Kids food recipes

Kids eat simple and colorful food. This isn’t a new thing you are hearing but I know it’s heck of a work to put together those colors that your kids would enjoy eating. I feel with you. Some of the fellow moms share that they are sad their children don’t eat well.

I am repeating but please bear with me as it’s like a mantra you recite in your mind when you cook or serve food for your children.

Children like “Simple, Colorful food”. Quantity? they decide. You got to trust them with that.

Not often children like what we like. So, we have to be patient and pay attention to their feedback. When they aren’t hungry but it’s time for your lunch or dinner, don’t force them. At the same time, don’t forget to include them during cooking and meal times. I think it is important to eat together. If not the same, a similar looking food that you are having, attracts them to try it. I usually keep a portion aside (when needed) before adding spices, more salt or sugar. Children are highly observant of what we are eating, how we are eating and how much we enjoy it. Having a routine is good but let’s admit it doesn’t work all the time. That’s okay. They know the best and are very much in tune with their body. All these points I am claiming here are things I have learnt over a period and continue to learn. When a child is running away from food, crying or resisting to eat, something isn’t right. Try to find out what’s going on. Take medical advice in dire situations.

Developing a good relationship with food is very crucial for the overall well being of a child. It’s never too late. Keep at it. Children are different. As parents, we need to be patient and attentive. Always surround them with healthy food options and make it easy to access.

With regards to recipes I am talking about in this article, I am referring to kids older than a year or when they have grown teeth.

There are a few nature’s own recipes children enjoy as they are without much manipulation. Not a vast list but let me note a few here.

  • Cooked brown or black rice
  • Roasted okra
  • Sweet corn tossed in butter and a pinch of salt
  • Plain cooked pasta or spaghetti (slightly softer than al-dente) etc
  • Oven baked apple
  • Oven baked pumpkin
  • Oven baked sweet potato

and many more, keep discovering them.

Here I share a few recipes that I have tried with my son. My son loves them and approves of sharing it with his friends out there.

Below portions are roughly for 2-3 people(a small family). Tweak the quantity as needed.

I majorly use organic quality products. Usually I prepare basmati or jasmine rice to go with some of the recipes noted here. If it’s a different type of rice, I have called that out in the recipe. Attention though, see what kind of rice your child enjoys!

Kokos lentil soup

The spices are the secret ingredient here. It might seem a bit complicated. Feel free to try without it. Lentils taste good in any form.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Mung dal
  • ½ cup Yellow/red lentils
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • 100 ml coconut milk (you can add more if you wish)
  • (Optional) Spice mix (Grind 20g fresh coriander, 2-5gm ginger, 1 clove garlic, ¼ inch cinnamon, 1-2 cardamom into a smooth paste or simply use 1 tbsp “Zivina’s green thai curry”)
  • 1 tsp Ghee (or vegetable oil)
  • ¼ tsp of Turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • Pinch of asafoetida

Procedure

Soak mung dal overnight or for about 4 hours (even better if you sprout them, it enhances the nutritional content)

  • Take soaked mung and equal quantity of yellow/red lentils in a vessel or pressure cooker
  • Add water and cook until soft
  • Take a deep bottom pan. Add oil/ghee on medium heat and wait until the oil/ghee turns little hot (make sure it doesn’t burn)
  • Add cumin, wait until they splutter
  • Add a pinch of asafoetida, give it a quick stir and reduce to low heat
  • Add spice mix, turmeric and salt
  • Keep stirring for a min or two to ensure the spices are cooked well
  • Add the cooked lentils and mix well
  • Add coconut milk and stir well
  • (You can add more water if it’s too thick for you)
  • Cook for 5 mins more

Ready to serve. You can serve it as soup or eat it with rice or bread.

Dal Bhindi (okra)

Ingredients

  • ¼ kilo okra cut into medium sized pieces
  • 1 cup yellow/red lentils
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tsp Ghee (or vegetable oil)
  • ¼ tsp of Turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • Asafoetida (hing)

Procedure

  • Add lentils to a vessel or pressure cooker
  • Add water and cook until soft
  • Take a deep bottom pan
  • Add oil/ghee to the pan on medium heat
  • Add cumin and wait until they splutter
  • Add asafoetida, turmeric and give a quick stir
  • Add okra on a medium heat, add a little salt
  • Roast okra until the sliminess disappears
  • Add cooked lentils and add more salt as needed, stir well
  • Cook for 2 more mins

Ready to serve. It tastes best with rice. Also can be served with cooked (whole) buckwheat.

Cute poke

A variation of the well known poke bowl for children. Except for the rice, all ingredients are measured for the child alone. Tweak it as you need and enjoy your poke with them with any additions you would like to make for your poke.

Ingredients

  • 100g Black rice
  • Handful of edamame
  • Mango
  • Avacado
  • 2-3 Okra
  • 1 tsp Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

Procedure

  • Cook black rice until soft (the grains are usually separate even if they are well done, that’s a good one)
  • Cut mango into medium sized cubes
  • Cut avocado into medium sized cubes or vertically big enough for children to grab it in hand
  • Prepare okra:
    • Take a pan, heat the oil on low medium heat.
    • Add okra to the pan and roast them until slightly brown
    • Add some salt to taste and leave for a min more
  • Arrange the poke bowl for your child.

