When you think of kids’ food, you might imagine bland meals like fish fingers and beans, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Some Indian food is perfect for younger palates. Not only is it flavoursome, but it’s often vegetable-packed – a sure fire way to get children to eat their five-a-day without even thinking about it. So, if we’ve whetted your appetite, here are our top tips for serving Indian cuisine to smiling faces.
Spiced not spicy
Indian food doesn’t need to equal tastebud-blowing heat. There’s a plethora of spices that just add flavour, such as fenugreek, garam masala (a key blend used in a multitude of Indian dishes), cumin and turmeric. Start off by getting the kids used to lightly flavoured curries like a chicken korma – they’ll love the creaminess from the yoghurt, and using a meat they regularly eat will bring some familiarity.
Of course, Indian food isn’t all just curries. Your children may prefer a mild tandoori chicken, marinated in yoghurt and spices, and (unless you have a tandoor oven to hand) grilled. Or, if they already like rice, a raisin-studded biryani might be the answer.
Indian food has the most fantastic range of textures, from soft dal to crunchy samosas. If your brood is currently favouring a certain texture of food, you’ll find an Indian dish to match. Bhajis are especially good as you can make a huge batch, and eat them on the go.
If you have toddlers, we can’t recommend a dal highly enough. It’s a lentil ‘soup’ – though often very thick – which you can make in a slow cooker for minimum fuss. It’s fantastically soft and smooth, which is ideal for teething mouths. Add that lentils are super cheap and very nutritious, and you have a perfect weeknight meal.
Get the whole family involved
One of the best things about Indian food is how it brings people together. It’s great fun to make, and just as much fun to eat. Kids love getting involved, so they’ll think it’s great fun when you ask them to mush up potato and spices for your samosas. We’d also urge you to try and cook from scratch with spices once in a while. Pre-made curry pastes may be easier, but the smells you get from frying your own spices can’t be beaten. Your children will also love watching the spices pop and crackle in the pan as you prepare them.
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget dessert – and wow, do Indian desserts satisfy a sweet tooth. They’re more of an occasional treat than an everyday indulgence, but your kids will love them. On the healthier end of the scale is lassi – a fruit and yoghurt drink they’ll love, especially in the summer. At the other end of the scale are sweets like gulab jamun: syrupy sweet, deep fried balls of loveliness. There are some great recipes online, so have a search and get experimenting!
Looking for authentic Indian snacks to accompany your meal? Try the Cafe Asia range, available in 500 Iceland stores across the UK.