Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Breakfast Mela ~ Round up 1

It's became a custom to think of a mela for the blog's 4th birthday. Cooking 4 all Seasons turned 4 this April and I wanted to celebrate the occasion with a Mela, which was on a break for a while. Breakfast seem very ideal as I always run short of ideas when it comes to planning a breakfast menu.

Melas have always been successful with many entries coming my way. With appx 213 entries, Breakfast mela is literally a feast to enjoy. I am still counting, so wanted it to be posted in 4 parts so that you will get a chance to read through all the entries.

I want to thank each one of you have been part of this celebration, I can't thank enough for all the support you give me.

As this is a round up in 4 parts, please do bear with me and let me know if your entry is missed by any chance, I know I have not but my sincere apologies if so..

First comes the baked dishes that can be served for Breakfast. Check out these interesting dishes..

Ambreen's Almond Cupcakes
Binitha Shajesh's Home-made Garlic Bread
Champa's Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread
Champa's Vegan Banana coconut Bread
Lavanya Selvaraj's Baked French Toast Casserole
Madhusmita's Cheese Puff Pastry

Nithu's Spinach and Artichoke Souffle
Paaka-Shaale's Take away breakfast cookies
Priya Suresh's Grapefruit Breakfast Eggless Cookies
Priya Suresh's Savoury Bellpepper & Broccoli Cake
Raji's Monkey Bread
Sobha Shyam's Vegetable-Egg Casserole with Soya chunks

Then we have some delicious muffins in many forms

Prathibha's Savory Cornmeal Muffins
Priya Suresh's  Eggless Orange Poppyseeds Muffins & Vegan Pineapple Muffins
Rituparna's Fresh Fig Muffins

Shylaja's Eggless Whole wheat oast & dates muffin
Sravani's Papaya Muffins
Sravani's Healthy Apple Muffins

Now a breakfast is not complete without a shake right! Check these cool ones and enjoy..

Jyoti Sethia's Strawberry Banana Shake & Dates Mocha Shake
Paaka-Shaale's Date and banana Granola

Priya Suresh's Apple Oats Smoothie & Mango & Cornflakes Smoothie
Suma Gandlur's Ragi Drink in 2 minutes

Now comes the combo dishes that you can make for breakfast, not only do you get to see the main dish but also the side dish.

Binitha Shajesh's Aloo Poori
Chithra's Potato Masala with Poori
Chitra and Dibs's Kumbakonam Kadappa
Harini Shrinivas's Vegetable Rava Kichidi
Krithika Rajgopal's Flax seed Watermelon Dosa and Moong dal Sambar

Laxmi Priya's Idli and Fried Coconut Chutney
Nirmala Gurunathan's Idiyappam and Stew
Nivedita Thadani's Puri Kurma
Nivedita Thadani's Tri Colored Chapatis and Tomato Chutney
PJ's Tadka bread with yogurt dip
Prathibha Garre's Uttha Rotti with Avarekaalu Benne Usli
Prathibha Garre's Rava Pongal with Pongal Gojju
Priti's Vade Kari
Raji's Chole Bhature
Raksha's Idli - Sambar
Richa Priyanka's Rava Ragi idlis and potato sagoo
Rinku Naveen's Coconut Groundnut Chutney

Shobha's Dal Pakwan & Seero
Sreelu's  Homemade waffles with mixed berry compote
Urmila's Rava/Semolina idli and tomato chutney
Vardhini Koushik's Mini Idlis and Sambar
Vidya's  Aamer dal and chapathi

I have thoroughly enjoyed going through these entries, come back for the next 3 parts!

Breakfast Mela Part 2
Breakfast Mela Part 3

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to make Vada Curry ~ Tamil Nadu Special | Step by Step Recipe | Lunch Box Series : LBS#62

When you come down south, one of the famous gravies to accompany Idli or parotas for breakfast would be Vada Curry. As far as I know, there are two ways this curry is served. One where it is almost mashed to blend well with the gravy, the other which still retains its shape.

And I have two recipes for this Vada Curry to share. One that I make myself and the other recipe that Amma makes. Both turns out great, so you have a choice to choose from. Both the dishes were made for the office lunch, you can imagine this makes a great dish to be taken for afternoon lunch.

I made this last week for our office lunch box along with Jeera Rice. It was a great combo.

