Whether you need a tasty lunchbox nibble or an after-school snack, these bite-sized morsels are sure to go down well!
Here are some delicious and nutritious Indian lunchbox ideas guaranteed to keep those little tummies happy. They’re very simple and easy to whip up, use ingredients that you’ll easily be able to find in your local supermarket (or wet market!). Not only that, but finger food is great for little hands. From your toddlers exploring their new favourite tastes and practising that much-needed hand-eye coordination, to older kids looking for more independence at mealtime, all will enjoy these tasty recipes.
With that special colour, beetroots are always a winner with the wee ones. With some potatoes in the mix, they won’t be able to put them down!
4 medium-sized beetroots
1 medium-sized potato
½ cup breadcrumbs
1½ tbsp ginger-garlic paste
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp amchoor (raw mango powder)
½ tsp garam masala (curry powder)
¼ tsp whole coriander (coarsely ground)
¼ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
2 finely chopped green chillies
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1½ tsp Himalayan or rock salt (or to taste)
4 tbsp oil for shallow frying
- Grate the beetroots on the fine side of the grater. Squeeze out the excess juice and keep aside. Do not discard the juice. You can use it to make soups or even to knead dough.
- Boil and mash the potato and mix it with grated beetroots and the remaining ingredients.
- Grease your palms with a little oil and make palm-sized discs, half an inch in thickness.
- Shallow fry in a non-stick pan over medium heat, using the vegetable oil of your choice. It will take approximately 5-7 minutes to cook each side. For best results use sunflower or groundnut oil. Should you choose to deep fry, increase the quantity of breadcrumbs to 1 cup.
- Serve hot with green coriander-mint chutney
There are recipes and then there are those special ones that are universally accepted by everyone. The ones that three generations enjoy equally. It’s an added bonus when they can also make a complete meal on their own or a great finger food. This one can also be adapted for babies if you practice Baby Lead Weaning (just exclude the cashews to avoid choking and the chillies). You could also replace the potato with sweet potato. I love this one as the perfect accompaniment to a cup of masala chai. Did I mention that these are extremely easy to whip up too?
200g minced chicken (I use thighs as the meat is more tender and juicier but you can use breast too, which is lower in calories)
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp red and yellow bell peppers (finely chopped)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander leaves (finely chopped)
½ tsp garlic powder (optional)
½ tsp smoked paprika (omit if for young kids)
1 green chilli (finely chopped)
4-5 cashews (coarsely chopped)
1½ tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
2 tbsp oil
- Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix with a fork, making sure it is well blended.
- Form into palm-sized discs or patties.
- Heat the grill and spray some oil to stop sticking (I use my stovetop grill). Cook the cutlets for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve hot with a side of sweet and sour sauce or with some cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and buns to make a burger.
These are taste and health rolled into one — pun intended! What’s more, they aren’t deep fried. I use locally available fresh dumpling wrappers from the wet market but you can also use the frozen variety available in the supermarkets.
200g chicken thighs
100g coarsely grated carrot (water squeezed out)
½ cup bean sprouts (finely chopped)
½ tsp garam masala
1 tbsp coriander (finely chopped)
½ tbsp spring onions (finely chopped)
50 dumpling wrappers (or as many as needed!)
Salt to taste
- Poach the chicken pieces in hot water on a low flame for about 10 minutes (or until it is cooked through). You can test by poking with a fork.
- Bring the poached chicken to room temperature and shred using two forks.
- Preheat your oven to 200° Celcius. Line a tray with baking paper and keep aside.
- Mix the shredded chicken, carrot, sprouts, coriander, spring onions, garam masala and salt.
- Carefully spoon in the mixture along the bottom edge of the wrapper. Fold the sides and then moisten the top edge with water and roll to enclose the filling.
- Place the folded rolls on the baking tray (not too close to each other) and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp.