When I was a kid the list of foods I enjoyed eating was not very complex or long. It consisted mainly of chicken prepared in various applications, fruit, cereal, and my mom’s delicious baked goods. Vegetables were not on this list; neither was any type of foreign cuisine. Vegetables were bitter and foods I had never tried before were scary! As I grew older and decided to become a chef, my dad always made me try new items. He would say, “If you’re going to be a chef, you need to try more new things.” Slowly but surely, I began to try new foods and ingredients. It took some time, but eventually it became less intimidating and suddenly it was thrilling to experience new food! I would go to school and tell my friends excitedly about the “odd” foods I had eaten at home.
Now that I am a chef and have spent many years preparing food for children, I have noticed the same hesitancy in the kids as I once had towards vegetables and new food items. This is common as most kids’ taste buds detect bitter flavor profiles at a higher rate than most adults, but it makes it difficult to bring in the important nutritional elements into their diets that vegetables provide. My suggestion to this is to try introducing new recipes that sneak vegetables into them. This way kids get to experience new flavors and have an added benefit of the extra vegetables hidden away. While it will take time for kids to warm up to new items, ultimately it will expand and enrich their tastes for various foods. Imagine their surprise when they realize they actually enjoy something new with vegetables in it! Eventually, they will start to enjoy the vegetables on their own as well. This curry recipe is easy and a great introduction to something new that isn’t too complex or scary to try. The coconut milk and curry help to cut the overly bitter flavor of the vegetables in it while the caramelizing of the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness as well; the end result is very kid-friendly!
Yield: 4 Servings
As Needed- Vegetable Oil
1 Large- Yellow Onion, diced
4 Large- Red Potato, diced
2 Each- Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Package- Firm or Extra Firm Tofu, drained
2 Cloves- Garlic, minced
1 Can- Coconut Milk
1 Can- Garbanzo Beans, drained
1 Cup- Green Peas
To Taste- Yellow Curry Powder
To Taste- Salt & Black Pepper
1) In a large sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add diced onions, potatoes and bell peppers. Sauté vegetables until slightly softened and caramelized.
2) Add tofu and garlic and sauté with vegetables for a few minutes to brown the outside of the tofu. Be careful not to burn the garlic or it will take on a really bitter flavor.
3) Add the coconut milk, garbanzo beans and green peas to the sautéed vegetables and tofu. Reduce heat to low. Add yellow curry powder, salt and pepper adjusted to your personal tastes. Simmer for 20 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked through and flavor has developed.
4) Best served over brown or basmati rice with homemade naan.