5 winter lunch box recipes to keep your child warm even once food goes cold

Khat-khat-khat-khat-khat-khat. What is that, you ask? It is the sound of my dentures chattering. So cold now it is, living in Bangalore. Every morning, I wake up at 6.30 am, and doing my pooja is so difficult in a wet saree. As soon as I finish, I make one hot-hot cup of coffee and drink it up very fast, even if my tongue burns. My husband, he will not wear wet clothes in the winter - he only wants the hot-hot coffee. I give it to him, but only after I scold him for not following our traditions properly.

If I only feel so cold inside the house, what about all your children, who have to go to school? In my time, I used to walk for four miles to the government school in the next village. So I used to get nice and warm. But now, children will sit in the school bus, they will go to school and they will sit inside the cold, dark classroom and shiver. When my son started going to school, he would say - “Amma, when I am in class, I feel like eating hot-hot chilli bajjis.” One day, I even made chilli bajjis for him, but it got cold by the time he ate them. What to do? I got an idea. Make food that will make you warm when it is getting digested! .

  • Bajra khichdi:

Why bajra? Because it is full of fibre. That means that when it is being digested, it will produce heat and make your child feel like she just drank hot badam milk with kesar.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bajra (black millet) , soaked for 8 hours and drained

  • 1/2 cup yellow moong dal (split yellow gram) , washed and drained

  • salt to taste

  • 1 tbsp ghee

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)

Method

  1. Combine the bajra, moong dal, salt and 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker, mix well and pressure cook for 4 whistles.

  2. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Keep aside.

  3. Heat the ghee in a deep non-stick pan and add the cumin seeds.

  4. When the seeds crackle, add the asafoetida and turmeric powder and sauté on a medium flame for a few seconds.

  5. Add the cooked bajra-moong dal mixture and little salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

  6. Serve immediately.

  • Chana and aloo roti:

Chana is full of protein, while potato is a complex carbohydrate. Both of them will take more time to break down than white rice or bread. So they will use up more energy, which is why your child will be warm, as if you were giving her her Sunday oil bath. Roti you know how to make, so I will tell you only the aloo channa part.

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Ingredients:
  • Potato - 2 large peeled and chopped

  • Chickpeas / Kabuli Channa - 2 cup cooked / 1 can

  • Onion - 1 large chopped finely

  • Tomatoes - 2 large chopped finely

  • Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tblspn

  • Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam - 1 tsp

  • Curry leaves - 1 spring

  • Chilli powder - 1 tsp

  • Green Chilli - 2

  • Coriander powder / Malli podi - 1 tblspn

  • Turmeric Powder / Manjal podi -1 tsp

  • Garam masala powder - 2 tsp

  • Oil - 2 tblspn

  • Coriander leaves - a handful

  • Salt to taste

  • Sugar - to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add in cumin and let it sizzle for a min.

  2. Add in onions and saute till they turn golden.

  3. Add in ginger garlic paste and mix well.

  4. Now add in tomatoes and cook till oil separates.

  5. Add in chilli, turmeric, coriander, garam masala powder and mix well.

  6. Add in salt and sugar to taste,

  7. Now add in channa, potatoes and toss well.

  8. Pour some water and pressure cook it for 3 whistle and simmer the flame for 10 mins. Now switch off the flame and let the pressure go all by itself.

  9. Open the pressure cooker and garnish with coriander leave.

  10. Serve with roti or parotas.

  • Brown rice and jeera rasam:

Brown rice has lots of fibre also, and I already told you what that does. But jeera is very interesting. It makes you little bit warm - not like chilli hot that makes you sweat and cool down immediately. How that happens I do not know. Just happens, that is all.

pepper-cumin-rasam-recipe

You steam brown rice just like regular rice. And make jeera rasam like this: 

ingredients - measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml
to be ground coarsely or semi fine:
  • ½tablespoonblack pepper(sabut kali mirch)

  • ½tablespooncumin(jeera)

  • 2dry red chilies,halved and deseeded (sookhi lal mirch)

  • 6 to 7medium sized garlic(lahsun)

other ingredients:
  • ½tablespoontightly packed seedless tamarind,soaked in ½ cup warm water

