Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stage 1 Foods: Homemade baby rice cereal | Gluten free cereal for babies

How to make baby rice cereal at home?

I started giving store bought rice cereal (similar to cerelac that you get at India) for my daughter a month ago. However, I wasn't pleased to give her store bought food every day. But, she was too young to eat cooked and mashed rice. If you put the cooked rice in a blender, it becomes goopy. I wasn't comfortable giving that either.

So, I decided to make my own rice cereal. Got some inputs from friends and family and made very little to see if my daughter was able to digest it. Very happy that I made it. My daughter fell sick and was down with stuffy nose and fever. She refused to eat anything. During that time, she consumed very little quantities of this rice cereal.


  • You can flavor this rice cereal with cinnamon powder, dates puree/syrup, cumin powder and give it according to your baby's choice. I chose not to give my baby salt or sugar until she's at least nine months old. I'm also thinking of avoiding gluten (wheat, AP flour and all its derivatives until she's one). It's totally personal choice. But, whenever she gets a bite from her brother's food like dosa, or idly, she does get a taste of salt :) If you don't mind giving salt, season this rice cereal with salt and ghee. It tastes yum!
  • You don't need fancy ingredients to make this cereal. All you need is rice, it could be organic or non organic brown/white/red rice.Again it could be long, medium or short grained rice.  I suggest use the same rice that your family uses everyday to make the baby rice cereal. We use sona masoori rice (medium grain rice) and red rice (Kerala rice) often at our home. So, I have used sona masoori rice to make the rice cereal. 

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Roasting Time: 3-4 mins
Makes around 1.5 cups of baby cereal

Ingredients and Method:
Any rice of your choice: 1 cup

Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Drain the water from the rice and spread the rice on a kitchen cloth/muslin cloth. 

Allow the rice to dry for an hour indoors. 
Dry roast the dried rice on a low-medium heat until the rice puffs up. It will be done in 3-4 mins. 

Look at the below picture to see how the roasted rice looks like. 

Cool the roasted rice and once cool, powder it. 
You can decide whether you want very fine powder or coarse powder. I made mine like fine rawa/semolina/corn meal. 

You baby rice cereal is ready. 
Cool it completely and store it in a air tight container. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Noodles and Vegetables with Honey Ginger Sauce

Am I the only one who crave for noodles when sick with cold and sore throat? I love this noodles with honey-ginger sauce and it is perfect to soothe my sore throat too. Honey and ginger are extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve cold, cough and sore throat. I got this sauce idea from one of the recipe books.

The twist here is..I'm using angel hair pasta as noodles.

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20-25 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 people

Angel hair pasta or any other Chinese noodles: 1 lb or 500 grams
Salt: As needed
Oil: 2 tbsp + 1 tsp, divided use
Water: As needed to boil the pasta
Finely chopped green beans: 1/2 cup
Julienned carrots: 1/4 cup
Bell peppers: 3/4 cup, I used red and green here.
Finely chopped cabbage: 3 tbsp
Toasted sesame seeds: 2 tsp, for garnishing

For the sauce:
Honey: 3 tbsp
Grated ginger: 1 tbsp
Light soya sauce: 3 tbsp
Vinegar: 2 tbsp, refer notes
Oil: 1 tsp
Red chili paste/Sriracha: 1 tbsp, adjust according to your needs, refer the notes
Pepper powder: 1/4 tsp

Combine together all the items mentioned for the sauce. Mix well and let it sit for 30-45 mins.

Add water to a broad sauce pan. When water starts boiling, add the salt, 1 tsp oil and the raw noodles.

Cook the noodles as per the package instructions. Stir the noodles occasionally. 
When the noodles are cooked, drain the water from the noodles and rinse the noodles in cold water immediately. 

Keep the noodles in the cold water until further use.
Heat oil in a broad wok/pan on a high heat. When oil is hot, add the finely chopped cabbage.  Saute it for couple of minutes. 

Next add the chopped beans and carrots. Saute it until they are cooked and yet firm. 

Follow it by bell peppers. Saute for a minute. 

Meantime, drain the noodles thoroughly and keep it ready.

Add the prepared sauce to the wok/pan and allow the sauce to boil. 

Mix in the noodles to the hot sauce. Adjust the seasoning and toss the noodles. Make sure that the sauce coats the noodles pretty well. 

Add the toasted sesame seeds and toss again. 

Serve the noodles hot. You won't need any side to go with this noodles. It tastes good as is.

  • Rinsing the noodles in cold water halts the further cooking of the noodles. We do not want the noodles to be sticky and mushy. They should be cooked, soft and separate.  
  • Keep the heat medium-high when sauteing the vegetables.
  • You could replace vinegar with lemon juice. 
  • I didn't have red chili sauce, hence used Sriracha. Red chili sauce would be nicer to use. 
  • I like my noodles sweet n spicy, hence I add 1 tbsp of chili sauce. You please adjust according to your needs.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Raw Jack fruit dosa | Gujje Dose | Halasinakayi dose | Sunshine Dosa | Kathal Dosa : Gluten free jack fruit crepes

Raw jack fruit dosa needs no fermentation and can be made in a jiffy. It's gluten free and vegan. You need jack fruits that is raw and firm. Please do not use tender jack fruit (baby jack fruit) to make this. Please refer to CookwithSmile blog. She has put tender jack fruit pictures.  We are using fully grown jack fruit that is yet to ripen. Look at the picture below.

The aroma of this dosa makes you want to eat more. The subtle flavor of jack fruit makes you salivate. Don't believe.., just make it once. You'll hunt for raw jack fruit to make them again and again.

We call it Sunshine Dosa at home because of the vibrant yellow color.

