3 December, 2018
Healthy Cauliflower Tater Tots
Homemade tater tots that are healthy!
3 ways of making tater tots for your little tots! You can either bake them, air-fry them or shallow fry them!
Homemade Tater tots that are healthy? Joking right?
After all tater tots are nothing but grated potato and cheese deep fried and served as a side dish. “Tater Tots” is a registered trademark of the H. J. Heinz Company, L.P. and is used as a generic term. Tater tots are cylindrical in shape and crispy exterior.
These tater tots are made with mixed vegetables, tofu and cheese. You can add eggs too. In fact, they will bind very well if eggs are used and when baked you will get a deep golden colour.
The alternative names for tater tots is Tots, potato rounds, potato puffs, tater puffs, potato cylinders, potato nuggets, potato croquettes, baby taters. Tater tots are served as Entrée or side dish, sometimes as part of the main course.
It is Monday and I have joined a group called the FoodieMondayBloghop and this week we are doing the #173 ToddlerFingerFood as our theme. Thanks to Poonam for the suggesting the theme and I have a long pending post to write.
I am sorry but this is a long drawn post but then I have been requested by my neighbour for recipes for a toddler. This post is especially for Mitali who I have seen growing up from a teenager to a bride to a mom. Mitali is struggling to feed her toddler of about 2 years.
If you can get your toddler to eat without fuss then more than half of you battle is won.
Believe me, I have two kids one is 24 now and the other will be 17 this year! My elder one, Apeksha and I had a lot of food issues but thankfully, I was better equipped to deal with the fuss with my younger one.
‘Mumma’ the word bring smiles to our faces it comes with a lot of challenges too!
The biggest one being my child has not eaten!!
Okay, let us deal with this!
But first some disclaimers… I am no expert.
This is the way I have handled my younger one and found that it worked wonders with her. She was healthier and willing to try anything new. All said and done please remember your child is unique. These are just pointers try them out if they work with you fine else refine them.
Some of my younger one’s antics were getting me to chew almonds or anything that was hard for her to chew and then after she thought it was chewed upon enough hooking it out of my mouth with her small index finger. Nothing new in it even chimps do that…
Akanksha, my younger one, was first introduced to the kitchen at 4 months! A necessity as my Mother-in-Law and Mother had both passed away. All the sounds in the kitchen she heard, from the hiss of the cooker to the sizzling sounds of food cooking.
As she grew older she perched on my hip as I cooked. She watched the mustard splutter, the jeera sizzle the vegetable crackle as it went in the pan. There used to be an excited look on her face!
This helped in her appreciating food. I suppose she thought it was magic!
Once she was weaned, I gave her the vegetable or dal or whatever that we cooked was in her plate she fed herself. Yes, I encouraged her to feed herself. Of course, there was a huge mess. The vessels very dirty, food was spilt there were times when she dipped her chapatti in water and used it like play dough. LET HER BE!! Close your eyes and let the eek be! And stop listening to all the criticism about your parenting!
Let your child explore the textures the smooth feel of paneer, the crunch of an apple, the delicious feel of homemade butter. If she wants cucumber give it, if she wants a taste of lemon let her. She is the best judge of her tastes and textures. Believe me, my friend’s daughter of the same age loved sour stuff but mine did not.
You can use what she likes to present food that you think she has to eat.
Present it! Yes, present it to her! Why do you like restaurant food? Mostly because it is well presented! We eat with our eyes first!
My elder one was averse to eating veggies but she loved salads. So it was mostly salads for her but once she was bored of the same salads I cut the veggies in interesting shapes. So carrot n cucumber slices with a slight triangle cut in them became flowers, mountains, cabbage the river. Paniyaram/appe/gundpangla became mountains that were sitting in chutney calling out to her and we still call them mountains. Get the idea??
Use a lot of colours to attract your toddler to her plate.
The plate! How can I forget? Do not buy the section plates! The sections are your i.e. an adult concept; use an ordinary plate, steel plate with an edge.
In an ordinary plate serve different coloured food to the child steamed beetroots, boiled peas, steamed French beans, boiled cauliflower, stir-fried ladyfinger, chapatti bits, some dal, tomato. Serve very small serving you do not want the child overwhelmed by what is on her plate. You can always slyly slip some more cauliflower or carrots. Praise her when she finishes!!! Profusely!! It is okay if there is more on the floor then in her.
