Posts Tagged With: food for kids

Chicken, spinach and coriander dumplings with honey soy

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Dumplings are so easy to make once you’ve mastered the art of folding the dumpling skin! They can be frozen after Step 8, just make sure you freeze them separately on trays and once frozen, pop them into an airtight bag. They can be cooked straight from frozen.

Fresh from the garden: baby spinach, coriander, spring onions, ginger, garlic
Recipe source: Melissa from The Bondi Cook
Makes: 40 dumplings

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowls – big, med, small
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Microplane zester
  • Food processor
  • Scales
  • Measures: jug, cup, tablespoon, teaspoon
  • Spatula
  • Large baking tray
  • Small saucepan
  • Potato peeler
  • Small sauce bowls
  • Large non-stick frying pan with lid
  • Serving plates

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch coriander
  • A large handful baby spinach
  • 2 small spring onions
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 250g minced chicken
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

To wrap

  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 packet 40 gow gee wrappers
  • Cornflour

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 clove of garlic, small piece ginger
  • Small handful coriander
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey

To cook

  • 2 tablespoons Rice Bran oil
  • 75ml water

What to do:
For the filling

  1. Wash the coriander in a big bowl of cold water and spin dry. Finely chop the stalks and leaves.
  2. Wash and spin dry the spinach and finely chop.
  3. Wash the spring onions and finely slice.
  4. Peel the skin from the ginger and finely chop or grate with the microplane zester.
  5. Combine them all into the bowl of the food processor, weigh the mince and add in and then measure in the rest of the ingredients. Blitz for a few seconds to combine thoroughly. Scoop out into a large bowl, using a spatula to scrape down the sides.

Preparing the dumplings

  1. Fill a small bowl with clean water and make sure your hands are clean. Wipe down and dry your work surface. Lightly flour a large baking tray with cornflour. Open the packet of wonton wrappers and peel off one per person and lay it on the surface in front of you.
  2. Place a large teaspoon of filling in the centre of each wrapper and moisten the edges with a finger dipped in water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers.
  3. Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. The dumpling should look like a small Cornish pasty with a flat base and rounded top.
  4. Transfer each finished dumpling to the tray and keep it covered until you have stuffed all the dumplings in this way.

To make the sauce

  1. Peel the garlic and squeeze through the garlic press into the small saucepan.
  2. Peel the ginger using a potato peeler and zest into the saucepan using the microplane grater.
  3. Wash the coriander well and spin dry. Finely chop stalks and leaves and reserve.
  4. Heat the saucepan with garlic and ginger and a tablespoon of oil, on low heat and gently cook the garlic and ginger until soft. Do not let them go brown! Add in the honey and let cook until bubbling, and then add in the soy sauce and cook for another minute.
  5. Add in the chopped coriander and pour into small serving bowls to dip.

To cook

  1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until it is very hot. Add the oil and place the dumplings flat-side down into the pan.
  2. Reduce the heat and cook for about two minutes until they are lightly browned. Add the water, cover the pan with the lid and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Check the water half-way through and add more if necessary. Uncover the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes.

To serve

  1. Divide the dumplings onto serving plates and serve with dipping sauce in a bowl on the side.

Notes: Why is it important not to lick your fingers while preparing this recipe? What others fillings could we put in a dumpling?

 

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Back to the lunchbox grind…

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Ah, holidays… How I love you so! Endless days of surf, sun and sand: easy salad meals and fish-and-chip takeaways, late nights with later mornings and rhythm and roster thrown out the window. I used to dread the return to school with its shoelace tying, regimental checking of tooth-brushing and the almost-out-the-door sunblock slather, the dreary routine of homework and frantic transporting to after-school activities… But most of all I stressed about what to pack for lunch.

In the early days I used to pack too much food. Our boy would come home from school and be so upset that he hadn’t been able to finish everything before the play bell rang. I asked why he didn’t just continue eating his food after the bell? He looked at me like I was crazy and said No way! I’ll miss out on sandpit time!

In the first year of school our girl would come home and complain that the teachers said the children must eat everything in their lunchboxes and that they would inspect each box before play. I said why don’t zip up your box and pretend you’ve eaten it all? But that would be LYING MUMMY she said. And lying’s BAD! Good grief, I said.

