Idly

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Idly is a traditional South Indian breakfast dish, made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils and rice. With tips from elders and experience of idly making for a few years, I can now confidently say that I have a recipe for the perfect idly. This is a perfect first food for your baby too. I started this for my son when he was 9 months old.

As always, I would recommend you to check with your doctor before introducing any new food for your baby. Once you start a new food, follow the 3-4 day rule, i.e wait for 3 days before starting the next new food to watch out for any reactions

Idly is a food that can be enjoyed by all age groups: babies, kids and adults ūüėä

To make idly it is best if you have an equipment called a wet grinder. Something similar to this : Premier Wonder Table Top Wet Grinder 110v 1.5L https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004OPIBV2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_sMs.xbTE025QD

However I have also heard success stories of making idly batter in the Vitamix blender. 

Soaking time: 6-7 hours 

Grinding time : 30-40 minutes 

Yields: Around 8 qt idly batter

Ingredients 

  • I use a rice nazhi for my measurements of rice and dal, ¬† nazhi is a big cup used for measuring rice in most house holds. This is an approximate conversion in cup measure:
    • 1 nazhi idly rice or raw rice ¬†= 1 3/4 cup idly rice or raw rice¬†
    • 1 nazhi urad dal = 1 3/4 cup urad dal
  • 4 nazhis idly rice or white parboiled rice ( available in Indian stores or Asian stores )
  • A handful of raw rice¬†
  • 1 1/4 nazhi whole urad dal ( available in Indian stores or Asian stores)
  • 1 tbsp methi seeds or fenugreek seeds ( available in Indian stores or Asian stores )
  • Salt, to taste¬†
  • Water, as needed (Approximately 4.5 cups of water will be needed to make the batter)

Method

Note : I have used a wet grinder for grinding the batter 

  • Wash thoroughly and soak urad dal and rice separately in plenty of water for 6 hours. Soak the methi seeds separately in water
  • While grinding, you can use the same water used for soaking. Drain and collect the soaked water in another vessel
  • Place the soaked methi in the grinder, add around 1/8 cup¬†water and grind for a minute
  • Add the soaked urad dal, around 1/2 cup water and continue grinding. Keep adding 1/2 cup of water¬†at regular intervals while the grinder is running. The batter should become smooth and fluffy. Allow about 20 minutes for dal grinding. (For 1 nazhi or 1 3/4 cup urad , you will need up adding around 3 – 3 1/4 cups of water)
  • This is how¬†the fluffy and smooth urad dal batter should look:¬†
  • ¬†¬†
  • Remove the dal paste and place the soaked rice in grinder. ¬†Add 1/2 a cup of water initially and keep adding water at regualar intervals. Rice paste should be ground coarsely for making soft idlis. Grind the rice for around 10-15 minutes (The rice paste will need approximately 1 1/2 cups of water)
  • ¬†
  • When done, add salt and the collected dal paste to the rice paste and mix well with a ladle for few minutes till both the batters blend well. The final idli batter should be of medium thickness and of pouring consistency
  • ¬†
  • Leave overnight (8-10 hrs) for fermentation till it rises well
  • ¬†
  • Whisk the dough with a spoon in the morning
  • ¬†¬†
  • ¬†¬†Grease the idli mould with oil and fill the dough in the cups of the idli stand. Pour 1 cup of water in the pressure pan or fill up to the required level in an idly cooker
  • ¬†
  • Steam the idlis for 10-15 minutes until well cooked and soft. Remove the stand from the cooker. Cool slightly and remove the idlies one by one from the idly mould using a spoon
  • ¬†
  • Serve hot and enjoy with sambhar or chutney ūüėä

Note: The idly batter can be stored in a refrigerator. You can enjoy soft idlies for at least 3-4 days and then make dosa from the same batter too 



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Baby Food: Suji or Rava Vegetable Upma

2015/01/img_3490.jpgSuji upma is a good first cereal to introduce to your baby after your baby gets used to rice cereal mixed with vegetable/fruit puree. My toddler still loves this Upma ūüėä