  • 1medium tomato,crushed or chopped

  • ¼cupchopped coriander leaves(dhania patta)

  • 1 to 1.25cupswateror add as required

  • salt as required

for tempering:
  • 1teaspoonmustard seeds(sarson)

  • 8 to 10medium sized curry leaves(kadi patta)

  • ⅛teaspoonturmeric powder,roughly 2 to 3 pinches of turmeric powder (haldi)

  • 1-2pinchasafoetida(hing)

  • 1 to 1.5tablespoonoil

Method
  1. first just warm 1/2 cup water. soak tamarind in the warm water for 30 minutes. then squeeze the soaked tamarind to get the pulp. strain the tamarind pulp and keep aside.

  2. in a grinder, take garlic, red chilies, black pepper and cumin seeds. grind coarsely or to a semi fine texture.

  3. heat oil in a pan or pot. splutter mustard seeds first.

  4. then add curry leaves and the coarsely ground spices.

  5. saute for a minute. then add turmeric powder, asafoetida and chopped coriander leaves. stir very well.

  6. then add crushed or chopped tomatoes. stir and saute for a minute or two.

  7. then add tamarind pulp and water. season with salt.

  8. stir and simmer rasam on a low to medium flame, without a lid, till the tomatoes soften and the raw taste of tamarind goes away. takes about 12 to 15 minutes.

  9. you can adjust the consistency of rasam as per your choice, by adding more or less water. adding less water will make the pepper cumin rasam more tangy and hot and vice versa.

  10. serve the pepper cumin rasam plain or accompanied with rice, sambar and a side vegetable south indian dish.

  • Adrak ka halwa:

Thermogenesis. I know - what a big word. I could not pronounce it only when my son first said it. But simple meaning it has. It is the process of converting the calories in your body to heat. That ginger does very nicely. And which child will not like a halwa for lunch? 

Adrak-ka-Halwa-Turban-Tadka-FoodFood

Ingredients

  • Ginger grated 150 grams

  • jaggery 1 tablespoon

  • Jaggery (gur) roughly chopped 1 cup

  • Castor sugar (caster sugar) ½ cup

  • Green cardamom powder 1 teaspoon

  • Ghee 3 tablespoon

  • Pistachios finely chopped 8-10

  • Whole wheat flour (atta) 1 cup

  • Seedless dates finely chopped 15-16

  • Scraped coconut freshly 1½ cup

Method

  1. To make syrup, heat 5 cups water in a non-stick pan, add jaggery, castor sugar, dry ginger powder and green cardamom powder and mix well. Cook till the mixture thickens.

  2. Heat ghee in another non-stick pan,add ginger and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add pistachios and mix well. Add wheat flour and sauté till the flour is fragrant and completely cooked.

  3. Add dates and sauté further till the mixture becomes soft. Add syrup and cook, stirring continuously, till the mixture thickens.

  4. Add coconut, mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Transfer the halwa into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

  • Sweet banana chapati with ghee:

How will this keep your child warm? Banana has lots of Vitamin B and magnesium, my son said, that will regulate temperature through thyroid and adrenal glands. All big-big words again, so he told me all I need to know is that it will keep your child from feeling cold all the time.

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With the banana chapati, send some ghee in a small dabba. It is very tasty. 

Ingredients:

  • Ripe Banana - 1 large peeled and mashed

  • Wheat Flour - 3 cups or as needed

  • Milk - 1/2 cupSalt - 1 tsp

  • Ghee - 1 to 2 tblspn + more as needed

Method:

  1. Take banana in a bowl and mash it well. Add in milk, salt, ghee and mix well.

  2. Add in wheat flour and mix well. Now knead this to a soft dough, add more flour as needed.

  3. Now cover it and let it sit for 30 minsNow knead it well once again.

  4. Divide it to equal portions, take a ball and dust it with flour and roll it into chapati..Put it on hot tawa and cook for few sec.

  5. Flip over and spread ghee and flip over. Cook till cooked on both sides.

  6. Now remove and store in hot case.

  7. Serve.

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