So this week schools are reopening and after an incredibly long holiday I’m sure there’ll be some glum faces at the gates. That said, there might be others who are looking forward to seeing their friends and teachers again as interesting tales of lockdown adventures are exchanged excitedly.
Mums and dads who have struggled with home schooling will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief and to be honest who can blame them? Listening to the radio as I work in my kitchen which is almost compulsory to combat the mundane task of prepping vegetables, I’ve listened to several phone ins from parents who were fast approaching the end of their tether. I’m ashamed to say that I was secretly pleased my kids were not of that age.
On the subject of kids, picky tastes come with the territory, and many mums make menu selections meticulously when they get in contact. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet which I’m going to do anyway, I’m proud to say that even the most discerning little palate has enjoyed what I’ve had to offer.
Not least because I love the challenge of creating something appealing for the little folk, but to showcase that Malaysian food is versatile regardless of age.
As a rule of thumb, dishes with a sweet tinge goes down a storm along with anything that requires dirty fingers and sticks! Spring rolls, sticky ribs or wings, and satay is a popular choice. Of course burgers and sausages never go amiss and my homemade turkey burgers and honey and soy chipolatas served in brioche buns have been welcomed with open arms.
Deep fried items are another popular choice and my deep fried prawn fritters filled with succulent prawns and spring onions disappears just as fast as it appears! I just love watching children dip it in sauce and then take a massive bite leaving a ‘saucy moustache’ behind!
When choosing main dishes although rice can be hit or miss, noodles are always a winner. The slithery texture akin to spaghetti never fails to please little ones and the bonus is that sneaky vegetables can be added without being too conspicuous. I like egg or Udon noodles and a simple stir fry with garlic, chicken, dark soy, and some veg is all that’s required.
For those who do prefer rice to noodles, special fried rice packed with ham or chopped frankfurters (yes frankfurters!), prawns, diced chicken, peas, eggs, and sweetcorn is perfect. Aesthetically, the myriad of colour alone is attractive enough to entice little ones.
Spice is never a good idea and thank goodness I have many tricks up my sleeve that involve curry and sauce minus the tears and fiery tongue. Coconut chicken curry which consists of traditional Malaysian ingredients like lemon grass, garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric and shrimp paste is appealing due to the rich creamy taste.
Malaysian food is versatile regardless of age
Although shrimp paste typically sounds like something that kids would turn their nose up at, but the flavour is so subtle they’re none the wiser. Sweet and sour chicken, prawns or pork is yet another winner. The combination of flavours especially the presence of tomato ketchup never fails to appeal to young tastebuds. In fact my own children who are now adults, still devour it with glee. Similarly my chicken balls coated in a piquant BBQ sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds gets the same response as sweet and sour.
Dessert of course is the most awaited part of the meal. My tried and tested favourite is homemade Orange and Lime ice-cream courtesy of Nigella Lawson. It can be whipped up in no time even without an ice-cream maker and is incredible in a cone or served with fresh berries.
I am yet to meet a child who has refused a cupcake or a biscuit and I always ensure I have a stash of my Chocolate and raisin or white chocolate and cranberry cookies. Unlike a biscuit, these have a crunchy exterior and a soft chewy centre.
My youngest fan is 18 months old (Dexter Cross) and the image (to the left) is of him with cookie in one hand and cuppa in the other! Isn’t that just adorable?!!!
With all the challenges that come with keeping little people happy and fed, I still thoroughly enjoy every minute and it pushes me to think outside the box and be creative. I’ve lost count of the number of children I’ve fed (images below) and will continue to do so until they turn into big people! Have fun back at school my lovelies. Get that grey matter going and most of all be kind to one another.
All my love as always,
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