As always, before starting any next new food, always wait for 3-4 days to make sure that your baby does not have any allergic reaction. If you have not introduced ghee to your baby yet, I would recommend you to check with your doctor before you add this to your baby’s diet

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup suji/rava/semolina
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp powdered Jeera
  • 1-2 black pepper powdered
  • 1/4 cup vegetable puree (I used green pea and carrot puree)
  • A few crystals of salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  • Dry roast the suji adding a pinch of ghee and keep aside
  • Heat ghee in a pan and add the powdered Jeera and pepper. Saut√© for a few seconds
  • Add 1/2 a cup of water, few crystals of salt and bring to a boil
  • Add the roasted suji, vegetable puree and keep stirring to make sure that no lumps are formed and the suji absorbs most of the water. Try to retain some of the water content in the Upma so that is not too dry and easier to feed your lil one
  • Serve¬†immediately while warm, as it can get dry after a while

Tip 1: At the stage of 9-10 months a halwa consistency will make it easier for your lil one. Hence we are trying to retain the water content in the Upma. As your baby grows older you can cook the Upma until the water is absorbed

Tip 2: As your baby grows older and starts munching on finger foods, you can replace the vegetable puree with freshly cooked vegetables

Tip 3: You can adjust the salt and spice according to your baby’s/ toddler’s taste

 

Note: The information here is meant to serve as a guide and resource for starting solid foods for babies. It should not be be substituted for the provision or practice of professional healthcare advice and help. Always check with your pediatrician before introducing a new kind of food for your baby

 

 

Baby First Food: Vegetable Puree

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Simple tips and guidelines for preparing your baby’s first vegetable puree

  • I recommend you to check this section on my blog: –¬†Guide to starting solid food for babies for some guidelines and tips about starting solid foods for your lil one.
  • I strongly¬†recommend you to check with your doctor before introducing any new food for your baby. Once you start a new food, follow the 3-4 day rule, i.e wait for 3 days before starting the next new food to watch out for any reactions

Appropriate for: Baby who has been given a green signal by the pediatrician to start solid home made food (Typically 6 months and above)

First Food Vegetables (These are the list of vegetables that I tried out for my lil one)

  • Yellow vegetables: carrot, sweet potato, squash
  • Green vegetables: spinach, beans, green peas

Method:

I used a rice cooker for cooking the vegetables. You can use any other method of cooking as well Рpressure cooker, stove top. I have followed the instructions given in the rice cooker manual w.r.t the steaming instructions and steaming time. Below is a table that summarizes the cooking instructions for all the basic vegetable purees:

Steaming instructions for rice cooker (Common for all vegetables):

  • Add 3 cups water to the cooking pot and place the vegetable to be steamed in the steam tray
Vegetable Basic Preparation Steaming time
Carrot Peel carrots, wash thoroughly and chop into fine pieces 13-15 minutes
Butternut squash Peel the butternut squash and wash thoroughly, chop into fine pieces. Alternatively can use organic frozen butternut squash 11-13 minutes
Yellow squash Peel the squash and wash thoroughly, chop into fine pieces. 11-13 minutes
Green beans Wash thoroughly, chop into fine pieces 9-11 minutes
Green peas Wash thoroughly 6-7 minutes
Spinach Soak the spinach leaves in water for sometime and then wash thoroughly, chop the leaves finely 6-7 minutes
Sweet potato Peel and wash thoroughly, chop into fine pieces 28-33 minutes

Puree Instructions (Common for all vegetables):

  • Allow the cooked vegetable to cool down completely
  • Puree in a blender or mixer, adding water as required to make a fine paste. ¬†Make use of the water that was used for steaming the vegetable

Note: The information here is meant to serve as a guide and resource for starting solid foods for babies. It should not be be substituted for the provision or practice of professional healthcare advice and help. Always check with your pediatrician before introducing a new kind of food for your baby