But then I slowly worked it out: Firstly not to pack too much. There’s a BIG difference between taking your children out for the day to the zoo, or driving down the coast on the holidays or even taking them to the beach for a few hours, where they will demand constant snacks and bits of fruit and drinks of water and little packets of rice crackers or tiny teddies, or mummy can we get sushi or icypoles or Peckish or Mentos or a lollipop pleeeeeeease? At school the children are so busy that they’re not bored enough to want lots of food – and nor are the teachers slaves to every whim like we seem to be – so they don’t need a snack for every half hour! A couple of different types of raw veggie and fruit, and a piece of cheese are ideal. A little pot of rice crackers or Jatz, or popcorn made at home in a big quantity with a little oil and pinch or two of salt and even a sprinkle of smoked paprika or ground coriander if that suits your fancy will last for a while and make it in to a few days’ worth of lunchboxes.

Second in my Book of Lunchbox Revelations was the news that the main lunch itself didn’t have to be too much of a mission either. My kids love taking pasta to school and will happily eat it every day, and even if it’s cold. I know, what a win! So I like to make fresh pesto or a herby tomato pasta sauce and toss it over penne or shells – long pasta like spaghetti or linguine always gets extremely messy with my kids and will most definitely end up all down the front of a school dress or shirt, especially if it’s brand new and spanking white. I invested in a couple of small Thermos pots – not the cheapest container on the market but they hold hot food or even runny soup without leaking, and the cost per use in our house has so far brought the cost down to about nought point three cents a go! Wraps or rice paper rolls are good too, made with grated cheese and avocado and ham slices or roast chicken or tinned tuna, or whatever’s in the damn cupboard! To make packing easy, I roll one into a square of plastic wrap and fold in all the edges until it’s a tight tube, and then cut it across the middle so that I have 2 easy small tubes to pack, and it’s easy for the kids to peel open and eat.

Thirdly, The Oracle spoke to me of easy-opening boxes and tubs, and lunchboxes that fit a water bottle in (more on that later). Make sure your child can open what they’ve got! Otherwise they’re waiting in line with twenty other kids for the teacher to crack open their packaged snack. My pet hate: the sucky yoghurt packs. Those little plastic tops are IMPOSSIBLE for little children to open by themselves, and they end up dropped all over the playground (the lids, not the kids) – and no doubt will still be spinning around in the South Pacific Gyre for decades to come… and don’t let me talk about the sugar content in those things! Or the fact it’s getting sucked straight onto their front teeth.

Next point: vital water. A great idea is to chuck their water bottle into the freezer overnight, so your kids will have super-chilled, refreshing water to drink during the day, and the bottle performs the double-act of keeping their food fresh, cool and safe too. Kids do not need flavoured milk or packaged juice.

Also while you’re there, think Nude Food and use the re-useable boxes that come in all lunchboxes nowadays. Instead of buying individually portioned sultanas, crackers, biscuits or the dreaded yoghurt, grab a big value box, decant into your little screw-lid pots and save on all the trips to the recycle bin!

And lastly don’t forget that when your child sees you at the end of their school day, they will suddenly remember that you are their servant/ butler/ slave and will immediately demand a snack equivalent to all the snacks they’ve missed out on during the day… so act like the Girl Guides and Be Prepared!

Mel’s top tips for a sane lunchbox life:

Recess – 1 or 2 from each category

  • Veggies: carrot, celery or cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes
  • Crackers: Rice crackers, Jatz, popcorn, seaweed sheets
  • Wedge of cheese, babybel etc
  • Hummus or taramasalata spooned into a little pot
  • Fruit: Passionfruit or kiwifruit cut in half and popped in a little pot. Whole apples. Orange slices. Cherries and grapes. Bananas. Watermelon slices. Little chunks of pineapple. Real fruit!

Lunch

  • Pasta with veggies or tomato sauce, pesto, Bolognese
  • Soup in winter months, in a thermos-like safe pot
  • Fried or steamed rice with sauce as above
  • Roasted cold chicken drumsticks or wings
  • Wraps with ham, chicken, cheese, beetroot, salad etc
  • Rice paper rolls with soaked noodles and veggies
  • Sushi hand rolls
  • Leftovers! And definitely order extra next time you’re at a Chinese restaurant…

The after-school activities or pick-up zone starvation madness – in bulk!

  • Big box of popcorn – easy and cheap to make
  • Big box of mixed fruit sliced up: fruit as above!
  • The occasional treat – biscuits or small muffins

This article originally published on the Nutrikids website, Feb 2016

 

 

Categories: Nutrikids | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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