Since the time the doctor suggested Aditi needs more iron, I spent two days on the net reading up all I could about sources of iron. Though it was convincing to know that most of the plant sources do contain iron – the sad part is that it is all ‘non heme’ iron, which means that the body does not absorb it easily. One good way of having iron absorbed better is to combine your food with vitamin C sources like lemon, orange juice.
Now, we have always been green lovers, but this call for iron brought into my fridge bags of spinach, methi, mint, kale and collard. The leaves have started to appear in everywhere – daal, paratha, sabji, cheela and most recently – the humble chole. I had been making palak chole often, but addition of kale was Nilesh’s idea and the result was different and interesting. While pakal loses all its form (and water) when cooked, kale gave body and bite to the dish. I wish kale was available in India too – till that time, try adding any greens you can find to chole and you will be delighted with the result.
Chole/ chickpeas/ chane – 1.5 cups (source of iron)
Spinach and/or Kale leaves – 2 to 3 cups, cleaned chopped roughly (source of iron)
Tomatoes – 2, chopped small or pureed (source of iron)
Onions – 2 small or 1 large – chopped small
Ginger – half inch piece, grated
Garlic – 2 cloves (optional), grated
Kasoori methi – 1.5 tsp
Salt – as per taste
Turmeric- 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Chana masala/ garam masala – 2 tsp
Jeera – half tsp, Rai – half tsp
Oil – 3 tsp
1. Soak the chole overnight or 6 to 8 hours with lots of water. Wash them and boil in a cooker with a pinch of salt. I dont like them too mushy, so 3 to 4 whistles on a medium flame are good.
2. Heat oil in a non stick kadhai.
3. When oil is hot, add jeera and rai. When they pop and sizzle, add ginger and garlic and let them leave their raw small.
4. Add the onion pieces and keep stirring. The onions should get pale and soft and start browning.
5. Add the tomatoes, chana masala, turmeric, red chili powder, salt and let the tomatoes cook till they get all mushed up and the masala starts to give a good aroma.
4. Now add the kasoori methi, and chopped greens. Cook them for just a minute and add the boiled chole. We want the chole to cook in the juices of kale and spinach – this brings out the flavor and blends everything well.
5. Cook covered for 5 minutes. No need to add water as greens release lots.Taste and adjust the salt etc.
6. Eat with roti/ paratha.
Baby A started going to formal school in April and I continued my pursuit for nutritious food that I could put in her tiffin box – which keeps her full till she reaches her daycare. One advantage on my side is that A loves methi and everything green for her is methi – even if it is spinach/ paalak or dhania/ coriander. So while methi paratha remained her favorite in winters – spinach came to my rescue as soon as summers arrived and methi disappeared from the market. This one is a spinach paratha, to which I add in ‘ever-available-in-delhi’ paneer. This healthy paratha serves as our breakfast too. Just that we have it with dahi rather than butter – what is baby A’s favorite accompaniments to these or any other parathas.
Paratha and Butter in tiffin
Paalak/ Spinach – 1 cup (cleaned, washed , chopped fine).
Paneer – 1 cup (grated) – I used Mother Dairy brand.
Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Haldi – a pinch
Ajwain – a pinch
Oil – to cook the parathas.
Water – to knead the dough
1. Take the wheat flour in a wide bowl.
2. Add the salt, haldi and ajwain . Mix well.
3. Add the spinach, grated paneer and mix.
4. Add water little by little and knead the dough. Remember that both paneer and spinach add moisture and you may need very less water to get a soft, pliable dough.
5. Let it rest for 5 mins. Meanwhile, heat a griddle/ tawa.
6. Pinch out a ball of dough and roll out round parathas . The thickness must be a bit more than rotis/ phulkas.
7. Put the paratha on the heated tawa. Once brown spots appear n one side – apply oil and turn the paratha. Cook the other side similarly.
8. Serve with dahi or butter. These are very soft due to the paneer and can be packed for lunch too.
Heap of paratha rolls – easy to eat between office meetings!
Since this is a kid food, comprising of 3 main ingredients – wheat flour, Spinach and Paneer – I am sending this to the Kid’s delight event hosted by Pavani on her blog here. Also linking it to Valli’s announcement page.
As soon as I saw and event on toddler food, I knew I had to participate.In fact, I knew the exact names and number of posts I was going to send. Since more than two years now, I have either been cooking toddler food and consuming it myself happily accepting it as adult food, or raking my brains to convert adult food to a form acceptable to my toddler.
When I step into the kitchen early morning, the first priority I have in my mind is to cook baby A’s three meals – which get packed and sent with her to her daycare. Next comes my breakfast and lunch. If I am running late, breakfast for me is a bowl of oatmeal and lunch is anything that the office cafeteria got to offer – but there is no getting out of the kitchen unless the baby’s meals are all set in her pyrex containers.
The staple diet for my toddler is khichadi – it is a must have lunch for her. Though very simple, I always try to vary it by changing the daals that go with rice. It is also my hiding place for veggies – it almost always got grated in carrots, tomatoes and spinach. I would like to confess here that I always make it extra, as I am very tempted to have some myself. Subtle in flavors and rich in nutrients, it is a perfect comfort food.
Khichadi : comfort food for all ages
Rice – Half Cup
Toor/ Arhar Daal – One-fourth Cup
Yellow / Dhuli Moong Daal – One-fourth Cup
Tomatoes – 1 small or Half big
Carrots – 1 small or half big
Spinach leaves – handful
Salt – half tsp
Turmeric powder / Haldi – a pinch
Heeng / Asfotedia – a pinch
Ghee – 2 tsp
1. Take a clean cooker and put the rice and daals in it. Wash them multiple times with water, till the water is clear.
2. Add water, nearly thrice the quantity of rice and daals. I add 2.5 cups. This would make the khichadi pretty watery. Reduce it based on how the baby likes it.
3. Grate in the tomato and peeled carrot.
4. Wash and chop the spinach small. Add to the cooker.
5. Add in the salt, haldi and heeng.
6. Close the cooker and let the khichadi cook till 3-4 whistles.
7. Open the cooker when the steam goes off, mix in a spoonful of ghee.
8. Serve warm or cool and pack.
Sending this as my entry to the event ‘Healthy Food for Healthy Kids – Toddler Healthy Lunch’ happening at Priya’s blog ‘Enveetu Kitchen’
Also linking it to Nithu’s event announcement page at blog ‘Nithu’s kithcen’.