'Cooking for baby' records my experiences with feeding our little girl, Abhi, who loves variety in food, just like me ! Finding newer food options to keep her interested has been a challenge - sometimes exasperating but more often, exciting!

Read more of this in the 'About'. section

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ragi-wheat biscuit or call them cookies if you will

9 months and above
My habit of scrutinising the list of ingredients before purchasing new food and related products has taken on obsessive compulsive overtones after Abhi's birth. When she was old enough for finger food, I checked out a whole lot of teething biscuits, rusks and other commercial baby biscuit varieties. I was alarmed to find that the majority of these sold here had copious amounts of palm oil, hydrogenated shortenings, and sugar. A particular, popular brand said it had a calorific value in the range of 200 per biscuit ( remember, I am not counting calories but talking about empty calories) and going through its nutritional information, found the lion share of this calorie count is just from the sugar and corn syrup in there!

This recipe yields soft , crumbly cookies that are ideal for baby snacking if dipped in some warm formula, milk, or even expressed breast milk.

Ragi (finger millet/kezhvaragu/panjapullu) flour - 1 cup ( use a good commercial brand if you cant grind your own)
Wheat flour - 1 cup
Almonds - 5 nos (optional, use for babies who are not allergic to nuts)
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Cooking soda - 1/4 teaspoon
Jaggery syrup - 1/2 cup
Olive oil - 2 teaspoons
Cardamom - 2 nos (powdered fine)

Dry roast the flours together in a skillet on low flame for a few minutes. Sift the flours, baking powder, and soda together. Grind the almonds to a coarse meal. Add all ingredients together and knead to a slightly sticky dough (this should not be a hard dough). If required add a little milk to moisten it. Form small balls with the dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Slightly press with fingers to flatten the balls out.

Preheat oven . Place the tray in and bake for about 15 minutes at 150°. Remember, baking time is largely dependent on the oven. Cool and store in an airtight container in the refridgerator.

Place one biscuit in a bowl, pour some warm milk over, slightly press with finger to crumble and allow baby to dig in

Nutrition information

Wheat - Whole wheat flour is rich in Vitamin B6, iron, folate, zinc, manganese, phospherous etc. Whole wheat is also said to maintain good heamoglobin levels and to prevent childhood asthma.

Ragi (finger millet) - An exceptional non-diary source of calcium and also contains good amounts of the essential amino acid, methionine essential for vitality.

Jaggery - iron rich

Almond - Is a prebiotic (increases the good bacteria naturally present in the intestine) source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, etc.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Multigrain and sprouts sweet porridge

8 months and above

This porridge with the goodness of two whole grains, sprouted green gram (moong), and flavoured with cardamom and sweetened with Indian unrefined sugar aka jaggery beats the texture , creaminess, as well as yumminess of commercial cereals.

I have added a cashewnut and almond inorder to add to the taste as well as nutrition. This is because it is common among indians (the one's that belong to my circle, anyway) to add a couple of nuts to the usual multigrain cereal flour (sattu maavu) that is given to babies after they cross the eighth month. I had introduced abhi (our baby) to nuts early on and had ensured she is not allergic to them. In case of a family history of allergy to nuts, just make this recipe without the nuts.

Like wise I have used 'podiyari' which can be best described as the 'rice' counterpart to burghul. podiyari is to rice as burghul is to wheat! ( that was a wide throw).This is easily available in south india and out here in Oman (where we live now) since there live a large number of south indian expats here. Podiyari is made out of Kerala rose matta rice (red rice). In case this is unavilable,follow the procedure mentioned in the post script given after the recipe.

Podiyari (broken red rice) - 1 teaspoon (5 gms)
Pearl Barley - 1 teaspoon
Green gram sprouts (moong sprouts) - 10-15 nos
Almond - 1
Cashew - 1
Cardamom - 2-3 grains from a pod (not the whole pod)
Jaggery syrup - 1 teaspoon ( if you dont get jaggery use demerara or any unrefined sugar variety)
Milk - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup

Rinse out the grains and sprouts. Add everything together , apart from jaggery, and pressure cook for 6 whistles. Direct stove top method can take 20-30 minutes on medium and low flame depending on the barley variety. Once done, blend into a smooth mixture, add the jaggery syrup, simmer for a minute. If too thick add some more boiled water.

PS: If podiyari is unavailable, substitute with any other red or brown rice variety (even white will do though this nutritionally inferior). Follow this procedure:

Rinse the rice, spread on a clean cotton cloth and allow to air dry. When almost dry, throw into a skillet and dry roast on very small flame for about 5 minutes. Put into a chutney jar or coffee grinder and grind till it takes on a coarse burghul like texture.


Nutrition Information

Podiyari - High in fiber, nutrients and vitamins.

Barley - is a very good source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, apart from many minerals and vitamins including selenium, manganese, folate, and niacin.

Almond - Is a prebiotic (increases the good bacteria naturally present in the intestine) source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, etc.

Cashewnut - contains magnesium, copper, phospherous, and manganese.

Green bean sprouts - Sprouting increases the nutritional benefits of the wonder bean, whole moong. Its a better source of protein, B vitamins, iron, and calcium.

Jaggery - iron rich

Cardamom - is a great flavouring agent and used in combination with jaggery increases iron absorbency.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Avocado and mango treat

6 months and above

Ripe avocado - 1 No (medium sized)

Ripe mango - 1/2 No (medium sized)

Clean both fruits thoroughly. Guage out the avocado and cube the mango. Blend both together. The sweetness from the mango goes really well with the distinct yet bland taste of the avocado.

PS: I use alphonso mangoes for this

Nutritional Information

Avocado - A source of the heart healthy fats, the B vitamins, fiber, vitamin E among many others.

Mango - A delicious source of Vitamins C,A, and E, prebiotic (fostering the growth of digestion aiding good bacteria found naturally in the intestine)fiber, amino acids, and antioxidants.