This is low fat as I steamed the Vadas instead deep frying. Follow the recipe for Masala Vada as I normally make. Instead of deep frying, I patted the vada as small discs and steamed them for 10 - 15 mins. Then in a non stick pan, roasted them using 1 tsp oil.

Making the steamed Masala Vadas

Make Masala Vadas and place them on greased Idli moulds.
Steam for 10 - 15 mins
 In a non stick pan add 1 tsp oil and roast the steamed vadas.
Cook on both sides to make sure it is roasted well.

For the Gravy

Vada Curry

Ingredients Needed:

Refer the Masala Vada post for the ingredients.

For the Spicy Gravy

Coarse paste

Onions - 2 medium
Green chilies - 2 medium
Garlic, grated - 4 cloves
Ginger. grated - 2"

For the sauce

Tomato, puree - 2 medium
Bay leaf - 1 long
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Fennel Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coconut Milk - 3/4 cup
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Coriander leaves for garnich.

Method to prepare:

For the Masala Vadas,

Grind the batter and mix in onions and other spices as required.

Pat them down as small discs and steam these vadas in greased idli moulds for 15 mins.

Once done, remove and roast them on a non stick pan with 1 tsp oil. Cook on both sides. Remove once done. You can crush the vadas to small pieces if you prefer. Mostly these are crushed into smaller bits.

For the Spicy Curry

Grind onions, green chilis, ginger and garlic to coarse paste.

Heat a non stick pan, add 1 tsp oil. Once the oil is hot add bay lead, clove and cinnamon. Saute for couple of minutes.

Then add the coarse masala, fennel seeds, cumin seeds. Saute for 5 mins until the onions starts to turn colour.

Add tomato puree, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, salt and fry for 5 mins in sim.

When the tomato puree is cooked well and oil starts coming out, add required water, crushed vadas and simmer for 5 mins.

Then bring to boil, add coconut milk. Add finely chopped coriander leaves.

Again simmer for 5 mins.

Serve with Idli, Dosa or Rotis.


Since vadas will absorb water, make sure you add as required.
If you want a richer version, you can deep fry the vadas, but we have noticed that except for a slight richer taste, the steamed version was equally good.

Will be back with another version of Vada Curry next week. Do share your recipe if you make it differently

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to make Kadai Paneer Step by Step Recipe

Kadhai Paneer is one of those other frequent dishes that Amma used to make often apart from Paneer Butter Masala. She used to mostly add capsicum and make it really sauteed to keep up to its name. When I read on net to see why and how it got its name, it wasn't clear but it kind of referred that it's a dry kadai recipe where the masala clings to the paneer cubes. Though Amma makes it differently, I wanted to try a new one.

Googling this took me to Sanjeev Kapoor's and then Tarla Dalal. I decided that I would mix both and arrive at my own dish that will suit us. So finally this adaption worked out well. As such there may not be an authentic origin for this dish but guess when you love how this tastes with rotis you really will not bother about it.
Step by Step pictures to make Kadai Paneer


Kadai Paneer | Cottage cheese cooked in spicy kadai masala

Preparation Time - 10 mins
Cooking Time : 12-15 mins

Ingredients Needed

Paneer / Indian Cottage cheese - 300 grams
Oil - 1 tsp
Butter - 1 tsp
Whole dry red chillies - 2
Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon one inch sticks - 2
Bay leaves - 2
Onion , finely chopped - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2
Red chilli powder - 2 teaspoons
Tomatoes, puree - 2 medium
Salt to taste
Green chilies - 2 long
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped - 2 tablespoons

Method to prepare:

Coarsely pulse the red chilies and coriander seeds, it should not become a fine powder.

I used homemade Paneer. Cube into 2 inch pieces.

Heat butter in Kadai, roast the paneer cubes until it turns golden in colour. Remove and keep it aside.

In the same kadai, heat oil, red chillies-coriander coarse powder, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves sauté for two minutes.

Then add the onions, silted green chilies stir. When it starts turning colour add ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder and mix well.

Continue to sauté for two minutes, add tomato puree, salt. Cover with lid and let the puree cook.

