Cooking for Babies

My love for food and for cooking has grown 10 fold since I found out I was pregnant. I kept reading about first foods for babies and methods of cooking for them throughout my pregnancy. I decided very early that I will not give my baby any packaged baby food. This decision was made after reading a lot about the ingredients that go in packaged baby food, talking to my baby's pediatrician, reading about the guidelines given by the WHO (World Health Organization) and of course taking tips from my mother.

Another important decision was to start solids only after baby turned 6 months (80 days old). I often see enthusiastic young parents giving their babies fruit and/or vegetable purees and dal ka pani at 4 months. the WHO recommends only mother's milk or formula or a combination of both till the baby is 6 months old. Unfortunately, many pediatricians ask parents to start with packaged baby food at 4 months. The reasons for the same are many and I would not like to talk about them here.

So darling daughter is almost 11 months old and I am having a fantastic time cooking for her. I will share  my recipes and our culinary adventures in the days to come. See you soon with traditional weaning recipes of first foods for babies.

Banana Walnut Cake

Bananas are the ultimate stress busters. They are rich in many nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. They have a lot of soluble fibre and can be enjoyed even by people who keep a close eye on their calorie intake.


The thought of making a cake out of this wonderful fruit and hence ruining its wonderful nutritious qualities crossed my mind many times! Then I looked up my mother's recipe of the ultimate banana bread and tweaked it a little to make a healthier version.


The method doesn't involve any heavy duty machinery. Just a bowl and a whisk make a perfect cake! The batter is versatile and can also be used to make muffins. Here is my take on a Banana Walnut Cake.

Ingredients

Ripe Bananas - 3
Wholewheat Flour - 1 cup
Refined Flour - 1/2 cup
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Eggs - 3
Sugar - 1 cup (You may use brown sugar if you like)
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/2 cup







Method

1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add the sugar.


2. Whisk in the sugar and add the vanilla extract.



3. Now add the oil slowly in a steady stream and keep whisking. The mixture should become slightly thick and pale.


4. Mash the ripe bananas with a fork and add them to the egg mixture.


5. Sift together the flours and baking powder. Fold in the flour and baking powder mixture with a metal spoon or spatula.


6. Now, add the walnuts. Make sure your walnuts are coated with a little flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the baking dish while the cake bakes.


7. Pour the batter in a greased and floured baking dish. Use a loaf tin or a bundt pan. Don't worry if you don't have either. A regular baking dish works just fine.

8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.


9. Let the cake cool slightly and invert it on a serving plate. You may sprinkle powdered sugar to decorate the cake. You may also add some caramel sauce or sweet sugar icing. I didn't do any of this as I wanted to keep my cake healthy.


10. I managed to make a medium bundt cake and four large muffins using this recipe.


11. A little brushing of maple syrup add a little more sweetness and gloss to the muffins. They were packed in a pretty box with a pretty bow and sent off to a friend's place as a diwali gift!


12. Happy baking! Enjoy!

Rumali Roti

Bread is an essential part of many cuisines but is probably most significant in Indian cuisine. Indians love their flat breads and the vast diversity of the subcontinent has given birth to a plethora of recipes each more tempting and mouthwatering than the other.

One such flat bread is the Rumali Roti. A literal translation is 'like a handkerchief'. This flatbread is a part of the Mughlai repertoire and is best enjoyed with Kababs and Makhni Dal! I learnt how to make Rumali Roti from my mom-in-law's friend. Traditionally it is made with refined flour, milk and ghee or clarified butter, but I make a healthier version with just whole wheat flour, water, salt and a little bit of clarified butter.

Here is the recipe.

1. Knead a soft dough with Wholewheat Flour, Water and some Salt. Make small balls of the dough and keep them aside, covered for 15 minutes.


2. Roll two balls separately to form small discs, the size of small puris.


 3. Spread some clarified butter on one disc and sprinkle some flour on top. Place the other disc on top of the first and roll the two together as thin as possible.


4. Place this rolled bread on a hot Tava and cook on both sides.




5. Separate the two discs into two wonderfully soft and moist rotis!



 6. Roll them or fold them and enjoy with your kababs. You can even make these rotis in advance. They keep very well up to a day! Enjoy!