Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for new

So one of my new year resolutions for 2016 is to learn to make a new food item every month. Of course, it sounds easy on paper, but there is a condition -- it has to be something that I can incorporate into our regular meal plans. This makes it tougher, because it's not a simple case of getting a random recipe off the net and making the dish once, no matter what the outcome. That I keep doing all the time anyway. This resolution requires me to expand the range of meals I cook for us, so I have to pick something suitable and healthy, and make sure it's sustainable, repeatable, and erm, edible.

So these are the new dishes I have made so far and incorporated into our regular meal plan.

January: Idiyappam

Xena had a few strands of idiyappam at someone's poonal we'd attended, and the fact that her face didn't show absolute disgust was enough for me to find out how to make the damned thing from scratch. My mom-in-law got me an idiyappam press, and I looked up the recipe. The first few attempts were disaster because you need to carefully control the water temperature and flour:water ratio, but now I've mastered it. It's become a part of our regular meals now, and Xena actually likes it. She doesn't "hate it", she is not "ok with it"; she actually likes it!

My friend S gave me an awesome recipe for Kerala-style vegetable stew and this combo was a hit with both Viv and me. 

I made this batch of idiyappam with water in which I had boiled some beetroot. It gave the idiyappams a nice pink colour and hopefully some beetroot essence went into my veggie-hating child's tummy. Of course, she refused to touch the sambhar I'd made with it, and had the idiyappam on its own. 

Since she was refusing to eat the accompaniments, I wanted to up the nutrients of the carb-only idiyappams. Melted cheese to the rescue. She didn't mind it at all!

February: Dhokla

With concerns over Xena's protein intake, I revisited the thought of making dhokla for her. I'd made the Gits kind long ago, and absolutely hated it. So I thought I'd try the Eno kind, and found this really easy recipe. The dhoklas came out absolutely great. I made some imli ki chutney with them and it really was the icing on the... err... dhokla! Now dhokla is a regular breakfast item in our household.

Of course, the batch made for Xena was devoid of any seasoning, coriander leaves or chutney. Sure, the taste was compromised, but she ate it and that's what mattered. 

March: Bread

Once I had an oven, I went a little crazy making cakes and muffins and cupcakes and brownies. I used to to with the idea of baking bread, but the resounding success of the other items and the fear that I might end up with a brick instead had held me back. This year, because of this resolution, I decided to go ahead and do it. This recipe looked simple enough and I tried it out. I was happy with it, but I could be happier. So I will keep experimenting, until I completely stop buying bread.

Xena helped me bake the loaf. She even ate half a slice as soon as it cooled. 

April: Whole wheat pizza

My sister used to tell me all the time how easy pizza-making was, and how you don't even need to buy pizza base, you can totally do it from scratch at home yada yada yada. I never paid much attention because I didn't have an oven. So when I did get an oven, you can imagine what a great listener I suddenly became to her.

I use this recipe to make the pizza base. As for the toppings, it is free and easy. Xena puts whatever she likes on hers, while Viv and I prefer our toppings to be 90% jalapenos and 10% 'whatever; doesn't matter'. I started off by following the recipe exactly, but gradually started using a mix of wholewheat flour and bread flour. As I wrote in this post, Saturdays are family-Scrabble-with-pizza nights and the pizza is homemade.

We have also had several pizza play dates with Xena and her friends making the base and 'decorating' it with the toppings.

Xena rolling the dough

I helped her make this heart-shaped pizza base.

On goes the sauce...

And in goes the cheese... in her mouth I mean!

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I made 100% wholewheat flour to make the pizza base, and used zucchini and olives for the topping. Xena ate almost the entire palm-sized (my palm, not hers omg) pizza by herself! I was so thrilled because in effect, I had just given her a thick chapati with veggies and protein, a combo that she's never ever had or shown any interest in. This is SO going to be a regular from now on!


Bubblegum.... said...

You're a cheat sheet mom like my mom! She made kulfis at home which was actually Bournvita Milk freezed in the kulfi moulds. :D

Ah by the way, milk with Cremaffine was gulped by me when I would be in the super sleepy state even at the age of that I wont try to do analysis of what is in the glass :D

By the way dark chocolate in Beet root puree would taste superb when freezed for half n hour -more like chocolate Mousse. :D

Mommies I tell you!

Nikita said...

I love reading food posts like these because I get inspired by them. I have a daughter who is also Xena's age and she doesn't eat anything other than plain chapatis and rice.

Nidhi said...

Do you use canned olives? Are they really healthy? My daughter loves olives but I wasn't sure that the canned variety that we get in India is actually healthy or not!

Arun said...

Dear Li'l Xena,

As one who has been there and done that, listen to me and eat as much as you can of your mummy's yummy cooking while you can. One day, whether it is summer camp or whether university hostel, you will be away from home, and you will realize that you're missing what you took for granted for so long. There's not a moment to lose.

Bon appetit!

Sayesha said...

I wish I could cheat food into that little tummy! She outsmarts me all the time! Grrr...

My sympathies... :(

We get olives here in glass containers. I just wash and use them.

HEAR HEAR!!! As soon as she's old enough to read and understand this, I'm gonna show it to her! :D