Today I would like you to meet the gorgeous Saarika and Rohan. As parents we are always chit chatting about what foods our kids are into and picking each other’s brains for child friendly recipe ideas. Hopefully this guest post/interview will be a great opportunity to get to see what other bubs and kids and eating and to help us Mums and Dads with meal time inspiration!

Saarika & Rohan

Child’s name and age:

Rohan, 9 and a half months

In a few sentences how would you describe your child’s personality and interests?

Ro is a ball of energy! He’s an inquisitive little boy and always scopes out a new environment before exploring.
His favourite things to do are climb anything and everything possible – the new fave is during bathtime!
He also does a wonderful lion impression.

How would you describe the type of food you and your family eat?

Unsurprisingly we eat a lot of Indian food, but I try to mix it up and not just stick to the Gujarati food I grew up with – so plenty of dals, chappatis, rice dishes, mixed vegetable curries, kitchdi etc.
We tend to eat Indian food 3/4 times a week and then I may cook a bake, salads or a stir fry with seasonal veggies.
We plan our meals for the week to avoid wastage and so I don’t have the ‘what am I going to make for dinner’ dillemma every evening.

What were your child’s first foods and first favourites?

I didn’t puree, but mashed a variety of fruits, veggies and lentils together.
Ro’s favourite by far was pure and simple – mashed banana!

What is in your meal time tool-kit?

My spice box – which includes dried chillies, turmeric, coriander – seeds and powder, cumin seeds, cinnamon bark, cloves, and cardamon pods. I then have a variety of other spices in the pantry which I use for various dishes.

Who/where do you go to for advice on nutrition and recipe ideas?

My mum – she’s a great source of inspiration and a fantastic cook.
I also have a scrap book with recipes I’ve found in magazines or from friends that I flick through for ideas.
I also love the BBC Food website when you’ve got ingredients but want to try and make something new –
bbc.co.uk/food

What is your current child friendly signature dish? 

I give Ro what we eat. I set aside his food before adding salt, sugar, chillies etc to our version.
We all love mixed vegetable kitchdi – its packed with lentils, rice and bags of flavour.

saarika rohan

Mixed Vegetable Kitchdi
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup - Basmati Rice - or whatever you have in the pantry
  2. 1/2 cup - Split moong dal
  3. 1/2 cup Split masoor dal
  4. 1/2 cup - Yellow split peas
  5. 2 or 3 small Potatoes - peeled and cubed
  6. 1 large Onion - diced
  7. 3 small Carrots - peeled and cubed
  8. 1 tsp clove powder
  9. 1tsp turmeric powder
  10. garam masala - to taste
  11. Coriander leaves to garnish
For tempering (vaghar)
  1. Oil (i use canola, but you can use whatever you prefer) or ghee
  2. 1tsp cumin seeds
  3. 1tsp mustard seeds
  4. 1tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  5. 1 pinch asafoetida
  6. handful of curry leaves
  7. 1 cinnamon bark or cinnamon powder
Instructions
  1. I pre soak the rice and lentils (all separately) for a couple of hours. Drain and wash them until water runs clear and set aside
  2. I then heat oil in a pressure cooker/saucepan with a tight lid and when hot, add cumin and mustard seeds.
  3. When they start popping add the remaining ingredients for tempering (this is called a vaghar).
  4. Add onions and cook until they turn clear, then add potatoes and carrots and stir, so all the spices coat them.
  5. Add the rice and lentils and cover the whole mixture with 5 cups of water and let it cook on a medium heat.
  6. If using a pressure cooker seal the lid and leave until the whistle blows. If using a saucepan check once the ingredients are soft and the kitchdi has a porridge like consistency, add water as required if it is looking too dry or the lentils and veggies aren’t cooked
  7. Add the remaining ingredients and stir vigorously - place on a low heat
  8. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.
  9. For babies - I don't blend or puree as the consistency is suitable for babies
  10. I add salt and chilly powder on top for our adult version.
Veggies & Me https://www.veggiesandme.com/

Describe a typical day of meals for your child?

I alternate what I give Ro for breakfast – fruits with yoghurt (sometimes as a smoothie), weetabix or porridge – so he isn’t eating the same thing every morning.

His daytime snacks can include steamed veggies with houmous, crackers, or fruit or cheese sticks.

Lunch might be some curry and rice, and then maybe a pasta dish for dinner – it just depends of what mummy has in the fridge!

Where do you do most of your food shopping?

I buy spices and lentils from my indian grocery shop. I buy in bulk and then store them in my pantry. I also pick up pickles, frozen paneer, different type of flours etc from these. 5kg of flour goes a long way – so I don’t tend to go that often, but its also an excuse to have a yummy lunch at the nearby restaurants in Harris Park!

I get my fresh fruit and veggies either from Paddy’s/ Flemington market – though with a baby it’s harder to get there as often as I would like, so I also go to Harris Farm Markets.  I pick up all my other staples from the local supermarket.