Six No Fire Recipes to Try With Your Child
Introduce your children to some no-fire recipes and let them have a world of fun, cooking and even dazzling at cooking competitions.
How many times do you find your little ones pottering about in the kitchen? They find the spoons and plates to bang, dip their hands in the atta jar and have a gala time sprinkling it around, have fun mixing spices, or trying to roll dough. This nook of the house is a fascinating place for most children. It offers a wide array of sensorial experience – touch, sight, feel, smell (and taste when something’s readily available). It’s also a ground for gathering life skills.
So let them into the world of food by guiding and encouraging your child to cook. This can be a wonderful way to learn about food, to explore new tastes and ingredients, and take an interest in eating as well. Children feel empowered when they create in the kitchen. And needless to say, it’ll be a great hobby for now – one that’ll also help them all their life.
We shall give a brief “guided tour” of recipes that can be made by kids. However, they should, at all times, be supervised by an adult while making the dishes. It’s best to keep some safeguards in mind before starting out.
- When you’re going to help a child cook, choose a relaxed time when you are not in a hurry to either finish the dish or get on to another task. Rushing might make the kid anxious and also could easily cause accidents, however small.
- Choose simple tasks and if anything needs to be prepped on fire (for example, boiled potatoes), have that ready beforehand.
- If the child has long hair, tie it tightly.And roll up long sleeves, too.
- Knife skills take time to master, so initially keep sharp knives away. Have them practise easy cutting skills, such as cutting a nicely boiled potato into half, in the first few attempts.
- Establish rules about do’s and don’ts – such as no fire to be lit, nothing hot to be touched (older kids may do this bit but only when wearing with oven mitts), cleaning hands but also wiping them dry before starting a task. Safety reminders must be given at every stage. Eventually, these will become their second nature.
- Plan ahead. Think of the materials required and the steps that the children can do independently and where they will need assistance. That way, the supervisor can be showing the way without sounding too meddlesome.
- For the first few recipes, try to start with foods that interest the child. If someone dislikes cheese, making a cheese sandwich may not be the recipe to choose.
And now, onto some recipes.
1. Fruit platter
A refreshing and healthy dish, this platter will have a nice variety through the seasons.
Pair watermelon with lychees, or peaches, or with any available berries. Cut the watermelon into big slices and give cookie cutters to the little chefs. They can cut the watermelon into different shapes with the cookie cutter. Then they shall mix the fruits in a bowl. They can decorate the top with some fresh basil leaves or break some soft feta cheese in it if they like.
The “king of fruits” – mango – will go wonderfully with pineapple, strawberries, and even olives. The cookie cutter can be used on the mango pieces as well. Drizzle a little of honey vinaigrette on the mix. To make the vinaigrette dressing, take half a cup of white oil (olive or canola oil would be nice), 2 tablespoons of honey, one-third cup of vinegar, salt and pepper. Help the kids mix these ingredients well by shaking in a covered jar or in a mixer.
2. Pizza in bell pepper
Halve a few big bell peppers lengthwise. Clean the inside and smear them with olive oil, outside and inside. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside and add a layer of pizza sauce. Grate some parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and fill the bell peppers with them. Top with tiny bits of tomatoes. If the children like, they can add mushrooms, sweet corn, onions and they may also sprinkle a dash or oregano and chilli flakes (if they are okay with spice). One can also add tiny chicken strips for a non-vegetarian option. Cook these in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 170 degrees centigrade. Pizza bites are ready!
(If you want, the same recipe can be done on pita breads instead of bell peppers.)
3. Ice pops
This is simple summer indulgence that kids enjoy making. The children can squeeze any fruit to get fresh juice, retaining the pulp preferably, with a hand squeezer. Be it orange, or mosambi, or mango – you name it. Pour them in kulfi or ice pop moulds and chill them in the freezer for three to four hours.
Apart from fruit juices, smoothies would be tasty when frozen. Strawberry, yoghurt, and honey can be blended into a smoothie to be frozen in the moulds. A banana, chikoo, yoghurt combination with a dash of honey and cinnamon would be delicious, too.
4. Quick salad
Lay out crisp lettuce leaves. Whisk together half cup yoghurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons vinegar, salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix pieces of apples, red globe grapes (cut in half), and roasted walnuts with dressing. Scoop out portions of the mix on the lettuce leaves and serve.
5. Bread cups
You’ll need cupcake moulds. Smear them with olive oil or butter. Cut out the crusts from bread slices (choose any – white, brown, atta, multigrain). Press these down these slices into the moulds to take the shape of little bowls and coat them with butter or oil as well. Now, it’s up to you to choose the filling! Strawberries with cream cheese in one; bananas with a sprinkling of brown sugar and peanut butter in another. Break an egg in one, and top it with shredded cheese, salt and pepper; and replace the egg with broccoli, or beans and carrots in the next one. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for between 10-15 minutes at 160 degrees centigrade.
Chop cucumbers and onions into fine pieces. Take some papri and break them into two or three pieces each. Mix sweet tamarind chutney, lemon, chaat masala or amchur, salt and brown sugar to taste. Assemble all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Let the chef hats sit proudly on the heads of our culinary artists!
- Shatarupa Chaudhuri
Shatarupa Chaudhuri is a book lover, an amateur artist who loves to dabble with paints, a lazy writer, rain lover, and a self confessed chocoholic. When she isn't working her day job as Senior Editor at DK, her world revolves around her son Tubby, the mini artist in the pictures you see shared here.