dish to be made.

Take the potatoes that you want to boil. Wash well and cut lightly with a knife. This is needed to ensure the potatoes don't burst out. The cuts can be a light strike through the potatoes.

For 1 medium potato I normally Micro for 4 mins. But with 4 big potatoes you can micro for total 7 - 8 minutes. Keep the potatoes on the turn top and set the timing.

Once done, the skin will shrink. You immediately place the potatoes in water for 2 mins and peel the skin. The skin peels off very easily when it is still warm. But be careful with the heat.

Potato peeling was very so easy! See how nicely it has come off.

The Baked Potato Patties were made faster this way!

The other vegetables that gets quickly boiled and saves loads of time are Drumstick and Arbi etc. These days almost all vegetables get boiled the same way.

Boiling Drumbstick for the Sambar, makes the job such a easy breezy thing!

Boiling Arbi / Colocasia is normally a tedious process as it takes a while to get boiled. But micro cooking does the job quite simple. All the Arbi dry sautes can be done so easily now.

All vegetables will have to be just immersed in water, no salt should be added while boiling. Micro for 10 mins. If you are unsure of the time, micro for 5 mins and increase gradually.

This naturally becomes an essential part of 365 days of Microwave Cooking!

Hope all of you are planning for the Potluck Party this month!, expecting you all there..

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Low Calorie No butter Paneer Butter Masala | Microwave Paneer Butter Masala | Step By Step Recipes

Ten years ago or more, when I wasn't aware of the blogs, I was always searching the net for the Paneer Butter Masala recipe that you get in restaurants. Finally I had to settle to the one on this blog which is popular as it was adapted from the popular Chef, Sanjeev Kapoor. Since then we have modified the recipe in many ways that each time we get a feeling that we are making a new dish.  Even then, this is one recipe that comes quite closest to what I have in mind.

That reminds me of the time we bloggers met, where Sra got a Paneer dish.(Will have to ask Sra if this was the dish she got) All of us were drooling over it as it was so rich and creamy. Infact over this weekend dinner I tasted one of the best Paneer Butter Masala, in that it was really really rich and so creamy. You can't feel the gravy, something nice just slides in as you tuck in succulent paneer pieces. And you never keep count of how many naans went in.

Talking of all these rich creamy paneer dishes, I really wonder how a low calorie no butter Paneer Butter Masala still tasted so good. This happened in the Microwave Demo sessions. The chef is a young girl who can whip up some wonderful creations in Microwave within minutes. The session merits some enthusiastic Microwave buffs, who want to use their microwaves "Beyond Reheating". So one can be sure of some really quick and tasty recipes coming out from the session. One onlooker even confessed of loosing weight after started cooking for herself completely in microwave. Now that is something I can wish for!

Even though I assumed and presumed that I will end up adapting lot of recipes to Microwave cooking, I only make handful. And this recipe that the chef showed us, I made it the same night with amazing good results. And yes I was left wondering how this dish tasted so good without even a pinch of butter in it.

She made Paneer Butter Masala along with Naans. I came back and tried her version of Naan too. I make my Naans differently but this was very good too. I thought I might as well capture 3 ways of making Naans at home as a ready reckon.

For today it is going to be Low Calorie No butter Paneer Butter Masala! Quite a mouthful right!

 Step By Step Method of making Microwave Paneer Butter Masala

Grind Onions to a smooth paste.

Puree the tomatoes using water.

In a microwave safe bowl, add oil along with all the whole spices. Micro for 1 min.

Then add the onion paste, stir well.

Micro for 3 mins.

Then add Ginger Garlic paste in between, mix well. Micro again for the remaining time.

Meanwhile wash the paneer cube.

Cut into small pieces.

The onion mix is almost ready, will look like this.

Add the tomato puree to the onion paste, stir well. Micro for 5 mins

After 2 mins, the Onion tomato paste will look like this.

To that add Red chili powder, store bought powder was used, hence it is so bright.

Give it a quick stir!

Micro for the remaining 3 mins.

Remove, add cashew paste.

Add 1 cup of water, mix well and micro for 5 mins.

Remove and add the paneer pieces.

Add more water if required. Micro for 10 more mins.

