Saturday, August 10, 2013

Simple Cheese Omelette for Kids, by Kids...

'Egg love' is an inherited trait in the family. We love them scrambled, poached, sunny sides up, boiled and curried and all sorts, Omelette being the simplest of the list. I give my son an omelette or two every day and the best part of the evening omelette exercise is that my son participates in it.

He likes to cook, (is a proud owner of the 'Sheetal Plastic Complete Kitchen Set') and breaking eggs gives him untold gratification. Any breaking activity does that to a boy I guess. Anyways, coming back to our story, Rudra arrives in the kitchen, hands washed, hair combed, holding two eggs, cheese block from the fridge and the mechanical egg beater. He sits coolly on the kitchen counter and recites the ingredients:

- Two eggs
- One spoon milk
- one pinch salt
- One pinch chilli powder
- Cheese block

We break the two eggs into a bowl and Rudra adds the milk, salt and chilli powder and goes at the egg batter with the beater till its frothy looking.

Then mummy quickly tilts the egg mixture into a nicely heated pan and in two minutes time, our omelette is done. One could add oil to the egg for better taste. The finishing touch is the cheese flourish. When mummy takes the pan off the stove and puts it on the dining table, Rudra scrapes the cheese block onto the omelette using a small hand held scraper.

Cheese omelette is now ready. It may not be a gourmet standard cheese omelette but its one that works for post-office-hours-tired-moms and post-school-hours-famished-boys.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

For babies who don't eat vegetables and curries

"If you don't eat your vegetables, how will you grow up into big, strong dinosaurs?", Sid gently reprimands (elephant sized) baby dinos in Ice Age - Dawn of The Dinosaurs.

That must be a standard meal time line for every mom. I am no exception.

For the first three years of his existence, Rudra depended on tomato rasam with rice or Pappula podi with chapati or dosa for survival. Being a highly self critical mom, I couldn't bear it. Many would agree there am sure. Consequences of nutritional deficiencies looming large on our consciences isn't exactly comfortable.

I must have tried curried vegetables, boiled vegetables with sauces mixed into them, boiled, roast and seasoned veggies...but nothing works. After a morsel, they are relegated to the dustbin.

Finally, we are now skirting the problem thus.

Veggie Rice:

- Wash rice of required quantity, soak and keep aside.

- Pick a selection of vegetables (leafy greens also can go into this) keeping compatibility and their taste post cooking in mind.

- Heat oil in a pressure cooker and do a tadka. Toss a few onions into it and after they turn pink, add veggies followed by salt to help cook faster.

- I usually add a combination, a pinch of sun dried herbs like methi, some turmeric, a lil bit of ginger and a crushed garlic clove to this. If my son has chest congestion, I choose green chillies over red chilli powder. And I add a small chopped tomato if I think the dish is burning.

- Once this curry like concoction releases some oil, smells cooked, add water according to the quantity of rice.

- When the water starts to boil, check and adjust saltiness and add the soaked rice to this.

- Mix with a spoon once before fixing the pressure cooker lid and cook for three whistles.

- Veggie rice is ready!

I have stopped trying to waste time and energy on making my son understand finer cooking and the great Indian curry tradition. Let him do the job himself.

This works. If you are a working mom with no time to spare, this is a blessing.

I serve this rice with rasam or sambar or curd, whatever he prefers it with. And there ends yet another set of travails over feeding obstinate children. :)





Monday, January 23, 2012

Pappula Podi for idli, dosa et all

My best friend and one of the amazing mom's I know, Sandhya, suggested this recipe when I told her that am at a loss for a dosa/ idli accompaniment for my son.

I was sure I did not want sauce or ketchup on my son's plate this early. Neither did I prefer curry or chutney as he has only begun learning of tastes.

Sandhya adviced Pappula Podi and its a huge hit. Rudra, my son, has it with most south Indian breakfast items as well as with rice at times. Pappula podi is mildly spicy, contains ingredients that aid digestion and is a handy serving accompaniment even for adults.

Ingredients:
Jeelakarra(Cumin seeds) - 1 tbsp
Miriyalu (Pepper corns) - 1/2 tsp
Dhaniyalu (Coriander seeds) - 1tbsp
Dried red chillies - 5
Menthulu (Fenugreek seeds) - a pinch
Putnala pappu (Roasted bengal gram) - 1 cup
Salt to taste

Process:
Roast all the ingredients separately, except the putnalu and grind them together in a mixie. Add putnalu at the very end and run the mixer once again. Adjust salt as per preference. More putnalu could be added if the the podi is too strong for your household's tastebuds.

Serving:
The moment I serve the podi on Rudra's plate, he makes a well in it with his tiny finger and says 'neyyi poyyi'. Guess, that's how all kids like it, with lotsa lotsa ghee. It is however difficult to restrain them from licking the gooey podi-neyyi mixture and to make them focus on the dosa at hand. All said, pappula podi falls into that food zone that makes mother and child, both happy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Poached egg for infants

I live by the golden rule that 'An egg a day keeps every illness away'. And someplace, I did read an ad released by the National Egg Co-ordination Committee which said, 'Tasty treasure of mighty minerals'.

