Posted on Leave a comment

Tips and Recipes to Help your Child Recover from Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea (loose, watery bowel movements) is a common problem in young children. It rarely means a child has a serious illness. Three most common reason for loose watery stools are: –

  1. viral or bacterial infection
  2. drinking too much fruit juice
  3. starting a new medicine

The biggest risk of diarrhoea is dehydration which means losing body fluids and not having enough electrolytes for their body to function the right way. Your child NEEDS to stay hydrated at all times which means giving extra liquids in smaller amounts at regular intervals. 

I love summer season but with temperatures soaring comes a large variety of infections and stomach bug is one of most common infections in summers. Most of such cases don’t require any medication or medical attention and can be cured at home with few dietary changes. Mild diarrhoea is 2-4 watery bowel movements in a day which usually goes away on its own. 

When do you require medical attention?

  • If your child is below 18 months old, ALWAYS consult your pediatrician.
  • If diarrhoea lasts for more than 2 days

Now let’s come to the biggest question- WHAT TO FEED YOUR LITTLE ONE?

Yes, we all know the usual stuff that we Indians normally eat when we have an upset tummy like khichri (rice and lentil gruel) and curd rice. But we mothers are aware that our child gets extra fussy when sick and will need variety. As a mother of a 10 year old boy I can understand your plight. We are always in a fix when it comes to preparing the next meal for our child when he/she is sick. We want it to be nutritious, mild, wholesome and above everything else your child needs to find it tasty.

So yes! The biggest challenge is what healthy and tasty stuff can you give? So here I am to your rescue. I will share with you few tips and simple, healthy yet delicious tried and tested recipes which will help you sail through the infection.

Pro Tips

Diet rule for Diarrhoea is B.R.A.T.Y diet, i.e.: Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast and Yogurt

  • Include more of yogurt in your child’s diet. The probiotics in yogurt will soothe his/her digestive system.
  • Switch to fruits like apple and banana which helps in binding the stool and avoid all fruits starting with letter ‘P’ like peaches, plums, papaya, pear. Also avoid apricots and strawberries.
  • Give your child more food containing starch. Starchy foods like rice, pasta, potato, white bread (refined flour bread) are easily digested during diarrhea.
  • Avoid all green leafy vegetables like spinach, Broccoli 
  • Include more carrots in diet. Pectin in carrots soothes digestive tract and helps add bulk to the stool.
  • And most importantly, keep your child well hydrated at all times. Strictly avoid all kinds of juices, fresh or concentrated.

Now keeping the B.R.A.T.Y diet in mind, here are some simple and healthy recipes to feed your child

  • Banana Smoothie: Consuming bananas with a little curd/yogurt is a traditional combination which works wonders. Eating banana and yogurt can provide your child with potassium, electrolytes, probiotics and prebiotics which deplete during diarrhoea. Here’s how you can make it. 
  • Carrot Apple and Ginger Smoothie: Carrot are a must when a child is suffering from diarrhoea. Carrot contains pectin. When pectin enters the body, the intestine begins to swell and form a sticky gel, thereby reducing diarrhea. But remember to lightly cook carrots.
  • Potato Poha (Flattened Rice) Patties: Potatoes without the skin are easy on the stomach and contain potassium, an electrolyte lost through diarrhoea. Boiled potatoes are easy to digest and can provide a starchy source of energy when your child is feeling weak due to stomach issues. Poha is light, easily digestible and good source of carbohydrates. It’s also a great source of iron. The husk of rice from which poha is made helps to bind loose stools. Here’s how you can easily make these patties for your child. Remember to keep it low on spices. 
  • Aglio Olio Spaghetti: Pasta is every child’s favourite. This was my life saviour during these troublesome times. They are good sources of carbohydrates, which your child needs for energy, whether he/she is pooping prolifically or not. It can help to bind stools. Also, since pasta has less fibre than whole grains, it is easier on the gut. Check out the recipe
  • Herb Rice with Spring Onions: White rice is a great choice during episodes of upset tummy. It will help to add bulk to the stool and will also provide your child with energy. Since plain bland white rice is boring and children refuses it at times, I tried to spice it a little with black pepper, rosemary, garlic and star anise. All these spices and herbs aid digestion and are actually good for the gut. You can tweak the recipe as per your liking. This is just to give you an idea. 
  • Hung Curd Sandwich: Another great source of carbohydrates, protein and probiotics. Your child will love these sandwiches and will eat them without any fuss. I have also added boiled egg yolk in the hung curd spread. Eggs help slow down bowel movements and help the child recover faster from diarrhoea. You can of course add or remove the ingredients as per your liking. 
  • Chocolate Banana Pancakes: No child says no to pancakes. Ever! Atleast I haven’t seen any. I have added cacao powder instead of cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is more processed than cacao powder, hence cacao powder is a healthier choice. Keeping in mind the BRATY diet, I have added Maida (All Purpose Flour) and oats flour to this recipe with no leavening agents. Check out the recipe here.