Low Calorie No butter Paneer Butter Masala

Ingredients Needed:

Paneer - 250 gms
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Bey Leaf - 1
Cardamon - 2
Fennel Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Cashew Nuts - 10 whole
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
OIl - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

In a microwave safe bowl, add oil along with whole spices. Micro for 1 min.

then add the ground onion paste, micro for 3 mins.

When it is 2 mins, remove and add ginger garlic paste. Stir well and cook for the balance 1 min.

Add the tomato puree, micro for 5 mins.

Meanwhile soak cashews and grind to a smooth paste.

At this stage cashew paste can also be added.

Add 1 cup water for more consistency and micro for 5 mins.

Wash and cut Paneer into cubes. Remove the bowl, add the paneer pieces, salt, and add water if required.

Micro for 10 mins.

Total Cooking time in Micro mode is 20 mins.

You may feel that it is quite a hassle checking on it at such intervals. But it doesn't appear so when you actually make it.

Without butter or cream, this dish turned out very creamy. The bright red colour is because of store bought powder, you may use a pinch of red food colour if you prefer. But it is normally not required.

Some may add Tomato Sauce in this recipe, but I don't recommend that.

Went very well with Naans. This gravy being so quick and easy, I am sure you can try and enjoy it yourself!

This of course goes for the party I have on the blog for celebrating 3 years of blogging! Hope you are joining in..
Happy week ahead!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lunch Box Series : LBS#56 ~ Beans Mulagootal & Parippu Thogayal!

I have always admired Aparna's pictures and her stories. I normally never go further to read the recipe in most cases when I am admiring the pictures more. So when I clicked her menu, I was surprised at how well she had lined them up. I have always wanted to put a picture for all my index pages, but never came around doing that. Seeing her Index page, it surely makes me want to do it right away!

I was excited seeing her Palakkad Cuisine. Kerala Cuisine is one of my favorite ones and especially after blogging I have come to know that even within that there are so many different styles.  Then seeing that she has a good collection of baked goods, I remembered I have not yet got my muffin tray from Divya, who was sweet enough to get me one from her native. Hopefully I should get it within this month for me to attempt some baking from Aparna.

By the way which reminds me that T&T is until September 15th and not end of this month as I wrongly mentioned.

I wanted to choose something that I could carry for my lunch and I decided on Beans Molagutal as I remembered that beautiful picture from memory. Aparna mentioned that this dish is bit bland so the parupu thogayal goes well as a combo. So made both the dishes for afternoon lunch. Since this is a lunch box Series, I had to hurriedly take a group photo. Requested Hubby dear to take individual pictures to highlight the dishes more.

Today's Lunch Box had

Beans Mulagootal
Parippu Thogayal
Plain Rice
Curd Rice

I know I am posting my lunch box series after a long time. I felt I haven't been cooking much differently these days. Guess I have till rethink and plan for some exciting lunch..:)

Beans Mulagootal

Ingredients Needed:

French Beans - 1 cup
Toor Dal - 1 cup
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste

For the paste

Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/2 cup
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Green Chillies - 2 long


Cooking Oil - 1 - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds, Urad dal - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves few

Normally Coconut oil is used here, but I used regular oil.

Method to prepare:

Pressure cook toor dal for 4 whistles, once the pressure falls, remove and add finely chopped beans. Pressure again for another 2 whistles or till the dal is soft.

Meanwhile in a pan heat oil, roast the urad dal. Add cumin seeds. Fry till they start crackling. Then once cooled grind along with green chilies and coconut to a smooth paste adding water.

Once the pressure is off, add this paste and 1 cup water. Bring to boil. In the pan, heat oil add mustard and urad dal along with curry leaves.

Then pour this over the boiling dal.

Notes: Aparna added only 1 chili, while I added 2, still it wasn't very spicy. I know this kootu is supposed to be a bit bland. So you can make this dal chutney and spice the meal.

Parippu Thogayal

This one is made with Toor dal, Urad dal with Coconut. Since this is spicy Aparna says its a good combination with the bland mulagootal! I must agree with that for sure. It indeed was good. And my colleagues ate the chutney as such.

Ingredients Needed

Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/2 cup
Toor dal - 2 tbsp
Urad Dal - 1 tbsp
Red Chilies - 6 nos
Tamarind - small marble size
Hing/ Asafetida a pinch
Curry leaves few
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with oil, roast toor dal, Urad dal well till they start turning golden. Add the chilies towards the end along with hing and curry leaves.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Grind with coconut, tamarind and salt adding little water into a coarse paste.

