Cooking Curry For (And With) Kids
Anyone with children will know all too well how much of a struggle it can be to get them to eat what is on their plates. One week they can’t get enough of sweetcorn and the next week they want peas with everything. They love strawberry yogurt one day and in the blink of an eye it’s a peach melba yogurt or nothing. And that’s just the food they have tasted before;try to introduce them to new tastes and flavours and you’ve really got your work cut out.
But if you are fed up of eating the same old family favourites and want to try something more adventurous at meal times, then maybe a spot of curry is the answer. Despite the fact that curry is a significant part of our country’s culinary heritage – even named our national dish – it can still seem a bit daring and different to children. Some restaurant and takeaway curries can contain one chilli too many for some children’s taste buds. However, that doesn’t need to be the case with curries made at home. With the right flavour combination you can turn even the fussiest of eaters into curry connoisseurs. Here’s how to do it:
Start them young
In India, children will start eating mild curries almost as soon as they start eating solids – around seven to eight months of age. Turmeric is a good spice to start as it has a mild flavour and is very versatile – it can be added to baby rice, soups and vegetable purees. From there you can move onto coriander powder, crushed cumin and mustard seeds.
Let toddlers explore
Toddlers are at an age when every day brings with it a new experience, a new adventure or a new encounter. Make sure that food and ingredients form part of their learning curve and let them get hands-on with the preparation of different dishes. Making chapattis can be fun – rolling the dough, shaping the bread and seeing the final product is all part of the experience.
Teach them about different cultures
As your children learn about different cultures at school, complement it by teaching them about different flavours from around the world at home. You can play games that focus on spices, such as spotting jars in shops and blind taste tests.
Let them experiment
If children help make the food they eat, the more likely they are to appreciate (and enjoy) eating it. Making a simple potato curry together is a good starting point. Keep spices mild and then start to experiment with the vegetables you use. Or you could let children experiment with spice blends. Let them choose and mix their spices in a bowl before you start cooking and use these blends to flavour the dish.
Once your children have got the curry bug as much as you, it’s time to start eating curries when you are out. One of London’s popular Indian brasseries will give them an authentic taste of India, without breaking the bank.
Anyone with children will know all too well how much of a struggle it can be to get them to eat what is on their plates. One week they can’t get enough of sweetcorn and the next week they want peas with everything. They love strawberry yogurt one day and in the blink of an…