This One Hack Helped My Kids Try New Flavours Of Food

As a parent, I know from personal experience how challenging mealtime can be. I  would make dishes that I know my kids would enjoy if I could just get them to try them. It’s a timeless conundrum that many parents face. How do you get your young children to try new foods and flavours that they stubbornly refuse to eat because they are unfamiliar with them? Try this out.
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Did you know children are however genetically predisposed to prefer high-energy, high-sugar, salty foods, and in pre-school age to reject new flavours, food and textures? And long-term eating preferences and habits are established during early childhood. 

As a parent, I know from personal experience how challenging mealtime can be. I  would make dishes that I know my kids would enjoy if I could just get them to try them. It’s a timeless conundrum that many parents face. How do you get your young children to try new foods and flavours that they stubbornly refuse to eat because they are unfamiliar with them?

National Nutrition Week which is on from 1-7 September has Flavours of the World as its theme this year. The aim is to make people have adequate nutrition in food while enjoying the different flavours of Indian cuisine. Personally, I like to widen that net and include international cuisine as well. I want the kids to try food from different parts of the world. It’s amazing how many different flavour combinations are there using similar spices.

It’s a good idea to introduce a wide variety of foods as well as herbs and spices to babies and young children. The more flavours your child experiences at a young age, the more likely she is to eat a wide range of foods as she grows up. If you look at other cultures around the world including India, the Middle East or Latin American countries, people add a lot of variety to their baby food. Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour (as well as antioxidants)

Some ways to encourage kids to enjoy a variety of foods with different flavours and textures include preparing foods in new ways, for example baking instead of steaming or boiling vegetables or adding them into a casserole, or cooking meats in a pie, meatloaf or stew instead of serving them on their own. Cutting the colourful veggies into fun shapes or rearranging the food to make their favourite characters. It may seem like a task but if it gets them to eat with smiles on their faces then why not I say!

Recipe Of The Week

Today’s recipe is by Chef Adam Law and it’s one that I have tried out. Super flavourful and yummy. 

Chicken & Corn Fritters with Green Chilli Mayo!

Did You Know

mustard seeds

Mustard seeds come from the mustard plant, which produces bright yellow flowers that turn into pods that yield the seeds, which are harvested. 

We have yellow/black/ brown mustard seeds or rai as we call them in India and each is distinct in its flavours and uses.

Mustard seeds in particular are rich in several minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, manganese, and selenium.

Mustard seeds are also a good source of several vitamins, including vitamins C and K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and folic acid. They have a high percentage of dietary fibre and are a valuable source of several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

Black mustard seeds are spicier than both brown and yellow and are ideal for tempering and making spicy Dijon mustard.

Putting chaunk in our meals isn’t just to amp up the flavours but there is a scientific reason why you should add a tempering of ghee/oil and some spices to your food. Read more about it here – The Real Reason Why You Should Add Tadka To Your Food

Apparently, mustard seeds are also effective when you are suffering from headaches and migraines. The seeds are packed with magnesium that soothes our nervous system and relieves the pain and strain in many different parts of our body.

Hack Of Week

brown sugar

Brown Sugar tends to get clumpy and hard if left even in an airtight container. To keep your brown sugar soft, store it in an airtight container with a slice of bread. When the bread gets hard, remove it and replace it with a fresh slice.

Meal Plan This Week

Recipes To Help You Through The Week

Kodo Millet Upma

kodo millet upma

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Kodo Millet Grain/ Kodra/Varagu
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 15 Beans, chopped
  • 1 Potato, chopped
  • 1 inch Ginger, grated
  • 1 Tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Black Gram Dal (urad dal)
  • 1 Tbsp Split Chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 5 Curry leaves
  • 2 Green chillies, chopped
  • Water – as required
  • Oil – as required

Method:

  • Wash the kodo millet grains 2-3 times, then drain the water and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add mustard seeds. Let it splutter.
  • Now, add the urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves and green chillies.
  • Once the dal turns golden brown add onions, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Sauté till onions turn golden-brown.
  • Add carrots, beans, and potatoes and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the kodo millet grains and sauté for a minute, till all the ingredients are combined.
  • Pour water and add salt.
  • Bring to boil and close the lid.
  • Cook on a medium flame for 3 whistles.
  • Let the pressure release on its own.
  • Your kodo millet upma is ready. Serve hot with any type of chutney or sambar.

Beetroot Waffles

healthy beetroot waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Tofu (crumbled)
  • 1/3 cup Beetroot Puree  (cooked and pureed)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar/Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Jowar Flour/Sorghum Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Flour/Cornflour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar/Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil+more for greasing
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

  • Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl
  • Add tofu, vanilla, beet puree, and coconut oil into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Mix this with the dry ingredients and gently combine. Add a splash of water to loosen the batter if you need to. Do not over-mix the batter.
  • Rest the batter until the waffle iron is heated.  Grease the waffle iron and drop the batter into the waffle iron till it’s 3/4th full. Your cooking time would depend on the equipment you’re using. Do not overcook the waffles as they can turn black, so keep an eye on them till you figure how long it takes for one batch to get cooked.