Serve this with mulagootal and rice.

This thogayal will go well with plain dosa too.

I really had a great lunch thanks to Aparna. This is similar to the kootu that is made in Tamil Nadu except I never knew if one adds Urad dal to it. But on the hole a wholesome meal in making!

This is for Tried and Tasted, event hosted at my space, an event by Lakshmi of Kitchen Chronicles

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

365 Days of Microwave Cooking - July Edition

Finally the July Edition of 365 Days of Microwave Cooking Entries are here! Since announcing I have been cooking so much in Microwave that I am now hesitant to post them all as those will fill up all the days that I post...:)

I have also included the convectional cooking that I have done using my Microwave. I have a Microwave Convectional Oven, so I want to assume any cooking done in Oven is making full use of the gadget.

Light Meal / Breakfast Dishes:

Janet M's Peanutty Energy Bars
Nivedita Thadani's 3 ways to make stuffed noodles
PJ's Full of fiber pasta
Priya Suresh's MW Wheat Bread Upma
Sweatha J's Microwave Muesli


Nivedita Thadani's Microwave Masala Paapad
Preeti Deo's Suralichya wadya


PJ's Beetroot Soup
PJ's Forbidden rice noodles soup

Jayasree's Mango Murabba
Swapna's Pineapple Jam


Srivalli's Sambar Rice

Side Dishes

Kalyani Rajamani's Microwave Kara Kulumbu
Mina Joshi  Bharella mutter bhat   
Nivedita Thadani  Eggplant cups stuffed with veg and nuts   
Nivedita Thadani  Aloo Matar Sabji
Priya Suresh MW Cabbage & Drumstick Leaves Stir fry   
Srivalli Yellow Moong Dal
Swati Sapna Lemon pepper baby potatoes   


Deepti Sidana's Milk Peda
Priya Mitharwal's Gajar Aur Mawa Ka Halwa
Priya Suresh's MW Watermelon Halwa
Srivalli's Carrot Halwa
Srivalli's Sooji Halwa

Baked / Dessert

Jayashree's Microwave cake
Nivedita's Black forest cake in Microwave
Srivalli's Basic Biscuit
Krishnaveni's Peaches and Sour Cream

That was quite a collection! Looking forward for the Microwave Potluck party and adding them to this on going Collection. Thank you everybody for contributing. I haven't missed out any entry, if so my apologies, pls let me know!

I will be including a master list of all entries as each month entries are received.
Enjoy your Sunday!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

On the way to "One Million Visits"

Yes, I wanted to wait until it actually happens. But I was very excited not to hold on till that happens. In few hours time, Cooking 4 all Seasons will have 1,000,000 visits!

My dear readers and friends, I must thank you all for making this happen!

I started tracking the stats few months after blogging. But beginning of this year, I noticed that in another 8 month's time this was going to come. And here is it!

This milestone really makes it so very special and I wanted to thank everybody for making it possible!

So a big Thanks for all the encouragement and support I get from all my readers, blogging friends and my family.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Announcing Tried & Tasted Event!

When Lakshmi of Kitchen Chronicles mailed me to ask if I could host this month's edition of Tried and Tasted, I felt the tables were turned. There I was when this event started, waited couple of months with blatant breath in fear of being on the spot. Not that I wouldn't mind, mind you! But it is surely gave me a days of sleepless nights..:) Now I can say very happily that I can host this event without a fear!

This is a blog event where a blog is chosen and all other bloggers are supposed to cook from the blog of the month. It is my extreme pleasure to choose Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen as the Blog of the Month!

To be honest, I found it extremely hard to choose just one. I finalized on Aparna's simply because not only is she such a good friend, but she has such a varied collection which always made me want to try them. Her pictures really tempt you to run to your kitchen to make them right away, guess most times I am left admiring them instead of doing just that!

So now is the right time, just browse through her collection, and simply cook away!

Yay, Lakshmi must be wondering why I am yapping so much, let me get on with her rules!

And please before we go on to the rules, there is a roll call for enthu hostess to come forward to host this wonderful event! It is open from November 2010. Please mail Lakshmi at or you can leave a comment at her blog.

And before that let me thank Ksenia of  for creating the logo for T&T every month. The logo for this month will be updated shortly once I hear from her. Thank you Ksenia!

