Cooking With Junior

Posted: March 7, 2011

Cooking with kids made fun with an easy pancake recipe! What recipes for kids do you have that work?

By Lavanya Donthamshetty

Quick – think “cooking with kids” and what picture do you see? To many, this will mean a scene of utter destruction – once carefully stored items now lying with their innards spilled over, lentils moving in with sugar, caps off squash bottles and the contents spreading in a pool and a fine layer of flour dusting it all. Knowing the terrors that our two-foot horrors can cause in an instant, why would we want to let them loose in our kitchens?

Because – it is becoming tougher and tougher to make them eat anything and every little helps! Because – as more and more processed food hits the shelves, tempting them away from ‘proper food’, us mums need to come up with wilier ways to make kids eat the good stuff. Because – every busy parent can do with some chores for kids at home!

Cooking with kids: Why and How?

Getting them involved in the kitchen is a sure-fire way of getting them more interested in what they are eating – and the sooner we start, the better the results. I am sure there are studies that prove this theory. Case in point – my own household. My sporty son LOVES helping me in the kitchen and always polishes off the results of our joint endeavour. All he needed to get him started was his own shiny apron and he was happy as Larry!

Of course, before we take that momentous step to enroll them as our ‘commis chefs,’ we need to get some things sorted first – primarily, health and safety. Little hands can get into things quicker than we can say “boo” so the sharp stuff and the breakables have to be banished to outer space temporarily. What I’ve also found helps is if all the ingredients are lined up on the work top in advance. Unlike normal practice, when one can bang a few cupboard doors open and rout out the chocolate chips or That Vital Ingredient, it is better to have things ready at hand when helpers are involved.

Also, in my experience, it is better to get them started as apprentice bakers. Measuring is a great activity for the kids and they’ll have a ball beating the eggs and whipping the mixture. And the best part is, once the contents are in the oven baking, you can declare it as a job well done and repair to the living room to relax with the mixing bowls. Licking the spoons and mixing bowls after a hard day’s baking is the best thing, I tell you. The bonding that happens during such times is unparalleled.

And of course, once the timer goes off, it is time for Act 2 – the decorating. Stock up on marshmallows, gems, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, cherries etc and just let them loose! Even if you end up making rice crispie bars, the memories will definitely be worth the washing up. In my house, making pancakes is a mum-and-son thing. My son loves beating the eggs and dribbling in the milk slowly after. Now that my daughter is two, she is showing interest in this too and come bowl-licking time, it is a free for all. And the best part about making the pancakes is that the kids eat so much of the fruit we keep aside for the filling, in an attempt to out-do one another. Objective achieved!

Cooking with children, ultimately, is more than just teaching themselves a life skill – it is also about creating a bond with them and building memories. Instead of a ‘craving for how amma makes it’ moment, he/ she will go misty eyed when cooking a curry the way you both used to. Now, isn’t that worth the mess? So go on, bite the bullet and make this Sunday a “Cooking with Junior” day.

(You can download a whole lot of recipes for kids using our e-book, Cooking Is Child’s Play).

Easy Pancake Recipe for kids

To get you started on this venture, here’s an easy pancake recipe for you. This was what got us started in my household – and may it do the same for you!

Ingredients

  • Maida (all purpose flour), 1 cup
  • Milk, 2 cups
  • Eggs, 3
  • Melted butter, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Sugar, 1 tbsp

Sauce and toppings (optional)

  • Melted butter, 1 tsp
  • Oranges, 2
  • Powdered sugar, 1 tbsp
  • Chopped bananas, 2
  • Chopped mixed berries, to taste

Method

Sift the maida into a big mixing bowl and add the sugar. Break in the eggs and beat them using an electric beater or just your fork. Once the eggs are beaten well, stir the melted butter. Now, slowly add milk while constantly beating the mixture to get a smooth batter. Add the salt and let it sit for a minute.

Heat the tawa (griddle) and add a teaspoon of melted butter to it. Ladle in some batter and rotate the pan to spread the batter thinly across the tawa. Once it is brown, flip it to the other side. Take it off the flame and serve hot with your choice of toppings/fillings.

You can serve it simply with a dusting of icing sugar and some cut soft fruits. Or, you can make a simple sauce by heating a teaspoon of the butter in a pan, squeezing 2 oranges into it and adding a spoonful of powdered sugar. Just drizzle the sauce over the rolled up pancake.

For some added goodness, you can chop some bananas and strawberries, roll them up inside a pancake and drizzle the orange sauce and serve.

Note: Following this recipe will get you thin pancakes that are more like French crepes. The American version, also called griddle cakes, is a little different.

Mother, writer, foodie, margarita lover, Lavanya is the exception to the rule that women are

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Comments

8 Comments


  1. 🙂 pancakes are a huge hit here too. not sure they taste half as good as yours!

  2. Yes it is always lots of works but huge fun to cook with the kids inclusive specially baking. Just a small suggestion as womensweb is motivating in bringing gender equality, it would be great to see photos of small boys helping in cooking or household as I think kids are still not seeing enough men around them who are helping in household works! These small gesture will help slowly to build the world we are craving for!

    • Chandrima,
      The second photo, of a hand placing berries on a pancake, is that of my son, Pratik, doing what he loves! As written in the article, he really is my chief helper, especially when I don the baker’s hat!

    • Chandrima’s point is taken though. We did try to find pics of boys as well, but guess what, very tough to find!

      – Editor.

  3. You are doing a great job of instilling cooking skills in your son! I hope more and more mother start thinking like you!

    • Thanks Chandrima! I think we just need to get rid of the “cooking is for girls” attitude and just go for it. All kids like to get messy and why shldn’t boys learn how to cook eh?

  4. [i]Hello there, I just read ur article must say that my boy is just 18 months but I am quite eagerly waiting for him to grow up a bit and join me in the kichen . Its just a brilliant Idea,our job gets done and the little one is also enticed. Nice one![/i]

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