Packing a Punch: Healthy, appetising lunchbox recipes by top chefs

Tiffin time is no picnic for a parent. Top chefs put together a happy meal – healthy, palatable and appetising – in the box.

Written by Catherine Rhea Roy | New Delhi | Published: July 10, 2016 12:00 am
kids recipes, healthy recipes, lunchbox recipes, easy recipes, kid friendly recipes, fried idli, swiss rolls, noodle pancakes We asked a few chefs to come up with a set of exciting recipes for your kids’ tiffin box.

Parents are often driven to an impromptu musical-circus-acrobatic-mime-dance in their effort to feed the children. And if the frenzy of “what will I feed my child today” doesn’t drive them bananas, the pressure of packing a lunchbox will. The variables are too many; it needs to be quick to cook, and interesting enough to hoodwink a child into eating healthy, and with relish. It needs to be scrunched into a box and still look appetising, taste palatable, and, obviously, be a contender in the unspoken competition for the most coveted lunch in the classroom.
We have asked a few chefs to come up with a set of recipes. So, go ahead and make your kids mealtime exciting, and stay ahead in the competition with these recipes. But mostly, ensure that your kid doesn’t have to eat a ghastly McDonald’s Happy Meal again.

Peasant’s Wrap
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, Lavaash by Saby

Chef Gorai vouches for what he calls the oldest “tiffin” in the world. The recipe dates back to more than 2,000 years when peasants or shepherds in Armenia would carry this meal to the fields and eat it during mealtime. It is a basic roll of lavash bread rolled up with a filling of hummus, lettuce, raw onions and salted cheese and paprika. It was delicious, filling, and easy to pack to carry to the fields.

Ingredients
1 piece lavash bread
1/2 piece salted Bandel cheese
1/2 piece smoked Bandel cheese
2 sprigs coriander
10 nos onion roundels
3 leaves iceberg, shredded
1 leaf lollo rosso
2 tsp hummus
1 nos roasted red and yellow pepper
5 slices oven-roasted tomatoes

Garnish
1/2 tsp paprika
Handful of pomegranate seeds
3 leaves of flat parsley

Method
* Spread the hummus evenly on the lavash bread.
* Top up the bread with all the vegetables and cheese.
* Roll up the lavash like a Swiss roll and n Cut into 5 equal pieces.
* Garnish with pomegranate, chilli oil, parsley and paprika.
* Serve with a side of hummus.

Wheat Noodle_759

Whole Wheat Noodle Potato and Spiced Noodle Patties
Chef Prem K Pogakula, executive sous chef, The Imperial

Healthy alternatives to fast food, says Chef Pogakula, is a mean but worthy trick for parents to master. “The children will not only love to eat these innovative recipes but will also take pride in sharing them with their peers. Tasty but healthier recipes for your kids will also make them fall in love with your cooking style all over again,” he says.

Ingredients
500 gms boiled whole wheat noodles cut in to one inch size
150 gms crushed boiled potatoes
20 gms chopped coriander
Salt to seasoning
50 gms sweet corn
50 gms crushed green peas
20 gms chopped carrots
30 ml olive oil for pan searing

Method
* In a bowl, mix all the above ingredients and make equal portions of 50 gm each.
* Take the portioned mixture and make small patties.
* Pan fry on a medium head pan and serve hot with ketchup.

Swiss Roll Pancakes_759
Swiss Roll Pancakes
Shamsul Wahid, Group executive chef, Smoke House Deli

Chef Wahid creates an extensive menu with colourful treats for kids, such as the “Popeye sandwich” and the “protein pizza” which are healthy and nutritious.

Ingredients
100g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
300 ml milk
1 tablespoon melted butter

Method
* Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a medium-size bowl and make a well in the middle.
* Mix the milk and 100ml of water together.
* Break the eggs into the well and start whisking slowly.
* Whisk until the batter is smooth and all the flour has been incorporated. Set the batter aside to rest for 30 mins, then whisk the melted butter into the batter.
* Heat the pan over a medium heat and lightly grease it with melted butter.
* Using a ladle, pour roughly 2 tbsp of batter into the pan and swirl it around.
* Cook the pancake for about 45-50 seconds on one side over.
* Flip the pancake over with a palette knife or fish slice and cook the second side.
* Turn onto a plate, smear with mixed fruit jam and make a roll of it.
* Cut it into small easy bites and fix on sticks like a lollipop.
* Served with maple syrup on the side.

Fried Idly_759
Mulagu Fried Idly
Jinson Varghese, Chef de cuisine, Mahabelly

Children love them, says Chef Varghese, because the dish is easy to eat and quite filling as an evening snack.

Ingredients
2 cooled idlis, quartered
1/2 tablespoon gunpowder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 medium dried red chilli
1 tablespoon ghee
2-3 curry leaves

Method
* Deep fry the quartered idlis and set aside.
* In a wok, heat the ghee and fry the mustard seeds till they sputter.
* Add the red chilli, curry leaves, gunpowder and fried idlis, and saute till the idli pieces are evenly coated with the tempered mix.

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