Now finally for the Rules!

  • Cook any recipe(s) from "My Diverse Kitchen" and post about it. Stay as true to the original recipe(s) as possible. Therefore, there is no need for re-posting it, simply link to the original post :-)
  • There is no time-frame for the original recipe. It can be as old as my grand-mother or as fresh as a mung bean sprout.
  • Have you cooked from Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen before? As this event is all about tasting and reflecting on the taste, older posts are also welcome. Simply link back to Aparna's post, this post and mention T&T event and Lakshmi's post. Please always link to both sites, so both blogs are given credit and you are avoiding copyright fuss. Feel free to use the logo.
  • Email me your details with Subject T&T to  with your name, your post URL as well as the original URL and a picture.
  • Deadline is 15th September and the round up will be posted within a week.
    Non-bloggers are more than welcome to participate (after all, our posts are mainly being written for them). Simply e-mail me with your experience of what you cooked and please include a picture.
    The round up will be posted during the first week in next month.
Looking forward to enjoy a very diverse cooking!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thakkali Sadam 2 | Tomato Rice - Simple n Quick | Lunch Box Recipes

Sunday morning was exceptionally hectic. I had to get done the breakfast and the lunch box within 15 minutes. Breakfast was half way through and the lunch box was not even started. As hubby dear had some work through the day, I convinced to carry a lunch box. Even though I was all prepared to tackle it on time, there wasn't enough in the end. This Thakali Sadam that I saw in Indo's space had caught my attention and I was planning to do it.

The recipe was almost similar to the Thakkali Sadam I make, but with small changes. Imagine to that I went and changed further more. Meaning it calls for Mint, while I had none. I happily forgot Ginger. Yes the rice came out very well. Chinnu was so happy that I made Biryani early in the morning. He wanted to eat that for breakfast but Poori Channa was tempting enough. Though he happily ate it for lunch and as an evening snack. He even asked for it for dinner, I know I am going to make this quite often.

The 15 minutes I had was hardly enough for me to click in steps, so I have shot in different angles as I had some time after hubby dear left for work.

Thakali Sadam ~ Tomato Rice

Rice - 1 & 1/2 cups
Onions - 1 medium
Green Chilies - 2 long
Tomato puree - 2 big
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves  few

Mustard seeds, Curry leaves

Roasted Powder
Coriander Seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Red Chilies - 2 -3 long

Cooking Method : Pressure Cooker

Method to prepare:

Dry roast the spices and grind to a fine powder when cooled. Keep it aside.

Wash and Soak Rice for 15 minutes

In a pressure cooker, take oil, add mustard Curry leaves, onions along with slit green chilies. Sauté till the onions start turning colour.
Drain the water from rice and add to the pan. Sauté well for couple of mins.

Meanwhile puree the tomatoes and add the puree to the pan. Add 3 cups of water, turmeric, roasted powder along salt.

Garnish coriander leaves, Pressure cook till done. I normally put it on for 3 whistles.
This tasted great on its own. But you can serve this with just plain curds/yogurt if you prefer.

I didn’t add grated ginger and mint. We felt that ginger may have added good flavor too, so maybe next time I will add it.

Do try this if you are looking for 15 mins One pot Meal!

Check Mixed Rice Varieties for more ideas

Have a great week ahead.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Potato Peas Mini Samosa | How to make Mini Samosas | Step By Step Samosa Recipe

One of the many things I love about my city is its unpredictable weather at this time of the year. It can be quite hot during the day and without a clue it will pour. Literally the downpour will be so much that you can’t believe it was scorching hot minutes ago. Even more exciting will be when you are on a bike. One moment you can feel the sharp drops hitting you, within minutes the sky will be clear. If like me, you love getting drenched in rain, then I am sure you will love the experience. Everyday Athamma will remind me to carry my raincoat; I cite my rush hour for forgetting to carry and get back home fully drenched.

Chill rainy evenings are when you would want to bite into hot spicy pakodas or samosas. When I think of samosas, I can feel so many fond memories washing by. Samosas are my all time anytime favorite thing. Infact there was a time when if offered at anytime I was all ready to eat it.  I think I spoke about the samosas we used to get from my College canteen. The stuffing was with onions and the outer crispy part was so greasy all the time. Yet it used to be so delicious.