Please note, that BRATY Diet and refined flour is recommended by pediatricians for only a short period of time. It helps to neutralise stomach acid and stop diarrhoea. It is to be followed only till diarrhoea is under control. Once the child recovers, please follow the usual diet with whole grains and all kinds of vegetables and fruits.

I hope these recipes help you. Please remember, not to force feed your child especially when the child is sick. Your child will let you know when he or she is ready for food. The most important thing is that your child should remain hydrated at all times. And in all this chaos remember to take a breather. Keep your sanity intact which is another most important thing. I promise it gets better. 🙂 Stay healthy! 

Posted on Leave a comment

Green Peas, Corn and Mint Parantha for Toddlers

This recipe came into being when my then 4 year old suddenly one day decided that he hates green peas. Toddlers and their tantrums! But seeing the nutritional profile of peas, I wanted to make him feed peas in some form. I know, all mothers have gone down that lane atleast once where we are finding ways to hide such nutritious vegetables into our child’s meal.

I finally found this perfect way to make him have peas. He absolutely loves this parantha. But now that he is 10, the difference is that he now knows that this is Peas Parantha and sometimes requests for it too. He still hates peas in its whole form though. 🙂

This Parantha tastes extremely good and is perfect for toddlers. Your little one will enjoy the mild soothing flavour derived from apt spices and easily chewable texture. The natural sweetness from peas and corn is very well balanced with mint and spices. 

Peas I think are quite under-rated. It is not actually a vegetable but a small, edible legume and belong to the same family. They are rich in fibre and one of the best plant sources of protein. Always remember when it comes to nutrients, quality over quantity will always win. They are also a useful vegan source of iron. Just 80 grams of green peas can give almost 6 grams of superb quality protein and 1.2 mg of iron.

The combination of sweet corn kernels with peas is quite different and delectable. Sweet corn gives its own creaminess and milky sweet taste to this parantha and mint leaves not only adds that much needed freshness but also is an absolute MUST in summers to keep the digestive system cool.

Let’s see how we can make these parantha for our little picky eaters 🙂

Recipe: makes 3 Paranthas

Ingredients: 

  1. Green Peas: 1/2 cup, boiled or steamed
  2. Sweet Corn Kernels: 1/4th cup, boiled or steamed
  3. Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
  4. Mint leaves: 1/4th cup
  5. Ginger: 1/2 inch
  6. Roasted Cumin Powder: 1/4th tsp
  7. Black pepper: as per taste
  8. Salt: as per taste
  9. Coriander Powder: 1/4th tsp
  10. Garam Masala: a pinch (optional)
  11. Caraway seeds/Ajwain: a generous pinch
  12. Ghee for cooking and dough

Instructions:

