• Sharmila Ribeiro

Broccoli and Oats Tikkis

Updated: Feb 8, 2018

Through my journey of healthy cooking and eating, I have become increasingly passionate about saying “No to Junk Food” and making similar food at home that is easy, tasty and healthy.


Recently, on a Facebook Live session in Archana's Kitchen (www.archanaskitchen.com), a wonderful website for healthy tasty recipes, it's founder Archana Doshi and I talked about how what’s good to feed our kids is really part of our traditional diets and knowledge, and how the real new learning for me was just how bad the bad stuff is. So that’s why I decided to dejunk my kitchen and cook most food from scratch, especially the processed and junk food that we usually stock in our store cupboard and fridge. Processed food is all over our grocery stores, packed with sugars, salt and preservatives. There is little or no nutrition in junk food, not only in chips and biscuits and instant noodles but also in our much loved Indian deep fried snacks and sweets.


Dejunking is easy if you get organized – make a weekly meal plan for healthy eating (especially important for working mums) and prep on the weekend.


Kids need to learn that while certain junk foods might be super tasty, they are not good to eat on a regular basis. Archana mentioned that when her kids were young she made sure that their main meals and snacks were all homemade and she would give them cookies or readymade juices as an occasional treat.


We went through how my book Everyday Love is organized (The first few sections on nutrition, weekly meal planning and how to get your kids to eat healthy).


Archana pointed to key guidelines for healthy eating written in my book such as:

Don’t force your kids to eat. Be patient.

  • Introduce kids to sensorial experiences related to food from a young age. She mentioned how her young sons would have their faces smeared with beetroot puree or yoghurt.

  • How kids evolve and tastebuds change and fussy eaters may just be kids whose preferences we have not yet discovered.

  • Don’t bribe your kids using food – like saying, “eat your veggies and I’ll give you dessert”. It sends the wrong message about veggies.

  • Don’t let feeding your kids be a stressful experience. Don’t be angry and feed your kids.

To a question regarding how often to give junk food to kids, we cautioned that for the most part junk food should be a once in a while affair and that we should avoid the deep fried snacks we give our kids. Archana stated that obesity rates and diabetes are shooting up in India and we should give treats only as dessert, after a meal. And we should make treats and fast food at home, so that the kids (and us) know what we put into it.


Another key discussion we had was on how we should make our drinks at home. Most carbonated beverages and fruit based drinks are loaded with sugar (There are 45g of sugar in 300ml of a mango drink, while the daily added sugar recommendation by the World Healthy Organization is 6 teaspoons or 25g). These sugary drinks are OK when we are travelling or once in a while for convenience… but they are definitely not for everyday consumption.


The final point I made is that we can do it differently, we can feed our kids new and interesting food that is healthy and tasty, even if its from another state of India or another country. We should train our kids to eat healthy from a young age. Involve kids in the home, in the kitchen, cook with our kids, including our boys!


To illustrate how we can incorporate new vegetables and grains into kids’ diets, we demonstrated the Broccoli and Oats Tikkis recipe from my book (Page 138). It’s super tasty as Archana Doshi attested to herself. Do try it and let me know what you think.


Broccoli, Oats and Peanut Tikkis


My friend Prasanna Velamuri made these really tasty and crunchy tikkis as an appetizer for a party and when I learnt what the ingredients were, I knew they were a must try! These tikkis have a wonderful firm texture that makes it perfect for a veggie burger. They make a complete protein packed balanced meal for a school lunch box too.

Makes 10-12


Ingredients:

1 cup (100g) broccoli, steamed/sauteed and finely chopped or peas/beans/carrots

1 cup crumbled tofu or grated paneer

½ cup crushed roasted unsalted peanuts, without skin

½ cup oats (porridge quick cooking variety)

1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon grated garlic

1 teaspoon soya sauce

¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional)

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Pepper to taste

Cornflour for binding, if needed

Vegetable oil for frying


Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Add cornflour for binding, if needed.

  2. Form into 1½” round tikkis and shallow fry in a little oil in a non-stick pan until the tikkis are golden brown on both sides.

  3. Serve with ketchup or Thai sweet chilli sauce.

Food Fact – Broccoli is from the cruciferous vegetable family (along with cauliflower and cabbage) and is a concentrated source of antioxidants — vitamins C, A, K and D. It is low in calories and high in fibre.


Handy Hints from Archana Doshi:

  • Make your tikkis in a kuzhi paniyaram pan to use even less oil.

  • You can make the tikki mixture in advance and store it overnight in the fridge. Just don’t add the salt until you are ready to fry the tikkis.

©2018 by Sharmila Cooks for Kids.   sharmilacooksforkids@gmail.com

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