Infact the samosas that I used to make at home was so perfect with no traces of oil, yet I loved the shopwala one better. Don’t we all do that! That reminds me of the article I was reading today on deep frying. The article spoke about things I always believed in. It was about how deep fried food should not be actually greasy. If it is greasy, it means it wasn’t cooked at the right temperature. This applies to frying pooris too. When you get the oil to the right temperature and fry them, the pooris are never oily.

Coming to the Samosas, Amma told me that Konda asked her for Samosas and that she planned to make it for the evening. She asked me if I cared to join her in making them. Well I didn’t need a second invitation. She was planning to make Potato Peas stuffing and was remembering the many occasions when I used to make it years ago. There is no time like cooking together. I have always enjoyed cooking with Amma. The tidbits she shares, the stories we remember from past. The events related to the dish we are cooking, everything comes to mind and we ponder over each and savour the moment all over again. I am looking forward to the time when Konda will join us.

For the recipe part, we normally used to make it with only All purpose flour. But we thought we could make it a bit healthier by making it more of Wheat flour and a bit of APF in it. I am hoping to make the other stuffing we make too. Since this was for the kids, we made it mini sized ones.

I always felt it very hard to explain the folding while making a samosa, so felt taking in steps will be much clearer!

Ok I guess its enough right, I usually keep to two but these were really so cute in all different angles I couldn't resist sharing them!

Boil the potatoes and get the stuffing ready!

 Divide the dough into small equal balls.

Dust the rolling board and roll it out to a thin layer

Using a knife, cut vertical strips like this. We made even thinner ones for smaller Samosas.

Scoop a teaspoon of stuffing and place on the dough as shown in the picture.

Well one is already done!

First start from one side.

Press it done to ensure the stuffing is fully covered.

Turn to the other side like in the picture.

Continue folding the stuffing on both sides.

You will almost reach the end soon..
Then shape them correctly making sure nothing peeps out!

Heat a pan with oil. Once the oil is hot, reduce the flame, cook on low flame till it is golden in colour.

Cook on both sides.

Potato Peas Mini Samosas

For the dough/Outer Layer

Wheat flour – 1 cup
All purpose flour/ Maida – ½ cup
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tsp

For the Stuffing

Potatoes – 250 gms
Fresh Peas – ½ cup
Onions – 1 medium
Cumin Seeds 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Green Chilies -1
Milk  ½ cup

For more spicy stuffing

Red chili powder ½ tsp
Garam Masala – ½ tsp
Roasted Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Oil – 1 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Method to prepare

For the dough

In a bowl, take both the flours and mix well. Slowly add water to knead into a stiff dough.  Rest it aside covering it with a wet muslin cloth.
For the stuffing
Boil potatoes to soft, peel and mash well.

Heat a pan with oil, sauté onions till brown along with green chilies. Then add the peas, fry well. Add milk and cook till the peas are done. This needs to be done in low flame.

Then add the mashed potatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients if you want to make it spicier. Simmer with lid covered for 5 mins.

Remove and allow cooling.

For making the Samosas

Pinch out small equal balls from the dough. Roll out one ball into thin layer, cut vertically into small strips of 3” as shown in the picture.

Scoop small portions of the stuffing on each layer.

Starting from the end closer to you, roll it diagonally over the stuffing. Press the sides. Then fold the layer upward towards the left. Continue doing this till you are completely done.

Then press the sides to make sure there are no openings left. Seal by pressing the sides into small triangle shape.

Meanwhile heat the pan with oil. When it reaches the right temperature, lower the flame.

Always fry in small batches so that the temperature is always at the correct degree. Gently slide the samosas and fry them in low flame. Flip and cook on both sides.

When you see that golden colour on the samosas, you are sure its done.

Drain on a kitchen towel.

Stuffing can be very innovative as per your liking. Check out the Keema Samosa that I did many months ago.

Notes: For that crispy outer layer, frying it at the right temperature is very important. If the oil is too hot, the dough tends to get browned very quickly and soggy within minutes.

The wheat flour didn’t make this any less tasty. Infact it was as crisp as the regular one. I made the stuffing spicier for hubby dear.

Kids enjoyed every bite of these mini samosas.

Konda was telling me that I should next make with other stuffing. What stuffing do you remember when you think of samosas?

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