Guide to starting solid food for babies

I am a proud mom of my adorable toddler, and over the time, I have realized that preparing the right food for your lil one can sometimes be challenging. Based on my experience and the tips shared by my family members and doctors, I have put together a baby food segment. You can find basic recipes by age on my blog. I have tried my best to highlight the right age for each food recipe that I post. This section is purely based on my experience, and I would always recommend that you check with your pediatrician before you introduce any new food to your baby. Additionally, some pediatricians may not recommend making your own vegetable or fruit puree, in special cases, for instance if your baby was born premature. Do check with your pediatrician before starting to make homemade food for your baby. My baby was born a few weeks premature, and hence the doctor wanted us to first start with store bought Gerber vegetable and fruit puree, until he got used to the basic fruits and vegetables, so I started giving home made vegetable and fruit puree only after 8 months of age

Here are a few guidelines that I followed when I started with solid food

  • 6 months to 9 months
    • First food to introduce to baby: Rice cereal ( I started off with Gerber rice cereal)
    • Before starting any new food, always wait for 3-4 days to make sure that your baby does not have any allergic reaction
    • After rice cereal, I introduced fruits, followed by yellow vegetables, and then green vegetables
    • Examples of first fruits: apple, banana, pear, prunes, peach
    • Examples of first yellow vegetables: carrot, squash, sweet potato
    • Examples of first green vegetables: spinach, green beans, green peas
    • Once baby is used to the vegetable and fruit puree, you can mix it with the rice cereal
    • Apart from fruits , one serving of yellow and one serving of green vegetable everyday was recommended by our pediatrician
  • 9 months to 10 months
    • Oatmeal cereal
    • Puree of white rice, tur dal/moong dal with a dash of ghee and few crystals of salt
    • Can add a tsp of rasam, dal, sambhar or any curry that you prepare to the rice, dal puree
    • Finger foods: Boiled and cut carrot, boiled green peas, baby crackers
    • Full fat yogurt made at home or a branded baby yogurt recommended by doctor like YoBaby
    • Rice noodles
    • Rice balls made with very little spice and salt (Kuzhakattai)
    • Soft idly
    • Soft dosa
    • Upma with finely chopped veggies or vegetable puree
  • 10 months to 12 months
    • Ragi-whole wheat cereal
    • Can introduce fruits like pineapple, muskmelon, grapes boiled and pureed after peeling
    • Can introduce foods like upma, pasta, roti, white bread
    • Can introduce sambhar rice, rasam rice, or any vegetable curry and rice, provided they are made with mild spice and salt
    • Can introduce vegetable soups
  • Citrus, tomato puree, honey, eggs, milk was only recommended after the baby turned a year old
  • 12 months +
    • Can introduce tomatoes, citrus – orange, lemon
    • Can introduce berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
    • Can introduce whole milk, ice-cream, smoothies
    • Can introduce eggs in the diet
    • Can introduce any food that we eat at this stage, but we still need to limit the sugar and salt intake
    • Some interesting foods that you can introduce for your toddler:

Well, these were a few guidelines that I followed. I will be posting the recipes mentioned above for all ages soon. Keep watching this space for recipes. You can check out this section for the recipes:  https://minuraman.wordpress.com/category/baby-food-recipes/

Currently there are a handful recipes for toddlers, but I will soon be updating this space to add recipes for all age categories (6 months, 9 months, … )

Note: The information here is meant to serve as a guide and resource for starting solid foods for babies. It should not be be substituted for the provision or practice of professional healthcare advice and help. Always check with your pediatrician before introducing a new kind of food for your baby

Whole Wheat Corn Bread

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This whole wheat corn bread is packed with whole grain, soft and fluffy and can be enjoyed with a hot soup. It tastes yummy too. I recently made this bread as an accompaniment for spring onion soup, which is my next recipe ūüėä This is from my mom’s recipe collection.

The original recipe is by Chef Jyoti N Parekh. The original recipe called for all purpose flour but I have used 100% whole wheat flour.