  • In a large plate or bowl take wholewheat flour. Add salt, blackpepper, roasted cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, ajwain and 1 tbsp desi ghee. 
  • In a blender, add boiled/steamed peas, corn, mint leaves and ginger. Blend to a smooth purée. Use a little water to get a smooth purée.
  • Add the purée to the flour and knead the flour using the purée. Make a soft dough. 
  • Cover the dough and let the dough rest for 10 mins. Then make small balls and roll it with a rolling pin to the shape and size you want. 
  • Heat a tawa and place rolled parantha over it. Drizzle oil or ghee after it gets half cooked and cook both sides using ghee till golden brown. 
  • Serve with dollop of homemade butter and loads of love.  ❤️

Always serve homemade butter to your child and never store-bought one. Know why you should not give store-bought butter to your child and how to make homemade butter here- Is Homemade Butter really Worth the Effort?

Notes: 

  1. If you are boiling peas and corn then do that in minimal water and use the water to make the purée. Do not let the nutrients get washed away down the drain.
  2. Do not cook parantha on low flame for a long time. It will make harder or crisp paratha which kids don’t like.
  3. You can use frozen peas for this recipe but remember fresh will always taste better. 
  4. Do not skip adding caraway seeds or ajwain in your child’s parantha. They are excellent for digestion.

Do try out this recipe for your child. I am absolutely sure your child will enjoy it. More than your child I am sure you will enjoy watching your child gobbling down such healthy stuff. 🙂 Do let me know in the comments if you do. Would love to know how your child liked it. 

Happy Feeding! 

Posted on Leave a comment

Kali Mirch Paneer | Black Pepper Paneer- Kid Friendly Recipe

Paneer Kali Mirch is an onion based white gravy. The concept of combining the mild flavor of paneer with the strong flavour of black pepper emerged as Indian cookery developed, and regional cuisines grew in popularity. The flavours of this dish are mild yet there is subtle heat from the pepper. It has a rich silky-smooth gravy. As the name white gravy suggests, we instantly associate white gravy with too much cream but surprisingly this kali mirch gravy does not contain any cream at all. The gravy is made using cashews and milk which makes it light and easy on your stomach. It is perfect for those days when strong paneer cravings strike but you don’t want to indulge in those heavily cream based gravies. It can turn your boring lunch or dinner to something special, something that will bring a sense of satisfaction and smile to your face. I promise that! 🙂

I had my first kali mirch paneer dish from a famous restaurant in Ludhiana, a city in Punjab. I loved it so much then that I badly wanted to crack the recipe. Lot of trials later, I kind of figured out the technique they use but I wish I can crack the recipe of their secret masala. Though, this recipe doesn’t give that exact taste but comes pretty close to the original and of course tastes delicious.

For people who eat chicken and want to make Kali Mirch Chicken, you can totally use this recipe. Just marinate chicken in ginger-garlic paste, salt and black pepper for 30 minutes to an hour before and cook it in the gravy.

Now let’s see how we can make this delicious paneer dish. Check out the step by step recipe below.

Recipe: serves 3

Ingredients: cup measurement 250 ml

  1. Paneer: 200 grams
  2. Black pepper: 1 tbsp (freshly ground)

For the Gravy

  1. Onion: 1 large or 2 medium, sliced
  2. Ginger: 1 inch
  3. Garlic: 7-8 cloves
  4. Green Chilli: 1
  5. Oil: 2 tbsps
  6. Ghee: 2 tbsps
  7. Milk: 1.5 cups
  8. Cashews: 8-9
  9. Water: 1/2 cup or as required 
  10. Kasuri Methi: 1 tsp
  11. Bay leaf: 1
  12. Salt to taste

For Kali Mirch Paneer Masala

  1. Cloves: 2
  2. Black Cardamom: 1
  3. Green Cardamom: 2
  4. Mace: 1
  5. Cumin seeds: 1/4th tsp
  6. Coriander seeds: 1.5 tbsp
  7. Cinnamon stick: 1/2 an inch