Here goes the recipe:

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: About a minute for each dosa
Serves: 4 adults (Makes about 18 to 20 dosas)

2 cups raw rice (normal sona masoori/ponni would do)
4 cups raw jackfruit (remove the seeds & cut into small pieces)
1 tbsp fresh/frozen grated coconut, optional
salt according to taste.

Additional ingredients:
Few drops of coconut oil/cooking oil for each dosa.

  • Soak the rice for at least 5 hours.

  • De seed the jack fruit and chop them into small pieces.

  • Grind the rice along with the jackfruit, coconut & make smooth paste out of it. The batter should be just like any other normal dosa batter.

  • Add salt according to taste & start preparing the dosas immediately. (No fermentation required) Refer to the video below.  

  • Serve the dosa with honey, chutney or any dip of your choice. Tender jack fruit sambar/koddel goes very well with this dosa.

PS: This is one of my revisited posts. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Stage 1 foods: Pear puree

How to make pear puree at home?

Stage 1 foods/purees can be given to babies from 4+ months. However, I started after my baby turned 6 months old.

I stored the puree in 2.5 oz bottles/jar. That is how much I give my daughter at a time.
You can store in 4 oz or 2.5 oz bottle.
Store in small bottles, enough for 1 serving. This way, you'll not end up wasting the food and you can thaw just 1 jar of food/serving.
I used organic vegetables/fruits for making baby food.
Since, it's first food I'm not adding any flavoring like cinnamon, cardamom to the puree. If you wish, you could add flavoring of your choice.
However refrain from adding sugar or salt. Your baby does not need additional sugar/salt. Fruits have enough sugar in them. 

Items needed for making and storing the baby food.

  • A steamer | pressure cooker | electric cooker
  • Food processor | blender | Indian mixie
  • Food grade bottles/jar that can be freezed. I prefer glass jars, but in the beginning had to use few plastic ones too. Later, I switched completely to glass jars. I washed the food jars thoroughly and wiped them to remove the moisture from the jars.

How to make pear puree:
Organic pear: About 1 lb or 1/2 kg
Makes about 7 2.5oz jar


Core and de-seed the pear. You can peel the skin, I didn't peel it though.

Chop into 1 inch cubes and steam the pear for 5 minutes. Do not add any water/milk while steaming. Pear has enough water in itself.

Once the steamed pear cools down, blend them in a food processor/mixie. I tried doing it in my food processor. My food processor couldn't grind the skin of the pear, hence I moved it to my Indian mixie.

 (PS: Can you see the difference between the food processor puree and the Indian mixie puree?We want it like the later..)

Make sure you make a fine puree of the fruit.
Scoop out the puree into the desired jars and freeze.

I use 1 fruit jar per day and I got enough for a week.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Introducing solids to the baby

My second baby is 6 months old now and we are officially introducing solids to her. Our doctor recommended introducing solids at 5 and 1/2 months. We went on a trip to India and our parents insisted we start solids started solids after she completed 5 months. But, I was giving very little..around a teaspoon of rice cereal, once a day. After 2 weeks, we started giving the same rice cereal in the evenings too.

I got mixed opinions about starting solids and got really confused with what to do. My suggestion is don't listen to the outside world or the internet. Go with your mommy intuition and the baby cues to introduce solids. It'll really help. Based on the opinions from others, I gave baby cereal to my baby after she completed 4 months. She didn't take it. I stopped forcing her and didn't feed solids for another 3 weeks.

Take it slow. I know, you'll be eager to give him/her all the healthy food available (This is a note to self too).
Consult your pediatrician or your mom/grand-mom. They will have a wealth of information about what are the first foods that can be given to the babies.
Don't prepare a big batch of baby food once. Make in smaller portions. The idea is to introduce variety of foods in the first few months. If you make in bulk, you will feed the same to baby and he/she will get used to that one taste. It'll become difficult to make him/her try something else. (I have made that mistake with my first one.., so I am planning to make sure,, I don't repeat the same mistake)

To start with, I got store bought (Gerber/Plum Organics/Beechnut etc) stage 1 fruit/vegetable puree. I got the smallest size available (2.5 oz ) and also bought 4 of each. I meant.., I bought 4 carrot purees, 4 sweet potato purees etc..

Start only one vegetable/fruit puree at a time. Give the same thing for 3 days minimum before starting a new one. This is to make sure that the baby isn't allergic to anything and also to make sure he/she is digesting it well. Our pediatrician asked us to start the new food in the mornings, so that you can keep an eye on the baby for allergies. Please be extra careful, if your family has a history of allergies. Take it very slow and watch out for reactions.

I started my daughter with carrots, followed by sweet potatoes, pears, peas, apple, squash and banana.
After trying all these, I decided to make my own stage 1 fruit/vegetable purees. I saved the glass containers (to reuse to store the baby food that I make).
I also bought 4 oz jelly jars to save the home made purees.

I started making enough purees for a week and started freezing them. I know, people will judge me for giving frozen food for the baby. I feel safe giving my baby home made frozen food than canned store bought baby food. Again, do what works for you. If you have the patience and time to make baby purees, go ahead, make it and freeze. Do not freeze a lot. Do it in batches for a week or so.

Disclaimer: I'm not a dietitian or a pediatrician. I have written what has worked for my daughter. I'm documenting my daughter's journey along with.

In the coming posts, you can expect recipes for baby vegetable/fruit purees. I'll start with stage 1 and then move along.

Featured Post

Noodles and Vegetables with Honey Ginger Sauce

Am I the only one who crave for noodles when sick with cold and sore throat? I love this noodles with honey-ginger sauce and it is perfe...