When the tomato puree is well cooked, add the roasted paneer, mix well. Finally add the coriander leaves and serve with rotis.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Kidney Bean Sandwich Indian Style | Masala Rajma on Sandwich Toast

I know Breakfast Mela is coming to a closure soon, as always I still have a long list of dishes I am yet to prepare. Athamma had soaked these Kidney beans / Rajma for a salad but we didn't get to make it. So since I had planned bread for breakfast I decided to make a stuffing with rajma instead of cheese and jam. Well there are takers for a sandwich only if it's made in the Indian Style, so naturally the stuffing had to be spiced up.

When I think of these spiced lentil spread for sandwich, I remember those potato mint spread I used to make years ago. Though I have quite forgotten what actually went into that now, I would try to recreate that again. But for now let me settle down with a toast that is very delicious.

This goes for my Breakfast Mela 

I also remembered on time that I could send this to another favorite event of mine, My Legume Love Affair 35 hosted by Smitha, an event started by Susan

Kidney Bean Sandwich Indian Style | Masala Rajma on Sandwich Toast

Rajma / Kidney Bean - 1/2 cup
Onions - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 /2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Garam Masala a pinch
Butter - 1/2 tsp

Bread Slices - 8
Butter for toasting.

Method Prepare:

Wash and soak the rajma overnight. sometimes this doesn't get soaked well, so you might have to soak it a little longer. then pressure cook the beans till it is tender.

Then heat a non stick pan, add 1 tsp oil, saute the finely minced onions, saute till it turns colour. Then add ginger garlic paste. cook for couple of minutes.

Then add tomato puree and continue cooking well. Add all the other spices except butter. Cook on high for the spices to get done.

Add 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Gently mash the beans and mix well. Cook till all the moisture is gone, the beans get into a thick sauce. Add the butter and simmer for 5 mins.

Meanwhile heat a griddle/tawa, grease the bread slices with butter. Toast on both sides. Scoop the stuffing over one slice, place the other slice on this and press well.

Toast the sandwich for couple of minutes until it becomes crispy.

Hope you are sending in your breakfast mela entries soon!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

How to store Coriander Leaves | Cilantro Leaves

During the season I always ponder on how to store the coriander leaves for weeks. Coriander leaves are such integral part of Indian cuisine and you can't imagine making a gravy dish without the ceremonial addition of coriander leaves. Over the years we had followed different ways to store the fresh coriander leaves, some worked, some didn't. Finally we hit upon this method which really works well.

Amma's younger sister visited us sometime back and she passed on this tip to us. I wanted to try it out right away and was so happy seeing the fresh leaves being fresh over weeks. We have successfully preserved the leaves in it's freshness for 2 - 3 weeks. 

I know many of you may know better ways. And this is too simple a method to even record. But I am not really in a mood to write a lengthy post with recipe.

Since Coriander leaves are part and parcel of every Indian cuisine, I am happy finally finding a way to store it well.

Trim the root ends which normally gets sold along the green coriander leaves.
Soak in a bowl of water and rinse well
See the fine dust that is left behind.
 Let them drain over a colander
 Then spread over a cloth to make sure the water is completely absorbed. If require, put it under fan.
 Slowly cover it up like this to absorb whatever water might still be in the leaves.
Take the bowl that you want to store the leaves, cut a newspaper to the size of the inner bowl.
Place the fresh leaves inside.
The stalk can also be stored to be used in Rasams. They add such flavour.
Take another paper cutting and cover over the fresh leaves. Refrigerate. There is no need to freeze the leaves.

This is after two weeks. Of course I have been using and opening it in between.

If required change the paper used to cover the leaves.

Other Indian Basics and How to's

Have a great week ahead!

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Paratha | Sweet Potato Indian Flatbread

I love Sweet potatoes! And always loved eating it as such. There are always certain things that you just eat as such and never can imagine it being incorporated in a dish right. Sweet Potatoes are such things for me. Shakarkand as it is called in Hindi, we call it Genusa gadda in Telugu. 

This month when Harini announced her Design a Menu Event, I checked in to see what ingredients she listed. When I saw Sweet Potato as one of the mandatory ingredient, I knew I ought to make these parathas. The first time I remember reading this paratha being made with Sweet Potato, was when I started blogging. Since then I have seen sweet pototo being used in different ways. But paratha is the best way to use it. 

I remember Richa posting this and checked to see how she made it. Though I don't normally add hing to my parathas, I saw it was used and wanted to experiment with it. It gave a nice taste and since I can never make without adding jeera powder, I added that too to the dough.