Instructions 

  • In a wok roast all the dry spices till they become fragrant and coriander seeds turn slightly brown. Then ground them in the mixer grinder or mortar pestle to a fine powder. Keep aside. 
  • In the same wok heat oil and ghee. Add bay leaf, roughly chopped ginger and garlic. Slit the green chilli from the middle and then add it. Sauté till they the rawness goes. Do not brown it. 
  • Now, add sliced onions, some salt and cook till they become translucent. Add cashews and sauté till onions become soft. Do not brown the onions. We need white gravy. Browning onions will change the colour and flavour of the gravy.
  • Once the onions become soft, switch off the flame. Remove green chilli and bay leaf. Allow onions to cool a little then transfer to a mixer jar. Add a little water and blend to a smooth paste. 
  • Transfer the paste back to the wok. Add 2 tbsps of prepared masala and 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. Cook the onion paste for 4 to 5 minutes on low flame. 
  • Now add 1.5 cups of milk in the wok. Swirl some milk in the mixer jar to take out all the onion paste. Bring the milk to simmer then immediately lower the flame. Do not boil the milk on high heat. Chances are that it will curdle. Keep stirring regularly for 5-6 minutes so that milk doesn’t curdle. This is the only tricky part. Rest is a cake walk.
  • Once the gravy starts to thicken, add 1/2 cup of water, salt to taste and cook on low flame till the gravy thickens and coats the back of the spoon. 
  • Now crush kasuri methi between your hands and add it to the gravy along with remaining black pepper. Mix well. 
  • Add diced paneer cubes to the gravy and 1 tbsp of prepared masala. Cook on low flame for another 5 minutes. After 3 or 4 minutes, check for salt, add if required, cook for another minute and switch off the flame. 
  • Cover and let the gravy rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with hot rotis, naan or paranthas. 

Troubleshooting

  • The only trouble shooting in this recipe is curdling of the milk. If that happens, don’t get worried, I have got you covered. If the milk curdles while the gravy is thickening, then let the gravy thicken at first. Once it thickens, switch off the flame. Allow it to cool a little. Now before adding water, blend the curdled gravy in the blender and you will get a silky-smooth gravy. Transfer the gravy back to the wok, add water and cook like mentioned above.

Pro tips:

  1. For the best flavor and aroma, use peppercorns that are no more than a year old and grind them fresh using a pepper grinder or mortar pestle.
  2. The gravy can be made a day or two ahead and refrigerated. When ready to serve, add the paneer, cook for 5 minutes and serve. You can add some water to loosen up the gravy.
  3. If you want to make even more lighter gravy, you can skip cashews and just use milk.

Once you try this paneer kali mirch, I am sure it’ll become a regular part of your meal rotation. Do let me know in the comments how this recipe turned out for you. I would love to have your feedback. Stay Healthy! 🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

Fermented RAGI (Finger Millet) IDLIS- Gluten Free | Gut Friendly | Breakfast Recipe

At home Idlis is our favourite breakfast. Ragi idli is a nutritious wholesome South Indian meal. They are light, easy on stomach and have tremendous health benefits. Idlis are like steamed cakes made with lentils and idli rice. Ragi idli is just another variation where ragi is replaced by rice. The batter of these ragi idlis will also be beneficial for making dosas the next day. I like to serve these millet idlis with Coconut Chutney or Kara Chutney.

Ragi idli is made using idli rice, flattened rice (poha), ragi flour, urad dal and fenugreek seeds. The ingredients are first soaked and then the batter is prepared by grinding the ingredients followed by fermentation, then the batter is steamed to make idlis. This batter yields consistent results. The idlis will always be pillowy soft and totally melt in mouth.

Not just Ragi idlis or dosas, if you are a pancake lover, you can also try these, Ragi Pancakes or these Millet Cutlets which you can easily make at home in 10 minutes using minimal oil. They come out absolutely delicious and are so healthy.

Given the health benefits of ragi, these steamed cakes become a superfood which not only has benefits of whole grains, but it is also fermented. 

Why fermented food is good for you? 

Fermented foods like idli, dhokla, dosa are a fabulous addition to your diet.