I would start with 1-2 tbsp rice, 5-6 cubes of mango, 2-3 pieces of avocado, a few edamame and keep okra on the top or stick it in a corner. Sprinkle a little salt and lemon juice. Ensure all the items are clearly visible for them and don’t clutter with more quantity. Feel free to tweak the ingredients with your child’s favorite fruits and veggies.

Note: It’s not necessary you have all the ingredients. Starting with just rice is good. My son enjoys just eating black rice or brown rice. That’s how we started and added his favorite fruits and veggies together into a poke.

Peas Pilao

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp Kasuri methi (dry or fresh fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 tsp ghee/1 tsp Vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tbsp peas (fresh or frozen, washed)
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Take ghee/oil in pan
  • Add cumin and wait until they splutter
  • Add peas, stir for a min
  • Add kasuri methi and give it a quick stir
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add rice and water
  • Stir well and cook until soft

Ready to serve. You can serve it with white yogurt.

Viet Miso Soup

I learned it from a Vietnamese friend of mine. Thanks to her, my son loves it and enjoys saying the ingredients by name.

Ingredients

  • ~750 ml water
  • 2-3 medium sized mushrooms (shitake or regular white or brown ones)
  • 100g (firm) tofu
  • 1 tbsp miso (of your choice)
  • A handful of dried seaweed (wakame)
  • (optional) Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Add the water to a vessel and keep it a medium heat
  • Slice mushroom (medium thickness) and add them to the water, give it a stir so that mushroom spread well and continue cooking
  • Dice tofu into medium sized cubes and add them to the water, continue cooking
  • Add seaweed when the water is hot
  • (You can add a little more water if you want to dilute it)
  • Continue cooking for few more mins until mushrooms are done well
  • Turn the stove off and let the soup cool down a bit
  • To the warm soup add miso (this is to retain the goodness of miso) and mix well

Ready to serve. If you have leftover soup, you can warm it up a bit before eating.

Corn Chat

Ingredients

  • 100g sweet corn (ready to eat)
  • 20g tofu (cut into small pieces)
  • 2 medium sized mushrooms(chopped into small bites)
  • ½ tsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optionally finely chopped fresh tomatoes and herbs (coriander or parsley) can be used for garnishing

Procedure

  • Take a pan
  • On medium heat add butter, wait for it to melt
  • Add mushroom and roast until well done
  • Add tofu and toss them to give a good mix
  • Add sweet corn
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Mix the ingredients well and cook for a minute or two
  • Turn the stove off
  • (optional) Garnish with fresh tomatoes and herbs.

Ready to serve. It’s a whole meal in itself, don’t you think?

Gobi Methi Malai

A recent hit from my kitchen. My family and friends gave a big thumbs up. I tried it at a community event for a gathering of 15+ people. It turned out to be a favorite among all.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 medium sized florets of cauli flower
  • 50g tofu (or paneer) medium sized dices
  • 20g of frozen peas
  • 100ml Sour cream (12-15% fat)
  • Spice mix - ½ tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, (optional) ½ tsp sweet chilly powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tbsp Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optionally other vegetables like potato, tomato, mushrooms, onions can be added (chopped into slightly big pieces)

Procedure

  • Prepare cauli flower: *Wash the cauliflower well and cook them in a steamer for 3-5 mins. **You can prepare and add other vegetables.
  • Take a deep bottom pan (or iron pot)
  • Add oil on medium heat and wait until its warm
  • Add cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter
  • Add spice mix and give a quick stir
  • Add peas and pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for a minute or two
  • Add cauli flower, tofu and salt as you need
  • Mix well and cook for 2 minutes
  • Crush the methi on your palm and spread it evenly on the dish
  • Add the sour cream and give it a gentle but good mix.
  • Turn the stove off and cover with a lid

Ready to serve in a minute or two. You can enjoy it with rice, tortilla, chapathi or bread. Especially for adults, you may want to try an idea that came up during the community event that I mentioned earlier. You can prepare a burrito with some rice, gobi methi malai and/or any sauces or herbs of your choice, all wrapped in a tortilla. Thanks to the lovely community of people who were happy to try my dish and their creativity.

*Depending on the size of the cauli flower florets the time it takes for cooking might vary. Check regularly to make sure they are crunchy. Cooking slightly over or under, both aren’t good. It might take some trials.

**Optional items can be added in the mentioned order

  • You might want to double the spice mix, add more tofu (or paneer), peas and sour cream if you are adding more veggies and according to your taste
  • Onions go right after the cumin seeds and are roasted until they turn slightly golden. A pinch of salt at this time will help the onion cook well.
  • _Tomatoes will go right after the spices are added and cook for 2 mins. _
  • Potatoes can be precooked separated in water to well done crunchy bites and added along with cauli flower
  • _Capsicum and/or mushrooms can go with peas. _

(I will keep adding more recipes as and when I have time to add few more or something new.. come back and check here!)

Written on April 2, 2024