Hunger Games: Diet for one, one for all

How my diet regime has led to my tween eating more veggies

Food wise, this fortnight has been a punishing one for me. I decided to go on a diet which includes drinking at least 2 liters of water daily, green tea at night and completely killing carbs from one meal and substituting them with 100g of protein and of course lots of vegetables.

In the middle of all this my 11-year-old daughter had her science examination and the chapter for this term is centered around—you guessed it—a balanced diet.

The thing with fussy eaters like my daughter is that they find ways and means of skipping meals; any part of it and my Kiddo saw my diet plan as the perfect excuse to excuse her plate of carbs too. Only she had not bargained that her plate would be full of stir-fry vegetables.

Her choice to forgo carbs has been a blessing and a pain.

A blessing because now I insist that she eats vegetables and a pain because she does not really like mushrooms, beans, broccoli, cabbage, and then some. The only part of her meal she enjoys immensely is the stir-fry or baked chicken or fish or paneer that we consume with the veggies.

Till she goes back to her roti, overcooked sabzi loaded with potatoes, and dal routine, I am trying to shove in as many varied semi-cooked veggies into her system as I can so that she acquires a taste for them. After all, I have to convince her to eat karela (bitter gourd), loki (gourd), shalgam (turnip) after a few years.

Last week, I scouted the Internet to find a recipe of stir-fry vegetables that would appeal to her palate and mine since she insists on eating “healthy" stuff that I am eating. But it’s an uphill task because either the recipe was too bland or too spicy.

So I decided to modify my all-time favourite stir-fry veggies recipe with loads of inputs from “the dieting tween" to come up with a version that works for both of us. I read about The Big Bang Stir-Fry in Samar Halarnkar’s column Our Daily Bread in 2009 and have used this on and off since. Below is our version of the recipe with comments on what we have modified. Hope it works for you as it does for us.

The Modified Big Bang Stir-fry


1 tsp sesame seeds (or we add flax seeds, or melon seeds)

Half tsp black onion seeds (kalonji) (we don’t add this)

6-7 dried chillies (we don’t add this though we sometimes add a spoon of Ching’s Schezwan chutney)

8-9 large garlic pods, smashed or chopped fine (we use them as whole)

1 tsp fresh, grated ginger or galangal (Thai ginger) (we don’t add this)

1 flat tsp red chilli powder (or paprika) (only paprika works for us)

1 medium broccoli, cut into florets (or 1 small cauliflower or cabbage, chopped or shredded respectively)

1 small zucchini, halved and sliced

1 small red capsicum, deseeded and chopped long (or 1 small green capsicum)

1 small yellow capsicum, deseeded and chopped long

Our additions to the veggies pool

1 large red onion, chopped in four pieces

1 large tomato, chopped in four pieces

15 green beans, chopped

Half cup pre-boiled corns

1 tsp fresh rosemary (we use oregano flakes sometimes)

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Olive oil

Red-wine vinegar (or red wine) to sprinkle (we don’t add this)


Heat olive oil in a medium-size wok. Throw in the seeds, garlic pods. Cook till lightly brown. And then add all vegetables except tomatoes and capsicum. Sprinkle soy sauce for the sizzle. Toss on high heat until almost cooked. Add the capsicum, tomatoes and salt. Toss all vegetables. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary or oregano, fresh ground pepper, and serve.

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