A question I am commonly asked by other mothers is ‘how do you make your rice so soft and fluffy?’ Basmati rice is very simple to cook but if the ratio of water to rice is not correct, it can become dry and overcooked.

Rice is a brilliant accompaniment to curry’s and stews, and with the correct seasoning and veggies, is great as a stand-alone meal too! It is a carb-rich (starchy) food so provides your little one with valuable nutrients, fibre and much-needed energy to crawl, walk, play and run! So all in all, is fab for including within a growing child’s diet.

I was never the best at cooking rice up until a few years ago. It was always the one part of the meal that was either burnt at the bottom of the pan, or was a little chewy! However, after reading about the benefits of rice for kids, it was definitely an area that needed work. And I’m glad I worked on it because now my rice is soft, fluffy and perfectly cooked every time.  My daughter will happily eat it on it’s own too.

So to give you a helping hand, I have provided you with two recipes– one suitable for older babies, and the other suitable for toddlers, as I found that different rice textures are suitable for different age groups depending on how far developed they are.

Perfect Basmati Rice – Stage 2 and 3: 7 -10 months plus

Makes 2-3 servings

80g (3 ¼ oz) white basmati rice

Splash of oil

250ml (8fl oz/ 1 cup) of water

  • Rinse the rice with fresh cold water in a sieve and mix with a spoon to ensure all of rice has been washed, and place in a pot.
  • Add the oil and water, bring to the boil and stir, then cover and simmer on low heat for 10mins until all of the water has been absorbed.
  • When cooked, the rice will be soft, fluffy, but also a little mushy. This makes the rice easier to mash for baby or makes it easier for older babies to chew and swallow. 

 

Increase the health benefits

Add a pinch of turmeric to your baby’s rice – a completely natural spice bursting with health benefits. Turmeric is great for:

  • boosting the immune system to protect baby against colds and flu
  • reduces flatulence
  • reduces the risk of developing childhood leukaemia.

Simply add a pinch of ground turmeric to the water and stir before you bring the rice to the boil.

Perfect Basmati Rice – Stage 4 (1-3 years) plus and Family Meals

This recipe is great for the whole family and delicious!

Makes 4 servings

300g (11 oz) white basmati rice
1 tbsp oil
700ml (1 pint 4fl oz/ 2 ¾ cups) of water

  • Rinse the rice with fresh cold water in a sieve and mix with a spoon to ensure all of rice has been washed, and place in a pot.
  • Add the oil and water, bring to the boil and stir, then cover and simmer on low heat for 10mins until all of the water has been absorbed.
  • When cooked, the rice will be soft, fluffy and all of the water should have been absorbed.

For Mr or Miss Fussy

If your little one requires a certain level of presentation before agreeing to eat his/ her dinner, simply chuck in a handful of frozen peas and ½ – 1 tsp of ground turmeric and stir before you bring the rice to the boil.

Bright yellow rice (all 100% natural) with bright green peas not only looks inviting, it has fab antioxidant benefits for the whole family.

By Zainab Jagot Ahmed, author of Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook – the UK’s FIRST Indian baby food cookbook. The e-book is available to buy now from Amazon and Waterstones.com from just £3.99.

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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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