Every parent has to become a master chef at some point

Every parent has to become a master chef at some point

By KORAL DASGUPTA | | 11 June, 2016
Replace colas and canned bottles with homemade juices.
How can parents solve that age-old conundrum of giving their kids food that’s healthy as well as tasty? One way is to look beyond fast food, and to not shy away from experimenting in the kitchen.
Every time my kid’s friends dropped in at home, I used to fret over what to serve them. The kids usually demand a pizza or a burger. To keep them engaged with their mouth full, their parents didn’t mind if the spread included chips or salted nuts or other such fast foods. But somewhere I was too skeptical about serving those, since I have read in many places the ill-effects of colas and fast food in the metabolic system of kids. Eventually I discovered a few options for evening snacks that are healthy, yet fun.

Replace colas and canned bottles with home-made juices. Carrot juice or beetroot juice can be prepared simply by grinding those vegetables with a tomato, adding little sugar for taste, and filtering out the remnants. In summers, even a simple lemon juice is loved by one and all; don’t forget though to add leafs of coriander and/or mint to give it an interesting flavour. A simple mango or banana shake prepared by beating mango/banana pieces and sugar with milk in a mixer makes for a great drink option. Of course, not to forget, our beloved lassi! Process thick creamy yoghurt with cold water or milk and sugar in a mixer; add mint if you want before running the mixer; pour it in the glasses and put some chopped almonds and/or saffron strands on top.

Preparing all of the above juices actually offer the kids a lot of colourful glasses to choose from. Usually they find it very exciting.

Marinate paneer cubes with a mixture of yoghurt, cumin powder and soya sauce. Keep it aside for two hours. Heat oil. Put chopped pieces of ginger and garlic in the oil, let the aroma spread and then fry the paneer cubes till they are golden.

If you consume eggs, then it makes for an excellent starter. Simply boil the eggs, cut them into half, put a drop of mayonnaise on top of the yolk, and spread finely chopped cucumber, onions, tomato from above. Sprinkle salt and pepper or dry mango powder from top. Serve with spoons. Not only do kids find this new, they also enjoy the “chaat”-like look of the dish.

Boil pasta in water. Add salt and a little oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick to each other. Stir constantly. When they are soft, sauté some veggies in olive oil till they turn golden. Add the boiled pasta into it once the water is completely drained out. Keep stirring it with the veggies without adding any extra oil. Add salt and dress it with pasta sauce of your choice before taking it down from the oven. However, even the pasta dressing is absolutely avoidable. Simply pour the cooked pasta in a bowl and place a cheese spread on top. The heat will melt it naturally to add taste to the dish. Spread some finely chopped onions fried to crispy brown on top; you may add some finely chopped cucumbers too and it’s ready to be served.

Half-boil sweet potatoes cut into wedges. Sprinkle some salt and a pinch of sugar. Keep it aside for a while. Heat the oil. Just before the sweet potato is fried, add some cornflower. Fry the pieces till they are brown. Serve with tomato ketchup.

Marinate paneer cubes with a mixture of yoghurt, cumin powder and soya sauce. Keep it aside for two hours. Heat oil. Put chopped pieces of ginger and garlic in the oil, let the aroma spread and then fry the paneer cubes till they are golden. Over-frying will turn them hard and tasteless. Pour lemon juice from top and decorate with onion pieces and coriander leafs before serving.

Fruits make for a fantastic dessert. Bananas, apples and grapes can be used to prepare fruit-cream simply by putting the fruits into a batter prepared with fresh cream and sugar. Alternately, custard can be prepared with same ingredients. Top the bowls with raisins, cherries and cashew nuts.

 

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