Note: This recipe is tagged as a toddler friendly recipe. You can use full fat milk or 2% milk that your toddler is used to drinking

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Corn meal – 1 cup
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Brown sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – 3/4 cup
  • Curd – 1/2 cup
  • Melted butter – 1/4 cup

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes
  • Grease an 8″ loaf ton or 8″ square pan
  • Sift the flour along with baking powder and soda. Mix the sugar with the flour and keep aside
  • Beat the milk, curd, and melted butter in a stand mixer on medium setting or using a spatula and a bowl
  • Fold in the flour and sugar mixture carefully into the creamed mixture of butter, milk and curd , mixing gently until well combined. It’s important not to over beat the batter at this stage

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  • Pour the batter into the greased pan.Give tin a light tap on table to spread air evenly in the batter and put immediately in preheated oven

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  • Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a light crust is formed and the bread passes the following tests :
    • Test by lightly touching the centre of bread when minimum cooking time is up. If no imprint is left, the bread¬†is done
    • Pierce a fine skewer in the centre of the bread , if it comes out clean, it is done
  • Cool the bread on a cooling rack for a sufficient time

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  • Place parchment paper or wax paper over the bread. The paper prevents the cooling rack from breaking the crust or leaving imprints.¬†Place a second cooking rack on top of the bread and invert the bread while sandwiched between two grids.¬†Remove top grid and the pan. Cool completely on grid

Enjoy the bread with some butter and a hot steaming soup ūüôā

Whole Wheat Puri

IMG_0276Puri is a deep fried Indian delight that can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. I just came to know that the name puri derives from the¬†Sanskrit¬†word ŗ§™ŗ•āŗ§įŗ§Ņŗ§ēŗ§ĺ (pŇęrikńĀ), from ŗ§™ŗ•Āŗ§į (pura) “filled”. As a child I was always fascinated to see the puri puff up into a round ball, whenever Mom made puris. I got this fool proof recipe for puri from my mom. The puris came out soft and puffed up well too. They also tasted delicious. I attribute the success to my husband as well, who¬†helped me in shaping and frying the puris.

I used 100% organic whole wheat from Wholefoods for making this puri. You can use any wheat flour brand for making the puris.

You can enjoy puri with Aloo Bhaji, Chole, Chutney or¬†even jam :). I love savory accompaniments and my favorite is Chole ūüôā

Makes: 15 puris

Ingredients

  • ¬ĺ¬†¬†cup milk, boiled and cooled
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp¬†all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp semolina
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  • Knead all the ingredients well until¬†the dough is smooth and even. The dough should not be sticky or wet. It should be smooth. It should not be too stiff as well
  • Cover with a wet cloth and keep aside for few minutes
  • Roll the dough into a large circle and¬†shape into round puris using a lid. Use dry flour as needed to aid you in this process. A¬†mason jar’s lid is perfect for making the round shape. You can collect the edges to make a dough to form puris again
  • Repeat the above process for the remaining dough
  • Heat enough oil in a pan for frying the puris.¬†Test the oil temperature by dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If it rises to the surface within few seconds, the oil is ready
  • Drop the puri in the oil, and press¬†down gently with a ladle for few seconds. As you press it gently, the puri will¬†start rising and puffing up. At this stage, use another ladle to help you rotate the round puri so that all sides are cooked and golden brown in color

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  • Drain the excess oil from the puris and serve hot with your favorite accompaniment

Enjoy ūüôā

Broccoli Beet Carrot Tomato Soup

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I had lots of left over broccoli, beets and carrots. I decided to whip up something healthy and experimented with this soup. I did not expect the soup to be this tasty but all of us at home enjoyed it ūüėä

Note: This recipe is tagged as a toddler friendly recipe, but I would recommend you to adjust the salt and spice level according to your toddler’s taste

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized broccoli crowns
  • 5-6 baby carrots
  • 2 mini beets or 1 small beetroot
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tbsp oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Chop all the vegetables into medium sized chunks
  • Pressure cook all the vegetables adding sufficient water for 2-3 whistles
  • Allow to cool down and then blend in a blender to a smooth paste
  • Heat the oil or ghee and add the corn flour. Fry till you get a nice aroma
  • Add the milk and keep stirring until a thick paste is formed
  • Add the vegetable puree, salt, pepper and garam masala
  • Mix well and simmer for at least 10 minutes

Enjoy the soup with your favorite accompaniment ūüėä