I always make parathas two ways, one stuffed way and the other blended with the flour. When you blend the stuffing mix to the flour you can end up making the parathas much quicker than the regular stuffed way.
We had these for our breakfast this morning with just Curds and Avakkai and can tell you that it was simply too good.

Sweet Potato Paratha

Sweet potatoes, boiled - 1 big
Wheat flour - 2 cups
Turmeric powder a pinch
Red Chili powder - 3/4 tsp
Roasted Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida / Hing a pinch
Salt to taste
Coriander Leaves - 1 tbsp
Curds / Yogurt - 2 tsp
Water to knead the dough
Oil to cook the paratha

Method to prepare:

Pressure Cook the sweet potatoes and peel once it cools down.

In a bowl, take the wheat flour, spices, salt, curds, coriander leaves and mashed sweet potatoes. Mix well to incorporate the spices in to the flour.

Add water as required to knead into a soft and smooth dough. Keep aside for 10 mins.

Heat a griddle/tava. Roll into medium sized parathas and cook like a regular paratha, spreading a few drops of oil on both the sides while cooking them.

Serve with Curds and pickle of your choice.

These parathas tend to be very soft because of the potatoes and make a great start to the day.

Sending this to Harini for her Design a Menu Event.

I might make Masala Vada , Mamidikaya Annam ~ Mango Rice,
Menthakku Pappu , Godumai Halwa ~ Wheat Halwa, Chocolate dipped Strawberry.
This is also going for my Breakfast Mela, which is going on until May 20th.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Launching ValliShopping.com - An online Shopping portal!

I am so happy to share the launch of our online Shopping portal Valli Shopping 

This has been our venture since December 2010 and finally opened our showroom in Chennai. We then thought we should have our online presence felt and hence a need to create an online site.

The showroom is operated by my husband, Suresh. I will be managing the online operation. We are right now into Electronic gadgets like Blackberry Mobiles, Cameras like Nikon, Canon, Sony. Computers and all accessories for Mobiles, Cameras and computers. We may extend to other brands and services shortly.

Though we are going to do the sales through our showroom based in Egmore,Chennai, we do have an online selling option too. Since we are yet to finalize a better payment gateway, we have a very simple mode of transaction for now.

Right now we will do the delivery in and around Tamil Nadu.

Please visit our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/vallishopping

Our site http://www.vallishopping.com

Our Address

      Shop No.20,Basement, 150, Cisons complex,
      Montieth Road, Egmore,
      600 008 Chennai

We would really appreciate all the support and help we can get in terms of promotion and recommendation.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eggless Chocolate Muffins for Birthday Celebration

I made these chocolate muffins a weekend couple of weeks ago. With the summer vacation on for the kids, they have been after me to make them some muffins. Since these ought to be eggless I was again trying out a different proportion improvising on my other muffin recipe. As a replacement for the egg, I was trying to use Olive oil, milk and butter. And also wanted to have that crumbly effect, so make a cake flour.

Having always thought that one can't make cake flour at home, discovering this simple fix was an amazing thing. I should thank Simmi for sharing her knowledge. Now be it a cake or a muffin, it is not done without corn flour being used. When I finally made these Egg less Chocolate muffin, they disappeared so fast. I just remembered to click few pictures. Second batch I dusted it with castor sugar to make it look pretty. I was baking these non stop for three days and hubby dear was complaining that if these take so much of my time, he will as well get it from shop. Athamma replied that those may not taste as good and kids may not like them.

Check out Eggless Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting for detailed procedure on how to do with step by step pictures. This is very similar muffins and gets done in a jiffy.

We celebrated Konda's birthday yesterday. She had invited her friends and my colleagues also. We are missing Athamma and twins as they have gone to visit my sil. We decided to make Chole Batura, Jeera Rice with Masoor ki Dal. Everything turned out so well and all had a great time relaxing. I was thinking it was high time I make the birthday cakes myself. So to make up for that, I baked a different one this morning, which I will be posting later.

I remember making Seviyan for her birthday last year. And both my sils were here with their families. We were hoping they will come down this year too but couldn't make. I was especially looking forward as I was planning to make some more breakfast thali. Let me see if I can anyway make it.