Serving suggestion: With fresh fruit and chocolate sauce or any nut butter.

Gluten-free Homemade Energy Bar – Servings: 10 bars 

energy bar gluten free

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Or Quinoa Flakes 
  • ½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds 
  • 1 Cup Almonds 
  • ½ Cup Raw Buckwheat Groats/Coconut Flakes  
  • ½ Cup Raisins 
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries 
  • ¼ Cup Maple Syrup/ Date Puree /Soaked Raisins  
  • 2 Tbsp Nut Butter 
  • ¼ Cup Water 

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C 
  • Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper or use a non-stick tray.
  • Spread out the oats, pumpkin seeds, and almonds evenly on the tray, then roast for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. 
  • Put the soaked dates, maple syrup and water in a blender until completely smooth, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Next add the buckwheat groats, raisins and cranberries. 
  • Remove the baking tray from the oven and leave it to cool.
  • Slice all the nuts. Once cool transfer the roasted flakes, nuts, and seeds to a large mixing bowl. 
  • Line a square tin with greaseproof paper and add the entire mixture. Press the mixture very tightly into the tin and smoothen it. 
  • Place in the fridge for 10 minutes and then bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Once baked cool completely. Refrigerate it for a while before slicing the bars. 

Variations: 

  • Almonds: Cashew Nuts: Buckwheat Flakes: Sesame Seeds: Chia Seeds 
  • Walnuts: Raisins: Hemp Seeds 
  • Almonds: Quinoa Flakes: Blueberries 

Fruit Chaat

Kala Chana Tikkis

kala chana tikki

Ingredients

  • 3 Katoris Kala Chana
  • 100g Paneer/Tofu
  • 2 Green Chillies finely chopped
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Garlic (optional)
  • Asafoetida/ Hing
  • Salt to taste
  • Amchur
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Fresh Coriander

Method

  • Boil the kala chana in a pressure cooker till soft – approximately 6-7 whistles on medium flame
  • Grate the tofu or paneer 
  • Saute the onions to get the raw taste out.
  • Mixie the kala chana, green chillies and the sauteed onions together to get to thick paste
  • Put the kala chana mixture in a bowl and mix in the salt, hing, garlic if using, amchur powder, red chilli powder and the hara dhania.
  • Pan Fry with little oil till it’s cooked and brown. 

Note: I would highly recommend adding a touch of ghee on the tikki when you shallow fry it. Not only does it give it an amazing flavour, but ghee is also a good fat that we should definitely add to our daily diet. (in limited quantities of course)

Mint and Masoor Roll

mint masoor

Image source: tarladalal.com

Ingredients:  For the mint and masoor filling

  •  ¾ cup whole masoor (whole red lentils)
  •  ¾ cup mint leaves , finely chopped
  •  2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
  •  2 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
  •  ½ cup paneer, grated
  •  2 tsp oil
  •  ¼ cup spring onion whites, finely chopped
  •  ¼ cup carrots, finely chopped
  •  ¼ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped

To be mixed together for the yoghurt dill blend

  • ¼ cup curd
  • 2 tbsp dill leaves
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 pinches mustard powder
  • 4 whole wheat rotis
  • 8 tbsp garlic-tomato chutney
  • 2 cups lettuce leaves, roughly torn
  • 4 tbsp carrots, finely chopped and blanched

Method: for the mint and masoor filling

  • Clean, wash and soak the masoor overnight.
  • Drain, add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles till the masoor is soft and slightly overcooked, but not mashed.
  • Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
  • Drain the masoor completely and coarsely mash it with a potato masher.
  • Add the mint leaves, ginger-green chilli paste, bread crumbs, and paneer. Mix well and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the spring onion whites and sauté till they turn translucent.
  •  Add the carrots, coriander, masoor mixture and salt and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously.

How to proceed

  • Place a roti on a clean dry surface and spread 2 tbsp of the garlic-tomato chutney evenly over it.
  • Arrange ½ cup of lettuce and ¼th of the mint and masoor filling in a row in the centre of the roti.
  • Arrange 1 tbsp of carrots and spread ¼th of the yoghurt dill blend over it and roll it up tightly.
  • Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more rolls.
  • Wrap tissue paper around each roll and serve immediately.

Chocolate Fig Cake

fig cake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Cocoa
  • 5-7 Dried Figs (or more/less depending on preference)
  • ½ Cup Oil
  • ½ Cup Boiling Water
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt 

Method

  • Soak finely chopped figs in boiling water for 20-30 minutes.
  • Grease a 9-inch round baking pan.
  • Put the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and combine in a large bowl.
  • Add the egg, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Add figs and water and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake at 180°C for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 minutes and enjoy the cake with a dollop of ice cream.

Note: You can substitute 1 egg with 1/4 Cup Yoghurt

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