South Indian cuisines from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and even Goa or the Konkan region have plenty of popular dishes that are snacky and perfect for your kid’s lunch box. What’s more, you can also make some small changes to jazz up these traditional dishes, whether they be Dosas or Kozhukattai, to create lunch box masterpieces for your child. Read on to know how.
This article is a part of Slurrp’s Back To School series, where we provide all the tips, recipes and guidance parents need to ensure that children resuming school this year get all the food and nutrition they need and deserve.
Whipping up an interesting tiffin or lunch box for kids every single day can be quite challenging, especially if your child is a picky eater. The responsibility every parent and guardian to a growing child carry is to provide meals that are nutritious, filling and delicious at the same time—and that is a very difficult tightrope to walk on. What makes this task even more difficult is that school lunch boxes are also a very important part of children socializing properly. Here’s how.
No matter what type of school kids go to, private, public or government, lunch time is when kids share meals and socialize over food—and the habits picked up here can often last a lifetime. India is a very diverse nation with multiple cuisines, and school lunch boxes often represent this food very aptly. For kids, lunch time and sharing tiffin boxes full of regional goodies gives them exposure to food beyond the home. Apart from their school lessons, this lunch time tiffin sharing gives them much-needed culinary education too.
So, while lunch boxes are great ways of providing nutrition to your own kid, they are also a way to talk about the culinary cultures of India. And in this regard, South Indian cuisines make for some of the most interesting and loved lunch box contents. Food from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and even Goa or the Konkan region is very popular around the world because it is not only simply cooked and packed with flavours, but also because most of these traditional foods are also nutritious.
Of course, kids today have been eating simple old dosas, appams, idlis and other commercially available South Indian staples so much that they would never be surprised by just these. If you are looking to make South Indian-style lunch box recipes for kids, then you will have to be more creative with your presentation and cooking. Wondering how to do that? Here are some great ideas foe South Indian-style lunch box recipes for kids.
Video Credit: YouTube/Chef Ranveer Brar
Mini Masala Idli
Also known as Podi Idli or Tadka Idli, these mini masala idlis are cute, slightly spicy and very easy to eat as well as share during school lunch time. You can simply whip up some Podi by dry roasting and grinding chana dal, sesame seeds, dry red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves. All you need to do then is make tiny idlis using a mold and toss them in the Podi. You can also add an additional tadka of mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and coconut if your kid likes it.
Raw Mango Chitranna
Originating in the state of Karnataka, specifically in Udupi, Chitranna is a sort of no onion-no garlic fried rice that is made with leftover rice. Traditionally prepared by tossing cooked rice in a tempering of mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, asafoetida, peanuts and coconut. Raw mango or Mavinakayi Chitranna is a summery variation of the classic and tastes unlike any other South Indian rice dish. All you need to do is add grated raw mangoes after the tempering, and your kid will be in for a treat.
Popularly known as Appe, the South Indian staple called Paniyaram has gained immense popularity in recent years—so why not add it to your kid’s lunch box? The Paniyaram batter is made by fermenting rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds that have been blended together. Once fermented, you can add all the veggies your kid likes—or ones you think they should have for nutrition—along with some paneer or cheese to make the dish outstanding.
Medu Vada Sandwich
This one just needs your imagination, nothing more! If you think about it, Medu Vada looks quite like a Bagel, and if the latter can be turned into sandwiches, why not the former too? All you need to do is slice a Medu Vada, apply coconut or any other chutney and add any fillings like shredded chicken, paneer, etc in the middle for your kid’s lunch.
Masala Dosa Quesadilla
Once again, this one is all about getting creative with your presentation rather the basic recipe for dosa itself. All you need to do is make plenty of masala stuffing, either the traditional potato-based one or a chicken-based one. Then while making the dosas—whether they are made with a rice batter or a millets one is up to you—apply generous amounts of the masala on one half of the dosa. Fold the other side over the filling, press lightly and cut in half before packing these Masala Dosa Quesadillas.
Corn Cheese Uttapam
There is perhaps no South Indian-style lunch box recipe that is easier and quicker than Uttapams. The batter made of rice or millets is very easy to make ahead, and you can easily stuff it with as many veggies as you like. But if that sounds too boring for your kid’s lunch box, then you could try giving it a pizza-like twist by adding corn and cheese in the batter. You could also experiment with chopped bell peppers, jalapenos and even pineapples if you wish.
Parotta Chicken Roll
Love Malabar Parottas paired with Chicken Ghee Roast? Why not put the both together and whip up a crazy delicious South Indian-style lunch box recipe for your kid? In fact, this lunch box idea is so delicious and easy that you can even make both the Parottas and Chicken Ghee Roast the night before, reheat both and make a Parotta Chicken Roll out of them in no time.
If you have ever tried the sweet or savoury rice balls from Tamil Nadu known as Kozhukattai, then you already know that they look and taste like flavour bombs. But for your kid’s South Indian-style lunch box recipe, you can amp up the Kozhukattai further. One option is to stuff the rice balls with corn and cheese. Another option is to dip it in a light batter and fry or air fry to make something resembling Italian Arancini balls.