In Mumbai, Varun developed a taste for chicken nuggets. You know, the kind you get in super market’s frozen department and you have to simply shallow fry them in the pan. I wasn’t sure how healthy they are given that they are frozen and possibly laden with fat and preservatives but thought that an occasional treat of them should be fine.
Back in Hyderabad, when my efforts to get him to eat more veggies were not going as successfully as I had hoped for ( couple of spoonful’s of red pepper carrot soup and maybe half a pumpkin biscuit), I thought I will coax him back to the dinning table with some chicken nuggets. Afterall he had devoured them and asked for more when we were in Mumbai. A quick search on the Internet came up with easy recipes of chicken nuggets ( some fried, some baked) but nevertheless made with 3 – 4 main ingredients: Chicken breast, Egg Wash , Bread crumbs ( or corn flakes crumb) and oil. Add Spices for taste but they varied by taste and what folks had on hand.
Luckily, last night, I had everything needed on hand and so I set off to make Varun some chicken nuggets. Dice, dip and fry. Within minutes we had these ready. Vipul had one and reached for more as I was frying them. I had to stop him from eating more as they were meant for Varun.
Varun probably had a bite before running away. But they were so good, that I almost rejoiced ‘More for me! Yay’. The stern look on Vipul’s face made me control my outburst. After all, they were made for Varun. To make him eat healthy food. We couldn’t just hijack his food without trying to get to eat. So, we chased him, distracted him and with every bite that we tried to give him, we ate a nibble here and there.
An hour later, Varun didn’t touch them but we ate them all. With lemon juice sprinkled all over. Seriously, they are that good. You just can’t stop at one! And luckily, as all the ingredients were known and helathy, it was guilt – free. Well, all most guilt free since Varun didn’t have any.
The recipe doubles and freezes well for mid-week toddler or even adult dinner with a huge salad.
Our consolation hopefully by eating healthy and home cooked food, he will soon learn a taste for different foods. Challenging times ahead!
Chicken Nuggets Recipe
- 1 Chicken breast at room temperature
- 2 Bread slices toasted ( or bread crumbs)
- 1/2 teaspoon : Pepper, Paprika and Parsley ( each)
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- Lemon juice ( optional)
1. Slice the chicken breast in half or pound it till its thin. Dice into bite sized nuggets. Set aside.
2. Crumble bread crumbs or toast into fine crumbs. Add the spices and salt. Mix well. And set aside on a large open plate.
3. Beat the egg with a little bit of water and keep it in a shallow bowl.
4. Dip the chicken breast first in egg wash and then in the crumbs-spice mix. Set aside on a fresh plate. Repeat for all nuggets.
5. Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame. Once the nuggets are all prepared, fry them a few at a time till they are golden brown on each side ( a couple of minutes on each side)
6. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve warm. Or Freeze once cool for mid-week snack.
What do you do when your kid won’t eat his veggies? You sneak them into unsuspecting food items.
For past few weeks, I am having hard time to get Varun to eat vegetables. He used to have peas, bell pepper, broccoli, baby tomatoes etc but nowadays only pasta, rice and chicken are his staples besides milk and fries. Not proud of the last one. The only exception to this is if its something warm and crispy – like cheese paratha or puri’s or if its something novel – like shelling peas and eating them as you go.
So, when I found a recipe to make pumpkin biscuits I decided to go for it. Light and buttery. With no added sugar, and with real pumpkin puree, goodness of whole wheat flour and butter, they are perfect as an after school snack or breakfast. And best of all it can be made easily with no special skills needed. If you can mix, knead and roll dough, you are all set. Cut them up with a cookie cutter and bake them for a quick golden treat. They taste even better with butter slathered on them though I can imagine maple syrup or jam would do the trick as well.
I must admit Vipul and I loved them more than Varun though he was intrigued by the color and wanted to try the ‘cake’ as he insisted on calling them. He ate a few bites before running away. But he asked for it this morning at breakfast and ate some. Small victories and baby steps!
Pumpkin Biscuits Recipe
Makes about 12 biscuits
- Whole Wheat Flour – 2 cups
- Baking Powder – 2 teaspoons
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Ground nutmeg – 1/2 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
- Fresh grated ginger – 1/2 teaspoon
- Fresh cardamom seeds crushed – 1/2
- Pumpkin Puree – 1 cup
- Milk ( Or Butter milk) – 1/3 cup
- Flour for kneading/rolling – 1/4 cup
1. Sift the flour and then add baking powder, salt and the spices. Mix well and then refrigerate for 10 minutes
2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C or 400 F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
3. While the dry ingredients rest, whisk the pumpkin puree and milk together.
4. Add the pumpkin puree mixture to the dry ingredients and knead well into a dough. again let rest for 5 minutes.
5. Lightly dust the counter where you will roll the biscuits with flour. With a light hand-roll the dough into a 9″ x 6 ” rectangle. Fold into thirds like an envelope. Turn this ‘folded envelope’ by 90 degrees and then roll again into 9″ x 6″ rectangle.
Once again, fold into thirds. Turn again, roll and fold. Just make sure you use a light hand while rolling else the ‘layers’ will squish into each other.
6. Now roll this into a flat square about 1/2 ” thick. Use cookie cutter or sharp metal bowl to cut your shapes. As you cut you will hear ‘poof’ as the air comes out of the layers formed.
7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with left over dough. Form the last biscuit with the remaining dough.
8. Gently transfer the biscuits to the baking tray and bake for 15 – 18 minutes.
Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.