Posted on March 26, 2020 at 2:30 PM by Madhu Gadia
Cooking with Children
Most of us, adults and children, are self-isolating as we yield to the spread of COVID-19 around the world. As responsible citizens, that means sheltering in place and being more intentional about when and how often we go out – by a state mandate or personal safety. That also means feeding the family all day long, which I know is a big change for some of us.
Make the Best of These Times
Take advantage of this “extra time” and get children to help you in the kitchen, age appropriate tasks of course. I know, it’s so much easier and less messy to do it yourself, but in the long run it will be good for you and an essential skill for them. The more they’re in the kitchen, the more they are comfortable around ingredients and the cooking process. Give them simple tasks like pulling together all the ingredients for a recipe, measuring ingredients, or chopping, if they’re old enough. These are all stepping stones to cooking. My mother proudly tells everyone her kids are great cooks but that she never “taught” us. I think we imbibed cooking as we were coerced to help in the kitchen; all resentful tasks such as bring me this, bring me that…
Source of Pride
When children get involved, they are more likely to eat different things and appreciate the food and the cook. Cooking takes practice, the more you’re in the kitchen, the easier it gets. Cooking is a source of accomplishment for children. They know what to do, they can feed themselves and maybe even feed you, their family. Start with simple tasks, like making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone. You get the idea.
Priceless Family Meals
In normal times, we are all busy running in all different directions and family meals can be a challenge. Today, we have the gift of time (looking for the positive, in these unbelievable times). Take advantage of this family time and cook together and eat together – it’s well worth the effort.
Beyond health and nutrition, family meals provide a valuable opportunity for parents and children to connect. Research indicates that when adults eat meals with children they do better in school, have fewer behavioral problems, and teenagers are less likely to use alcohol or drugs. Take the time to enjoy family meals, find out what your kids did all day, and trust me, they will remember these historical times, and how the family persevered.
Last year, my daughter, was watching some cooking videos with her son Viraj. Since Viraj had a running commentary about the videos, she showed him one of my cooking videos. According to her, his mouth flew open, and he said, “she’s good!” Hey, coming from a kid’s mouth, I’ll take it. And then, he insisted that he be in one of my cooking videos.
Well, we did it. When he was visiting, we both enjoyed and recorded a video on making Aloo Parathas (Potato Stuffed Pan-Fried Flatbreads), his favorite food. Hope you enjoy the video and share it with your kids. We know, he can’t make his own parathas, but he definitely has a whole new appreciation for them.
Happy and Healthy Cooking!
2 cups roti-atta/flour or white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
7/8-1 cup water
flour for rolling
3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium potatoes (about 12 ounces), boiled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons green chili, finely chopped, to taste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Dough can be made in a food processor or dough maker.
1. In a mixing bowl combine flour and salt. Make a hole in the center of the flour. Add water gradually as you mix dough. (Depending on the type of flour, the amount of water needed may vary slightly.) The dough should be soft and easy to roll into a ball. Knead the dough a few times until smooth and elastic. Dough should resemble bread dough in consistency and smoothness. Cover and let stand until ready to use.
2. Peel the boiled potatoes. On a plate, mash the potatoes with your hands. The potatoes should be lumpy with some 1/4-inch pieces. Add salt, cayenne pepper, green chili, coriander powder, and mango powder. Mix well. Set aside.
3. Divide dough into 8 balls. Roll each ball with the palms of your hands in a circular motion until the dough is smooth. Press to flatten. Roll each flat ball in the flour. Roll out each ball into an approximately 3-inch circle. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center. Now lift all the edges of the circle, keeping the filling in the center, and join in the center. Seal the edges tightly and flatten with the palm of your hand. Pick up the filled ball and roll in the flour again. Place the filled side down and roll again to about a 6-inches circle. (Use only the amount of flour you need to easily roll the dough. Excess flour on the griddle burns and creates smoke.)
4. Heat tava/iron griddle or a heavy fry pan on medium heat.
5. Lightly oil the preheated griddle and wipe off the oil. Place one filled tava on the griddle. The side that is facing the griddle is the first side. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it turns color and becomes firm and easy to pick up, turn it over with a flat spatula and cook on the other side, until it light brown spots on the second side. Adjust heat as needed so that the parathas cook in a reasonable amount of time. (While one tava is cooking fill and roll the next one.)
6. Using a large soup or serving spoon lightly oil the tava (about 1/2 teaspoon oil), turn it over and oil the second side. Using the spoon or the spatula press the tava several times, that helps the tava brown evenly. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
7. Serve immediately or place in airtight container to serve later.
Note: The cooked parathas can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. If planning to serve later refrigerate cooked parathas and enjoy cold or reheat on the griddle. Parathas can also be frozen. If frozen thaw in refrigerator and reheat before serving.
Nutrition Information per serving:
Makes: 10 parathas Serving Size: 1 each
Calories: 168; Total Fat: 5g (Saturated Fat: 0.5g); Carbohydrate: 29g; Protein 5g; Fiber: 4g; Sodium: 238 mg
Recipe from The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia; page 160.