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This Mother’s Day, new moms and old moms, even grandmoms and great-grandmoms share their tried and tested baby food recipes.
So the bundle of joy is here and the new mother’s happiness knows no bounds. Soon the process of breast feeding begins. While breast milk is the complete source of nutrition for babies, introduction of any food other than breastmilk to the baby is known as weaning.
While some kids welcome the new tastes of fruits, rice, cereals etc., some are not so happy with the change. Even the ones who accept new food easily, crave for variety. Believe it or not, paediatricians advise that a variety of food be given to babies as they easily get bored of the same taste, and a new mom starts looking for baby food recipes that she can make with what she has.
I remember making a weekly chart of baby food recipes for my baby, which ensured variation in taste which at the same time rotated from proteins to carbohydrates to iron rich food.
In India, the type of food given to babies varies from region to region, climatic conditions and the staples available there. I reached out to a few mothers and asked them to share their traditional and regional baby food recipes. Check out the list along with a few that I prepared for my baby:
Recipe shared by Smita Bhide from Maharashtra.
Smita, 52, is a grandmother who likes to constantly research to find out new and nutritious food for her granddaughter.
Ukad is semi solid in texture and can be fed with a spoon. Made of jowar or bajra flour, depending on the season, it is a very good substitute to the regular dal rice mash as not many recipes for babies include jowar and bajra flours.
The flour is mixed in buttermilk and is then added to a tempering of oil, roasted cumin powder, small quantity of garlic pieces, some curry leaves and asafetida and then cooked till of thick cake batter consistency. One needs to make sure to take out the curry leaves and garlic pieces before feeding to the little one.
Recipe taken from GK Food Diary
Take dry roasted Bengal gram dal and puffed rice in the ratio 1:4. Grind them together into a fine powder along with some cardamom. Add in 1/2tsp dry ginger powder (sunth) in the mixture. Sunth aids in digestion. This mixture keeps well for 2 months and is an easy option to feed the baby while travelling. Either add in milk to the powder and feed it like a cereal or cook lightly in hot water and give it like a porridge.
Recipe shared by Ramiya Nainar from Tamil Nadu
Ramiya is a mother of a toddler and swears by this recipe. ‘It is one of the healthiest things you can give to your baby once they start with solids,’ she says.
Satu Mavu is basically a ground mixture of a number of cereals and pulses along with high fibre millet. Dry roast Barnyard millet, Kodo millet, Foxtail millet, jowar, bajra, nachni, kala chana, maize, moong dal and groundnut (optional, in case of groundnut allergy) separately in equal quantities. Grind them together and store. While making the porridge, the powder can be cooked either in water or milk depending on the baby’s age. Dry fruit powder can also be added as an additional source of nutrition. Satu mavu helps provide a complete nutrition and also helps the baby to gain weight.
Recipe shared by Prutha Patel from Gujarat.
Prutha, a homemaker, frequently made this for both her children, as babies and as toddlers. ‘This dish can be had by babies, toddlers and adults. It is light on the stomach and gives a very satiating feeling’, says Prutha.
A simple khichadi made by cooking moong dal, rice, and palak (spinach) makes it an iron and fibre rich food. Pressure cook moong dal and rice in the ratio of 1:2. Separately blanch spinach leaves. Strain the leaves and retain the water. Spinach leaves can be finely chopped or pureed. Take some ghee and make a tempering of cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add in the cooked rice and dal. Mix well and add in the stored water from spinach to make it of pouring consistency. Add in the spinach leaves and salt. Add in lots of homemade ghee to make it tastier.
Recipe shared by Pranita Pradhan from West Bengal.
Pranita fed fish to her son when he was as young as 8 months old. ‘It is a high source of protein and my son absolutely loved it.’
Fish are a rich source of amino acids and Omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are essential to the human body. Carrots are a high source of minerals and Vitamin A. A simple dish to make, always select a fresh water fish like rohu and de-bone it carefully. Steam it well for 15 mins or till the pink colour disappears. Cut carrots into tiny pieces and steam them soft. Mash both the fish and carrots and mix. Add in a little pepper powder or cumin powder and salt. You can also make it into a soup by adjusting the water consistency.
Recipe shared by Aarti Phadnis from Maharashtra.