  • It helps in increasing immunity and improves digestion. 
  • It also increases the bio availability of minerals. It breaks down proteins, carbohydrates and other minerals in a way making it easily available to our body. 
  • Also a lot of good bacterias are at play when your food is fermenting. All fermented foods are natural probiotic. It’ll strengthen your immune system making you disease resistant.
  • The lactic acid bacteria which helps in fermentation also creates omega 3 fatty acids, essential for the immune system. It will help to remove toxins and helps your body build a healthy gut flora. 

Here are 5 excellent reasons why this millet should be in your diet.

  1. High fibre content: Ragi is high in dietary fibre which will help to promote proper digestion and keep your bowel movements in check. 
  2. Rich in Calcium: It is an ultimate non-dairy source of calcium. Just 100 grams of Ragi can give you 344 mg of calcium.
  3. Supports Gluten- Free Diet: Ragi is a great choice if you are on a gluten-free diet – it’s naturally gluten-free! No need to worry about hidden gluten as it’s a safe and delicious way to enjoy your meals.
  4. Child Nutrition: It helps to fulfil child’s nutritional needs. It is rich in protein, calcium, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients.
  5. Treats Anaemia: Since Ragi is an excellent source of iron too, which is essential for producing red blood cells, it helps to fight off anaemia.

With all such goodness and nutrition packed in this humble dish, let’s get to the recipe now

Recipe: serves 4

Ingredients: measuring cup size 250 ml

  1. Ragi flour: 1 cup
  2. Idli Rice/Parboiled Rice or Broken Rice: 1 cup
  3. White Split Urad dal: 1/2 cup
  4. Flattened Rice/Poha: 1/4th cup
  5. Fenugreek seeds/Methi dana: 1/4th tsp
  6. Rock Salt or any non-iodised salt: As per taste
  7. Oil/ghee for greasing
  8. Water as required for making batter and steaming 

Method: 

  • Wash rice and poha 3 to 4 times. Soak them in enough water for 5 hours. 
  • Wash urad dal and fenugreek seeds 3 to 4 times and soak for 5 hours. 
  • Drain the water from dal and rice. First grind urad dal to a smooth and fluffy batter. Add little water at a time to get a smooth paste. Do not add too much water in one go. 
  • Then grind rice and poha to a smooth batter using water as required. Again, don’t add too much water. Add little at a time. 
  • In large steel bowl, mix together both dal and rice batter. 
  • Add roughly 3/4th cup of water to ragi flour and make a smooth consistency batter. Make sure there are no lumps. 
  • Mix Ragi batter with rice and dal batter till it completely incorporates. 
  • Add rock salt as per taste. Cover the bowl with a lid and keep the batter in dark warm place for 9 hours or more. I had to keep it for 12 hours.
  • The batter will double and become fluffy and airy. Give a gentle mix before making the idlis. Do not mix rigorously or you will lose the airiness of the batter. 
  • In an idli maker, bring water (roughly 3″ above) to boil. Grease idli moulds with oil/ghee. Fill in the cavities with the batter.
  • Now, steam the idlis in idli maker for 10 to 12 minutes or till toothpick inserted at the centre comes out clean. It shouldn’t be sticky.

Tips for fermentation: – 

  1. Add rock salt to the batter before fermenting. Salt helps in fermentation. Do not use iodised salt. 
  2. Do not skip Fenugreek seeds. It helps the batter to get bubble like texture. Also, it’s makes dosa crispier. 
  3. Add enough water while grinding dal and rice to get smooth and fluffy batter. Do not add water in one go. Keep adding little at a time. This will give you soft idlis. 
  4. Mix the final batter with your hands for a minute and then keep it at a warm place. The warmth in your hand will help in fermentation. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this recipe and will give it a try. Do let me know if you do. I would love to hear from you guys. Here’s to healthy eating! 🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

Easy and Healthy Oat Cookies- No Sugar | No Butter | No Refined Flour

If you are looking for healthy cookies recipe for your kids, this is it! These soft, chewy, perfectly sweet and wholesome cookies will be your go to recipe. I highly recommend this for your sweet cravings and pick-me-up snack moments.

Being a mother I am always on a look out for healthy snacking options for my child. I hate to give him sugary packet snacks everyday. While they are ok as once in a while indulgence but I get wary of all the artificial flavours, preservatives and processed sugar added in bakery cookies. 

These cookies have the goodness of whole-grains, oatmeal, egg and dates as prime ingredients. The natural sweetness and moisture come from a fruit, dates and coconut oil. The best part about these cookies is that they are one bowl cookies. No endless use of utensils and whisking is required. 

Main Ingredients and their Substitutes

Rolled Oats: I have used rolled oats or old fashioned oats here because they are better for baking. However, you can also quick oats. Quick oats will give you a slightly uniform texture. I however, prefer the taste and texture of rolled oats

Wholewheat Flour: I have added wholewheat flour for more fibre. Also, it brings together the cookie dough and gives nice crunch to these cookies. 

Apple: I like to add an apple in the cookies for moisture and natural sweetness. You can totally substitute apple with either a banana or applesauce. 

Virgin Coconut Oil: Coconut oil offers an almost direct substitute to butter. It lends a sweet but subtle flavour to bakes. You do not need to use as much coconut oil to get the same fat content as butter, since butter comprises 20% water. You can use butter here if coconut oil is not available. Just increase the butter by 20%.

Egg: Egg not only adds more protein and nutrition in cookies but it also helps to bind and improve texture of the cookies resulting in more light and chewy cookies. However you can totally make them eggless too by substituting 1 egg with flaxmeal. 1 tsp ground roasted flaxseeds in 4 tbsps water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Use this mixture in place of egg or use 1/4th cup of greek yogurt. 

Dates: I have added dates as a natural replacement for sugar. Dates are also rich in iron, fibre and antioxidants. If you want to substitute dates in this recipe, you do that by adding 1/4th cup of pure maple syrup.

Dark Chocolate: Use a good quality dark chocolate, atleast 70%. You can totally substitute it by adding raisins, black currants, cranberries, walnuts, dried blueberries or any other dried fruits or nuts of your choice.

Now let’s get to the recipe

Recipe: makes 14 to 15 cookies

Ingredients 

  • Rolled Oats: 1 cup
  • Wholewheat flour: 1/2 cup
  • Apple: 1 medium
  • Virgin Coconut oil: 3 tbsps
  • Egg: 1 
  • De-seeded dates: 4
  • Baking powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp
  • Dark Chocolate chunks (70%): 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Soak dates in hot water for 10 minutes to soften it.
  • Sieve wholewheat flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Now mix rolled oats. Keep aside. 
  • In a blender, crack an egg or add flaxmeal/yogurt. Add chopped apple, softened dates, vanilla and oil. Blend this mixture to a purée.
  • Now add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in batches. Mix till everything incorporates well. Do not over mix. Cut and fold gently.
  • Add chocolate chunks and mix well. The mixture will be moist at this time. You can refrigerate the cookie dough for 30 minutes. It will become easier to give it a shape. Also, the oats will absorb the flavour and soften.
  • Line baking tray with a baking paper or a silicon sheet.
  • Take one tbsp scoop and scoop out the mixture on the baking tray. Scoop will give you even size cookies. Flatten a little with a back of a spoon.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes at 180 C
  • Transfer on a wire rack. Allow it to cool. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

How to store

These Healthy Cookies store well for a few days, so you can make a batch on the weekend and enjoy them throughout the week. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up a week. They will soften further as they sit in the container making it perfect for toddlers. 

You can also try more of such healthy bakes- Healthy Carrot Orange Marmalade Cake and Wholewheat Banana and Jaggery Cake. 

Do give these healthy cookies a try. I am sure you and your kids will love it. Let me know in the comment section below if you do give it a try. It will be great to hear from you guys. Stay Healthy! 🙂