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food for my tot

My sweet babydoll, Nia, is growing up real fast. BabyCenter even classifies her now as a preschooler. While she is still in her very terrible two’s, I don’t have to cook special food for all the time! My budding foodie seems to be totally enjoying “big people’s food” these days. As much as I love watching her eat different dishes like parathas, curriespizzas or even spicy Thai fried rice, I, sometimes, miss cooking her absolutely yummy “toddler” food :)

Join me as I take a trip down memory lane to last year when I would cook special food for my tot.

  

(The recipes posted here are for toddlers between the ages 12-24 months. Please note that some ingredients may not be suitable for your child. Use your discretion to substitute ingredients in the recipes below)

 

Khichadi/Pulav for Toddlers

 (Rice & Split Peas with Vegetables)

Nia used to adore the mushy rice-daal-khichadi as a baby, but  around 13-14 months, as she was developing her teeth, she wanted to try her hand (er, teeth) at chewing things. So, instead of grinding the rice and lentils, I started cooking them with some veggies and made a whole grain khichadi  for her. 

A good source of carbs, proteins, irons and vitamins, this nutritious khichadi is great for one or even two servings a day for your growing toddler!

toddler-khichadi
Tomato-Rice-Toor Daal Khichadi (Above) & Green Beans-Rice-Masoor Daal Pulav (Below)

Makes about 1½ packed cups of khichadi/pulav (about 2-3 servings depending on your toddler’s appetite)

¼ cup basmati rice

¼ cup daal of your choice (I have used Split Pigeon Peas i.e. Toor Daal in the first picture and Split Lentils i.e. Split Masoor Daal in the second picture above)

1 cup water

½ small tomato, diced  (or 2-4 tbsp vegetables like chopped spinach, peas, corn or tiny chunks of potatoes, carrots, green beans, etc that are ok for your toddler)

¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

a pinch garam masala

salt

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, minced 

½ tsp ghee (clarified butter)

Combine all the ingredients above and cook covered in a small stainless steel vessel placed inside a pressure cooker. 

before pressure cooking

Cover the lid of the pressure cooker and bring the it to a full pressure, letting it whistle for 3 times, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 mins.

after pressure cooking

Alternatively, you can cook the khichadi stove top over medium heat by combining all the ingredients in a small pot till everything is cooked and most of the water is absorbed. 

After the pressure cooker cools down, remove the vessel and gently mix the cooked daal-rice khichadi to combine the vegetables that have settled on top.

Garnish with a few drops of ghee and feed your little one at a warm-cool temperature or let your toddler try and eat just like Nia!

 

Kiddie Crepes

 (Savory Chickpea Flour Crepes)

Here’s a five-minute concoction that is perfect for toddlers-on-the-go! This is the Maharashtrian version of dosa or crepe and is called “dhirda” or “ghavan” in Marathi. We, Maharashtrians, have it for breakfast, snack or even for a meal along with chutney or pickle on the side.

A smooth batter of chickpea flour with minimal seasonings quickly turns into a thin and soft crepe that is ideal for toddlers learning to self feed. Try making one of these – for yourself or for your tot!

besan crepes

 Makes 1 crepe, about 4-5″ in diameter

¼ cup chickpea (besan) /rice/wheat flour

¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

a pinch of red chilli powder/cayenne pepper (optional)

salt

fresh cilantro/coriander, finely chopped

water

oil or ghee (clarified butter)

Combine all the dry ingredients along with chopped cilantro in a bowl and whisk it into a smooth, silky batter by adding sufficient amount of water.

Dip a piece of kitchen paper in oil or ghee (clarified butter) and grease a small frying pan. Ladle a generous spoonful of batter into the pan. With a flick of the wrist swivel the pan in order to get a nice even covering all over the pan, about 1/8th inch thickness. 

Cook on a medium-high heat and flip it over when you see the edge turning golden brown. Serve it with butter, ketchup, yogurt to your little one. (It’s great with chutney or pickle for adults)

*Add diced tomato, onion or chopped spinach, fenugreek leaves (methi) to the batter for variation.

 

Pasta with Vegetables in Light Butter Sauce

 

This is one of the dishes I created specially for my little one, but it’s so good that surprisingly even my other (BIG-)baby loved it! Colorful rotini pasta is cooked and stirred alongwith veggies which have been sautéed in a light butter sauce.  I, specifically, did not use mini or short shaped pasta because as a toddler, my daughter seemed to crave foods that she could hold in her own hands and bite or chew off. It’s a quick and easy way to prepare good home-cooked food for your kid, packed with carbs, vitamins and those fat calories from butter, that kids don’t need to worry about at their age!

img_0384

Makes about ½ cup serving

¼ cup pasta (rotini, elbow, penne)

water

¼ cup vegetables (like sliced zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, peas, corn, cut asparagus, green beans, etc.)

1 tsp butter or olive oil

salt

black pepper

garlic powder

grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook the pasta in it for about 5-7 mins. (Since its a small quantity of pasta, it gets done quickly)

In the meantime, heat oil or melt butter in a small frying pan and add the vegetables. Season with salt, black pepper and garlic powder and continue sautéing over low heat till they get slighly brown and crispy and the pasta cooks.

Drain the pasta and stir it in to the frying pan along with the vegetables. Mix well and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese and serve it at warm-cool temperature.

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