Stage 3: 10 months plus (V)

Black eyed beans (or peas as they are referred to in some countries) are excellent for growing children and for vegetarian/ vegan diets. Classed as a legume they are rich in protein excellent for growing children, fibre, iron and potassium.

This recipe is brilliant for kids and my daughter still loves it today. Whenever she smells the spices when I’m preparing it, she suddenly becomes very interested in what I am doing and insists on being sat on the work surface next to me watching as I cook. Perhaps I have a budding chef on my hands…

Anyway, amongst the amazing aroma this pilaf releases, it’s also:

  • low-cost – you can pick up a tin of black eyed beans for just 48p from Asda
  • a one-pot recipe which is quick to cook and hassle free
  • convenient – stack the tins up in the cupboard and stockpile for a rainy day for the whole family
  • ‘1 of 5 a day’ – one 400g tin of black eyed beans counts towards ‘1 of our 5 a day’ for adults and older children.

Important: you must use tinned black eyed beans for this meal as they will cook within 10-15mins. If you choose to use dry black eyed beans, you will need to soak them overnight and allow at least 1-2 hours for the beans to cook until tender.

SuperFoods included – olive oil, onion, tomatoes, lime
SuperSpices included – cardamom, clove, cumin, coriander, black pepper

Total preparation and cooking time: 25mins
Makes 5-6 servings
Suitable for freezing

Ingredients:

  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion – peeled, chopped
  • 1 whole cardamom pod – black
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 200g (7oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 150g (5oz) tinned black-eyed beans (in water) – drained, rinsed
  • 100g (3½oz/ ½ cup) white basmati rice ”” washed, drained
  • Squeeze of ½ a lime – ensuring no seeds fall in
  • 280ml (9fl oz/ 1 ¼ cup) of water

Method:

Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion, cardamom, clove and stir-fry on medium-low heat for 5mins until the onion is golden.

Turn to low heat and add the cumin, coriander, black pepper and stir-fry for a few seconds. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for 2mins.

Add the black eyed beans, rice, lime juice and water. Stir and bring to the boil. Simmer (covered) on low heat for 10-15mins checking halfway. If the rice looks a little dry, add extra water and continue to cook until the rice and beans are tender and all of the water has been absorbed.

The rice should look a little moist when it’s done. Stir and set aside (covered) for 5mins.

IMPORTANT: Remove the cardamom pod and clove before serving to baby.

Serve to baby warm with a dollop of unsweetened yogurt. The rice grains should be soft enough to mash between little gums. If not, mash the rice and serve.

Recipe by Zainab Jagot Ahmed – baby food blogger and author of Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook, the UK’s first Indian baby food cookbook available to buy now for tablets, smartphones and desktops from Amazon.co.uk (£3.99). Printed edition to be released in 2014.

About The Author

Zainab Jagot Ahmed

Zainab Jagot Ahmed is a first-time mum and author of the UK's first Indian baby food cookbook, ‘Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook'. Prior to becoming a mummy, Zainab worked in marketing for almost 10 years in the fashion, entertainment and retail industries. However, after the birth of her daughter felt inspired to turn her attention to cooking delicious, nutritious home-made baby food. As she began the weaning process, she was keen to introduce Asian flavours early to both broaden her daughter's palate, and to introduce her to her culinary heritage. However, unable to find any baby and toddler cookbooks with Asian or Asian influenced recipes, was inspired to invent her own recipes. Soon friends were asking for them too. After a year spent researching spices, dietary recommendations and various superfoods, Zainab decided to put her research and recipes to good use by writing her own Indian baby food cookbook, giving everyone the chance to try them at home.

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