Now let's get into the recipe details. FYI: The basic proportion that goes into these muffins are same. You might be wondering why I should be posting almost similar recipes. I know how much it matters as each time the taste and texture differs and I would surely hope these different proportions will help a novice.

Eggless Chocolate Muffins

All purpose Flour / Maida - 1 cup *
Corn flour - 2 tbsp
Olive oil - 2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Cooking Soda - 1/4
Cocoa powder - 2 tsp
Salt a pinch
Icing sugar - 1 cup
Butter - 2 tsp
Milk - 3/4 cup
Chocolate Chips handful

Method to prepare:

In a measuring cup, add the corn flour, add the flour on top of it. This will get you the cake flour.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Melt the butter and add to the flour. Gently stir in the mixture. The add the olive oil, slowly add milk and gently mix in. Add the Chocolate chip at the end and stir.

You can slowly add the milk to get the mixture little loose.

Pre heat the oven at 185 deg C. Line the muffin tray with liners and scoop a spoonful into each muffin cup. I used a small cup and got about 12 muffins.

Bake at 185 deg C for 15 mins. Check if it's done by using a knife. Allow it to rest. When it's cooling over the rack, dust the top with icing sugar.

Serve little warm as it tastes best!

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How To Make Basic Sponge Cake Recipe | Step By Step Recipe

Sponge Cake reminds me of my high school days. Though few years after this period, I stopped eating eggs, I still remember those days I spent beating the eggs for Ammamma, who used to make this cake for us during holidays. We had these wonderful folks for neighbours and I spent some of my best years at their home. Besides being an excellent cook, Ammamma was a jolly good person. She loved cooking for her grandchildren. And I was glad she took me into the fold as well. Since I never could spend that many days at my own grandmom's place, this was my foster grandmom's home.

She used to make those typical Sponge Cake with about 6 eggs, I don't remember how much of flour went into it. But what remains predominate in memory, is the fact she used to ask us to beat the egg along with flour. Our arms used to ache in the end. But she used to say the more you beat it, the better cake you have in hand. In the end of the hurdle we were awarded with huge slices of soft, spongy Sponge cake. Of course it used to disappear right away and we used to wonder why the pain remains!

Coming to this recipe, I am not sure if it's exactly the same proportions used, but it did look similar. And I was remembering those childhood days while baking this cake.

Step by Step Recipe:

Separate the egg white, beat the egg white till it foams. Add Vanilla essence to the liquid

Shift the flour with baking powder and salt and keep it aside.

 Get the butter to room temperature.
Cut into slabs
Using a spatula, beat it in a bowl
Continue beating till the butter turns soft.
Add icing sugar at this stage and continue beating it.
See the way it turns thick at this stage so continue beating it in one direction.
Continue beating till you see this look this way.
At this stage add the egg whites and gently fold in.
Slowly fold in the egg and mix in one direction.
Mix in the flour and gently stir.

Continue doing it with egg and flour

Until you complete both
Grease the baking pan and dust with flour.
Shift the batter into the pan
Pat the batter down, don't use any spoon.
Pre heat the oven at 185 deg C and bake the cake for 30 mins.

Check to see if the knife inserted comes out clean.

Allow it to rest

 once done and the slice into pieces.

Basic Sponge Cake 

Ingredients Needed:

All purpose flour / Maida - 2 cups
Icing Sugar - 2 cups
Butter, unsalted - 1 & 1/2 cups
Baking powder 2 tsps
Egg White - 4
Salt a pinch
Vanilla - few drops

Method to prepare:

Grease a baking pan with butter and dust it with flour, keep it aside.

Shift the flour along with baking powder, and salt in a big bowl, keep aside.

Separate the egg whites and take the egg whites in a bowl. Beat well till it is foamy and having peaks. Add the Vanilla essance and gently mix in.

Get the butter to room temperature and beat well using a spatula until it turns really soft

Then add the icing sugar and continue beating it. Do this till you see the butter turning soft.

At this stage add half of the egg whites. Combine everything well slowly.

Add the shifted flour and gently fold it in one direction. gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture. Finally add the remaining flour. Gently fold everything together.

Pre-heat the oven at 185 degree C.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.

Bake at 185 Degree C / 365 degrees F for about 30 minutes till cake springs back when touched lightly in the centre.

Invert the pan and let it cool. Remove the cake from the pan once it is cooled.
Slice it into small pieces

Serve warm.

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