Rudra ate his first egg when he was about seven months old. Some of my mommy friends felt its too young an age to eat egg. But it's done now and the boy is three plus years of age and three and a half feet tall. Am only happy about my son's progress upwards and across, but is it because of all the eggs? Can't assure an answer there.

Well, I did not boil the egg. I poached only the albumen (egg white) in water. The result was extremely soft, firm and jelly like egg that was easy to eat for the baby.

Recipe:

Ingredients:
- One Egg of course, only the white and no yellows for babies below one year of age
- Water - 2 cups
- A hint of pepper and a touch of salt

Method:

Boil the water in a deep dish till it is bubbling over furiously. Make a small opening on the narrow end of the egg and slowly let the egg white trickle into the boiling water. The yolk usually does not hurry out, so one can confidently tip the egg into the dish. Those who are not so sure can pour the white into another bowl and then add it to the water.

Let the white cook in the boiling water on medium heat for about ten minutes. Add salt as soon as the white is in the dish. The egg white congeals and looks like a white and soft version of an omelette. Remove it from the dish with a sieve and serve in a plate. Add the pepper if your child is ok with the strong taste.

My son had this every day till he turned one and half and was able to chew. Save on days when he runs a temperature or has diarrohea, I continue to give him this tasty treasure everyday!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mango finale to a forgiveful summer.

Late in summer, when the first sprinkles of monsoon sign in...when monsoon is just about the corner...thats when I see these glorious orange-yellow mangoes. They have a mature, robust, full bodied flavour that lingers. These are my favourite. My son lapped up mango mash as an infant, but after a season away from the divine fruit, it took some time to get him to fall in mango love again.

Here's my recipe for a Mango finale with some Cashew fanfare:

Ingredients:
Fully ripe mango - 1 cut into bite sized pieces
Cashew - half cup soaked for about three hours
Sugar - To taste
Milkmaid - Two tablespoons (optional)

Process:
Grind the soaked Cashew first in a mixie, then add the sugar. Add mango pieces and the milkmaid to the jar and blend till silky smooth.

Adjust the quantity of sugar according to taste. Those who are concerned over the sugar intake can skip adding any.

What comes out is flowing mango garbed in heavenly yellow. The cashew flavour is just a hint and the milkmaid gives a frothy, rich taste to the mash. Its so yum that I have difficulty keeping the rest of the family from gobbling it up!

This recipe is to acknowledge a better summer this year compared to the previous one. Does that mean global warming levels are lower this year? I dont know. But all said, I am grateful for the forgiveful temperatures. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Apple mash all the way!!

An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. No arguments there. Which is why I fed my son Rudra a mashed apple everyday for his first eighteen months.

Thanks to Ms Gamedar, my son was fortunate to have a balanced diet comprising of Uggu, properly cooked fruit and other yummy food that was very very good.

Here is the recipe for 'Apple mash':

Ingredients:

. 1 Apple peeled, cored and cut into tiny pieces
. One teaspoon sugar
. One or two tablespoons of milk

Process:

Take the apple pieces in a dish that has a tight fitting cover. I used a steel tiffin box.

Put this box in a pressure cooker and add water to the cooker. About an inch's depth should be fine. Do not add water inside the dish with apples. The moisture in apples is enough to cook them.

Pressure cook for about five whistles. Remove the apple pieces, allow them to cool a little and then blend them with the milk and sugar in a mixer or a blender.

Remove the mash to a bowl, drizzle a lil honey on top and feed baby while the mash is still warm.

I used to feed this as an evening snack and my son used to love it. Can be fed till the child is about two years old. (It's a different story that after he turned two, he learned to say 'oddu'. One of his first phrases was 'apple mammu oddu'. Sigh. The happy part is that my mission was accomplished by then. Ha ha.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yumm tomato rasammm!!!

Its all things tomato for my family. And my son Rudra is no better. Tomato rasam is his all time favourite.

There are a number of variations to tomato rasam recipes and this is the one specific to my family, the one I learnt from Rangamma, my peddamma. Dressed in vivid Gadwal sarees, huge moon sized bottu and traditional telangana jewelry, she has to only touch a dish to make it taste like heaven. Here goes:

Ingredients:

2 Large ripe tomatoes - this makes enough rasam for two people.

Masala:

Peppercorns - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Coriander seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic pods - 4 to 5

Tadka:

Cumin seeds - 3 pinches
Red chillies - 2 long ones
Black gram - 3 pinches
Mustard seeds - 3 pinches

Preparation:

Boil tomatoes with the skins on in three cups of water. Once the pulp starts to seep out of the skins, the tomatoes can be considered done.

Wait till the tomatoes cool down and then squeeze them to extract the juice. Separate skins and other undissolved fibrous content from the liquid with hands. Its better not to use any devices as it affects the flavor.

Put the pot of tomato extract on the stove. Add a small quantity of turmeric, one teaspoon salt, a pebble sized lump of jaggery, a few curry leaves and bring it a boil. Add the pounded masala at this stage.

Leave it to simmer for a couple of minutes and add the tadka. Rasam should not boil for too long or it will lose flavor.

Tomato rasam tastes so amazing, one could have it direct from the pot. I love drinking it from small steel glasses, the ones typically used for serving coffee.
Tomato rasam also tastes good with rice, idly and vada.