Photo Credits: Jamie Eisenhart
After having some email correspondence with one of my readers, I had somehow struck gold and convinced her that she needed to do some posts for this blog!! You should probably learn a lesson here and watch out if you email me, you never know what I might make you do!! The thing that I immediately loved about Lynn was that not only does she have the coolest job ever [check out her bio here] where she gets to travel the world to amazing places like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Tanzania, but she is also a foodie at heart. So during her travels around the world in the next couple of months, Lynn is going to be doing some posts about the countries local customs on feeding their babies, what kind of food they sell at the markets, and hopefully bringing back some yummy baby recipes to share with you lovely readers.
Please welcome Lynn to the Baby FoodE team and enjoy this amazing recipe!
If you’ve ever traveled to the South Asian subcontinent, you’ve probably encountered some form of lentils or split peas – known as dal – served with one of your meals. It’s a staple of Indian food and takes on many forms, flavors and colors – the recipes are endless. It’s no surprise that it is a common first food for babies in India, where spices get introduced very early!
Dal is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron for babies. It’s easy to prepare, easy to digest, and can be cooked to varying consistencies – thicker, thinner, chunkier, smoother. All the more reason for it to be loved by moms and babies throughout India.
I have to admit, the first time baby Theo had dal (7 months old) it was a bit of an afterthought following a meal I had made for my husband and me. I pureed the leftovers and voila – Theo’s lunch! How excited was I to see my little tot eagerly scarfing down the first few bites!?
But just as quickly as he had gobbled those first tastes, he stopped.
And suddenly, some beads of sweat popped out on his tiny perfect little nose.
And then, tears.
The heat – oops! Mental note: tone it down for babies. Add yogurt.
He’s since come to love the less intense recipe, so I had to share it with you today.
Indian Yellow Dal + Baby Spinach Puree
1 cup yellow mung dal (tiny yellow split peas)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp organic butter
1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil or olive oil
1 cup chopped organic onion
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp Panch Puran*
1 tsp ground turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cups organic low-sodium chicken stock
1 generous bunch organic spinach
* You can find Panch Puran in packets at local Indian stores; it is a mix of 5 spice seeds: kallonji (black cumin), cumin, fenugreek seeds (good for lactation!), yellow mustard seeds, fennel seeds or online here or here.
Combine 2.5 cups water, bay leaf, and dal in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 15-20 mins or until tender.
Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, salt; saute 3 minutes. Add spice seeds, turmeric, and garam masala. Cook over low heat for two minutes, adding garlic toward the end. Stir frequently.
Add onion mixture into dal. Simmer 15 mins. Add chicken stock to thin out mixture to desired consistency. Remove bay leaf. Stir in spinach; cook 3 mins or until spinach wilts.
Sit back, relax. You’ve just made dinner for the whole family.
Puree to desired consistency. Mix in yogurt as desired.
For toddlers & adults:
Serve atop Basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro, diced tomato, cucumber slices, and yogurt. Salt to taste.
Store in airtight container for 3 days in fridge or 1 month in freezer.