‘What’s better than a potato but tastes like one? Sweet potato!’ writes Aarti. She had a tough time when her baby rejected solid food. ‘After initial few meals, my son got bored of the same taste. So I had to invent a lot of dishes from the same old ingredients.’
Sweet potato, unlike potatoes are high in fiber which helps the bowel movements. It also has a high amount of Vitamin A, C and manganese. The recipe involves pressure cooking sweet potatoes, skinning them and mashing them roughly. Try and remove as many as the fibrous threads as possible as they can cause choking in very young babies. Make a tempering of ghee, cumin seeds and add in the mashed sweet potatoes. Mix well. Add in roasted groundnut powder, salt, sugar and a pinch of red chilli powder. Stir for 1-2 mins and serve. If groundnut powder is not preferred or the baby may be allergic to it, a sweet version can be made with just sweet potatoes, milk, a little sugar or jaggery, and a touch of cardamom powder.
Recipe shared by Konica Sharma- Uttar Pradesh
Konica shared this baby food recipe and thinks it is extremely healthy and should be given to all babies, especially those living in regions with cold weather.
Sooji (semolina) kheer is very commonly given to babies, as sooji is easy to digest and can be cooked quickly. Addition of fox nuts makes the dish rich in protein, carbohydrates, fibre, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Honey is a wiser choice for a sweetener than sugar as it is a natural product and less processed than sugar. Also, honey is considered to provide heat to the human body which is perfect if you live in the colder regions.
To make this kheer, first roast the fox nuts on little ghee till crispy, cool and grind into a powder and keep aside. Heat ghee and roast the sooji for a few minutes. Add in milk and cook sooji properly. Add in the fox nut powder, honey, cardamom powder and almond meal. Stir well. Adjust the consistency by adding more milk.
Recipe taken from Wholesome Baby Foods
Chicken soup is a very healthy option for babies as old as 8 months and is a healthy source of protein and fats. A good substitute for vegetarian soups, it can be given as a thick soup or a thin soup. Made by boiling boneless chicken pieces, vegetables like onions, carrots and French beans are added to increase flavor and nutritional value.
Recipe involves boiling of boneless chicken pieces and the choice of vegetables till properly cooked. Also add 2-3 peppercorns, thymes and bayleaves for flavor enhancement. Cool down the mixture and after removing the dry spices, grind the rest into a smooth paste. Strain it twice to remove any lumps and check for salt. For the thin soup version, do not discard the water in which all the ingredients are cooked. Instead, flavor it with pepper powder and salt and feed to the babies. Chicken soup is one of the best home remedies for common cough and cold.
Recipe shared by Sudha Athawale from Maharashtra
Sudha, at the age of 89 is a great grandmother and still loves to experiment with recipes. Sudha says she comes from a time when the concept of processed food did not exist, and as a result, everything was freshly sourced and freshly made. She shares a traditional recipe with us which has been proudly passed on from generation to generation in her family.
Ragi or nachani is rich in calcium and it keeps the body cool. Ragi can be given in various forms to babies but this recipe makes it a complete meal. It is made with nachani satva which is readily available in the market in the form of a powder. It is basically a powder made by grinding sprouted ragi.
To make this porridge, prepare almond meal, khaskhas (poppy seeds) powder and powder dry dates (kharik). To the nachani satva powder, add in wheat flour, the above 3 powders , cardamom and nutmeg powder, and some powdered sugar if desired. This is an instant mix which can be stored for 2-3 months in cool conditions. It is prepared by cooking the mix in milk for 4-5 minutes.
Recipe taken from Sunita’s World.
Sandah Guri is an Assamese dish and is made with rice flour. It is a simple porridge and can be consumed by toddlers and adults alike.
The process is very simple too. Soak rice for an hour. Drain and dry. Then dry roast the rice over medium heat till it is crispy. Cool it and then grind it into a coarse powder. This powder can be stored for about a month In air-tight containers. The porridge can be prepared in a number of ways. The powder can be had with hot milk, or with yoghurt or with milk, raisins and melted jaggery as a snack.
So next time you are out of options for your baby or toddler, try these baby food recipes and let us know if your baby enjoyed them too.
Image source: shutterstock
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Rucha Ogale, 29, is a Marketing Communication professional who is currently on a maternity break.
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