Baby Food – Yellow lentils (Daal) with vegetables
This post marks OneLifeToEat’s venture into Indian baby food. Hope this recipe helps all you creative mothers out there!
I’ve met countless mothers who are bored to death of the limited recipes they have in stock for making food for their babies and toddlers. And then I’ve met some who are adventurous enough to expose their children to international cuisines right from a young age, but never find the right recipes that suit a child’s delicate palette. After a chat with a friend who voiced similar concerns, I came up with this modified daal recipe for children, where I’ve tweaked the Indian staple, to add vegetables to make it extra yummy, and extra nutrilicious. Lentils or Daal are high in Protein and Carbohydrates, and essential for a growing child’s needs.
Suitable for children 3 years and up
You will need:
- 2 cups yellow lentils. (To see what they look like, see here)
- 4 cups water
- Assorted veggies of your choice – carrots, green beans, sweet peas and russet potatoes or sweet potatoes (add any others you stock at home)
- Chopped small red onion or quarter chopped, large red onion
- 1 Small tomato, chopped OR 1 tbsp Tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
- Finely chopped Coriander leaves / Cilantro for garnishing
- Soak 2 cups of yellow lentils overnight. In the morning, boil them with 4 cups of water for about 45 min to an hour. If you own a pressure cooker you need not soak them. You can pressure cook them for 15 minutes on medium heat (about 3-4 whistles) and they are ready to serve. Pressure cookers are available at an Indian grocery store but I have seen them at Bed Bath & Beyond. The ones available at BB&B are from Mexico and in fact they are safer than the Indian one! They take the same amount of time to cook though.
- Once the lentils are cooked through, mash them with a potato masher and keep aside. Do not discard the water, it’s actually very nutritious.
- Microwave in a bowl all the veggies that you like.
- In a small pot heat some olive oil. Once well heated, add the onions and fry on medium heat till they are translucent.
- Then add the tomato paste or chopped tomatoes. Mix well and let it soften with the onions.
- Add the spices: ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp cumin powder, ¼ black pepper, ¼ tsp sugar and salt to taste. The cumin powder and black pepper is actually very good for kids, it helps with their digestion and turmeric has anti-bacterial properties.
- Add the boiled lentils and veggies to this mixture and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You may blend all the ingredients in a blender, like a puree. If you find the lentils a little dry you can add ½ cup of water or I generally add some vegetable broth. It actually tastes better and its great for the kids too.
- Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with soft rice. You can add a dollop of butter on the rice & daal mixture, for extra taste.