A meal from Assam. Photographs by Smita Srivastava
A meal from Assam. Photographs by Smita Srivastava

Tiffins of India

'Pesarattu' from Andhra Pradesh, 'sabudana khichdi' from Maharashtra, 'aloo koni pitika' from Assam and 'patrodu' from Himachal Pradeshmeal ideas from around the country to tickle your child's taste buds this summer

The one question parents ask themselves over and over again is what kind of tasty and healthy food they can put in their child’s tiffin, something that s/he will enjoy. If you want to break out of the bread, butter, jam and biscuit cycle, here are some meals from different states which make for a perfect tiffin.

ANDHRA PRADESH

Pesarattu:

Preparation time: 5 minutes (plus soaking time)

Cooking time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

u Half cup ‘mung dal’ (green gram; soaked and drained)

u Quarter tsp cumin

u Salt to taste

u Water as required

u Oil for greasing

u A small piece of ginger (optional)

Method

Grind the ‘mung dal’ with water, cumin and salt to a smooth ‘dosa’ batter consistency. Heat a greased skillet and spread a ladleful of the paste to make a thin ‘dosa’-like crêpe and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side till crisp.

Coconut chutney

Coconut is a superfood. Besides improving good cholesterol, it helps digestion and aids in the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Preparation time: 3 minutes (plus soaking time)

Cooking time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

u Quarter cup coconut, grated

u 2 tsp ‘bhuna chana’ (roasted gram)

u A small piece of ginger

u 2 tbsp yogurt

u Salt to taste

For the tempering

u Quarter tsp ‘urad dal’ (black gram)

u Quarter tsp mustard seeds

u 4-5 curry leaves

u A few drops of oil

Method

Grind together all the ingredients into a smooth paste and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan, add ‘urad dal’, mustard seeds and curry leaves and cook till the ‘dal’ turns golden. Pour the tempering on the coconut chutney.

Add-ons: Pack some pre-made ‘gongura’ pickle for an authentic taste of Andhra.

ASSAM

Aloo koni pitika

Preparation time: 5 minutes (plus soaking time)

Cooking time: 7-10 minutes (to boil the potato and egg)

Ingredients

u 1 boiled potato, medium sized

u 1 boiled egg

u 2 tbsp onion, chopped

u 1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped

u 1 tsp mustard oil

u Salt and green chillies (optional) to taste

Method

Mash the boiled potato and egg together. Mix the rest of the ingredients.

Amitar khar

Raw papaya is full of essential nutrients and enzymes that aid in digestion.

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Cooking time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

u 1 raw papaya (approximately 250g)

u Quarter tsp ‘jeera’ (cumin)

u Quarter tsp ‘methi’ (fenugeek) seeds

u 1 bay leaf

u A pinch of baking soda

u 1 tsp mustard oil

u Salt and chilli powder to taste

Method

Peel and chop the papaya into small pieces. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add bay leaf, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Add the papaya, baking soda, salt and chilli powder and cover. Cook till soft and mushy.

Add-ons: Pack some steamed rice to complete the meal

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Patrodu

A popular snack, this dish is made with taro leaves and ‘urad dal’ paste, making it high in proteins, vitamins and fibre. Traditionally, the smeared leaf rolls are wrapped in turmeric leaves before steaming. They can be stored in the fridge for four-five days or frozen for a month.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients

u 3-4 taro leaves (‘arvi’/’kachalu’ leaves)

u Quarter cup ‘urad dal’ (soaked overnight and drained)

u Quarter cup ‘mung dal’ (soaked overnight and drained)

u 1 onion, medium sized

u 3-4 garlic cloves

u Half piece ginger

u Quarter tsp turmeric

u Quarter tsp dry mango powder

u Half tsp sesame seeds

u Salt and chilli powder to taste

u 2 tsp oil for shallow frying

Method

Grind the ‘dals’ along with onion, garlic, ginger and spices to a smooth paste. Wash and pat dry the leaves. Place a leaf on the kitchen counter (vein side up) and smear the paste generously. Cover with another leaf and repeat the process to form a stack of three-four leaves. Roll tightly. Steam for 15 minutes. Cool and slice into thick roundels. Drizzle some oil on a non-stick pan and shallow-fry on both sides till crisp. Sprinkle sesame seeds.

Cucumber-carrot salad

Cucumber is high in fibre, while carrots are a source of vitamin A. Both are good for eyesight.

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Cooking time: Nil

Method

Cut a small cucumber and carrot into thick sticks. Squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle ‘chat masala’.

MAHARASHTRA

Sabudana khichdi

‘Sabudana’ (tapioca pearls) is high in carbohydrates and perfect for a quick boost of energy.

Preparation time: 2 minutes (plus soaking time)

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

u Half cup ‘sabudana’

u 1 small potato, diced

u Quarter cup roasted peanuts

u Quarter tsp cumin

u 5-6 curry leaves

u 2 tsp oil

u Salt to taste

Method

Wash the ‘sabudana’, transfer to a bowl and pour two tablespoons of water. Cover and keep overnight. Keep aside a few peanuts for garnishing and coarsely grind the rest. Fluff the soaked ‘sabudana’ with a fork and mix in the coarse peanut powder and salt. Heat oil in a non-stick pan, add cumin and curry leaves. Add the chopped potatoes and cook till tender. Add the ‘sabudana’, cover and cook for 2 minutes or till soft and translucent. Garnish with peanuts.

Green garlic thecha

‘Thecha’ is coarsely ground Maharashtrian-style chutney. Unlike the most popular green chilli ‘thecha’, this version uses fresh garlic greens (chives/spring onion-like garlic shoots). Garlic greens are rich in antioxidants and help in giving the immune system a boost.

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

u 1 cup garlic greens, chopped

u 1 tbsp coriander, chopped

u A few drops of oil

u Salt and lemon juice to taste

Method

Heat a non-stick pan. Drizzle few drops of oil and sauté the garlic greens for 2-3 minutes. Cool and grind coarsely along with coriander and salt. Add lemon juice.

Shrikhand

Sweetened hung curd with the goodness of nuts and saffron is a popular Maharashtrian recipe. Yogurt is a rich source of protein and calcium.

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Cooking time: Nil

Ingredients

u Half cup hung yogurt

u 2 tsp powdered sugar

u 1 tsp chopped nuts

u A pinch of cardamom powder

u 2-3 strands of saffron

Method

Whisk everything together.

This is the first of a three-part series on tiffin ideas from around the country.

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