Joy of Cooking: Fun And Simple Dishes To Teach Your Kids

Leaving your child alone in the kitchen unattended can be scary, but hovering over them can stifle their cooking enthusiasm. It's important to introduce kids to kitchen activities safely, fostering independence for moments when parents are occupied. Operating a gas stove or induction plate is akin to passing through the metaphorical ‘test-of-fire’ for pre-teens. Trusting them with kitchen friendly appliances like a mixer-juicer can also be difficult. 

So how can parents introduce basic dishes? While expecting some pre-teens to make unexciting mundane dishes like an oatmeal when all they can think of is pizza, is demanding too much, here are some fun and simple recipes to start with. Save ingredients like spinach, mushrooms, and meat, which demand careful cooking, for later stages, gradually adding them into dishes like rolls and sandwiches that are mentioned in the list. 

Scrambled Eggs

Mastering the art of cracking an egg neatly is a fundamental kitchen skill every child should learn eventually. Teach them caution when handling knives while chopping onions and tomatoes. Once they've grasped lighting the stove and managing the flame, the cooking of scrambled eggs serves as an excellent beginner's dish, as all ingredients are simply cooked together in a pan into a mush. However, it's essential to pay attention to salt and oil quantities, as even adults often get careless in this regard.

Cheese Sandwich

Putting together two slices of bread, how difficult can it be? Think about it though! Beyond the act of putting the food together, they learn about nutrition too, like cheese offers protein, butter provides fat, carrots and lettuce supply vitamin A, tomatoes contribute vitamin C and bread offers carbohydrates. This simple task teaches them how to create a balanced meal for themselves even in hurried circumstances, thus enabling them lifelong to make healthy choices when it comes to food. 

Banana Shake

When you trust them to use your juicer finally, they will adore this recipe. Simply blend some ripe bananas with milk, a handful of cashews and just enough honey for that sweet taste. Once the blend is smooth enough, they are good to be enjoyed. Best for whenever they need an evening energy boost. 

Date Nut Granola Bites

Dates serve as a binding agent in this recipe so one will need plenty of them. Encourage children to develop patience while deseeding them. Besides, they are one of the healthiest and tastiest foods you can introduce children to, especially when they are missing something sweet. Begin by coarse grinding nuts and dried fruits such as almonds, walnuts, raisins and dried cranberries in a mixer and keep aside the blend. Next, heat the deseeded dates with some ghee in a pan till the dates melt. Switch off the flame and add in the crushed nuts. Shape the semi-sticky mixture into bars or balls. They are sugar-free and better than any protein bar you’ll get in stores!

Tomato Penne Pasta

Tomatoes are a fun ingredient to work with and while it may be early to expect children to learn how to make that subtly spiced tomato sauce from scratch, keep them handy in the fridge for them to use. Guide them to be mindful of water levels in the vessel as pasta boils. Then, introduce them to sauteeing some sliced tomatoes with herbs and the homemade tomato sauce, to which the pasta can be added in the end. Pastas are an exciting way to introduce a child to the culinary world if they show curiosity towards experimenting with flavours like oregano and basil.  

Paneer Roll

Introducing your children to the art of rolling a roti might initially pose a challenge, but the skill acquired through practice will be appreciated later. Show them firsthand the ideal heating time of the roti on each side in the pan, so that it's neither overcooked nor underdone. Paneer is better when lightly boiled, though it can also be enjoyed raw. They’ll probably enjoy filling up their rolls with assorted vegetables like onions, capsicums and topping it off with some of the homemade sauces. Perfect for making their own brunches!