I have even given my younger one sliced brinjal that are shallow fried. Believe me, she has finished every bit of it. We were surprised but this was what she demanded and we served.
Last but not least do not feed your child in front of the TV, computer, and laptop.
Tell her stories of how Bhim of Pandavas ate food. Tell her how he was so strong because of it. Ask your child,” are you strong too?” “O my, you are strong! You are eating so well so you are strong! Show your muscles…HMMM! “
Any story, cook it up, embellish the story anything to hold her attention! I know there is a storyteller in you. As a toddler for baby cereal, I said the crow came riding the spoon saying “Caw! Caw is there place in your mouth?” Worked! We ate the cereal no fuss.
One of the best ways we discovered of feeding the kids was playing restaurant with the girls; they fed soup, salad, vegetables and dal to the dolls. This was of course when they were about 4- 5 years old. The kids are still ready to taste any soup on earth. I have many times served dal, amti, kadhi as soup.
Finally, you relax!!!
Children are very sensitive they understand you too well. They pick up nuances better than anyone else. The child does not eat then she does not eat. You getting upset and discussing it will set a chain reaction.
Instead, you start eating in front of her.
Relish it! Praise the food! “So Yummy!!! Lovely no Pappa!!”
Then say ”Pappa, you don’t take from my plate I am keeping it here” and move away from the plate leaving it accessible to the child, go get a spoon, water anything. Pappa also pretends to be busy or encourages the child to eat and the child gets busy at mumma’s plate. Job done!
In a nutshell,
- Let the kid feed herself.
- Present small colourful meals, shapes, faces.
- Serve different textures.
- Tell food-related stories when you need to feed or when she is feeding herself.
- Suppress the urge to correct her. Praise the correct behaviour (wish I had done more of this).
- Most importantly relax it is not the end of the world. If this food does not work something else will.
The something else is finger foods!
Mitali this post will lead you to lot more posts; we have all sailed in the same boat.
Finger food can be anything from tater tots to cutlets, pinwheels of jam and chappati, mini muffins, frittata, falafels, granola bars, cereal bars, chikki , oats cookies, Veggies steamed, fruits ,pancakes, mini dosa( Akanksha still likes it when I make them for her), idli, scrambled eggs, thalipeeth with veggies in it cut in strips, homemade crackers, lavash with hummus, pasta only make it at home you can try gnocchi. Include a variety you like it too.
Here is the recipe for tater tots using veggies. You can add egg, prawns, boiled chicken too.
Let me tell you Akanksha at first refused to eat these for potato was all she was looking for in her tater tots. But then she started eating them and told me they remind her of fish fingers.
This recipe is adapted from here.
Healthy Cauliflower Tater Tots
- Serves: 40 pieces
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Cook time: 20/50/15 in the air frier, oven and pan
- 4 cauliflower florets, chopped fine
- 3 leaves of cauliflower, chopped fine
- 1carrot chopped fine
- ¼ capsicum finely chopped
- 1 spring onion chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 potatoes boiled and grated
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup tofu grated
- 3 cheese cubes grated
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Salt to taste
- Heat a kadhai /wok keep the flame low and add the carrots.
- When they are done add the cauliflower florets and the leaves to the same pan.
- Add the onions mix well and steam covered for about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the capsicum, spring onion and keep covered.
- Meanwhile grate the potatoes, cheese and tofu in a mixing bowl.
- Add all the ingredients and mix well.
- Adjust the seasonings (if you are making it for an adult you may increase the salt and garlic, add some chilli powder too).
- You can now preheat oven to 190°C / 375 F.
- Spread a parchment paper on a baking tray and spray with oil lightly.
- Take about a tablespoon of the mixture in your palm and make a small cylinder.
- Make till all the ingredients are used up.
- Transfer the tots to the tray and bake.
- The recommendation was for 20 minutes but I need about 50 minutes. Turn the tots over in between be gentle they break.
- You can also dip the tots in oil and cook them in the air fryer @180°C for 20 minutes.
- You can also shallow fry them in a pan for about 15 minutes on low flame.
Finally, joining Valli in her Bake-a-ton.
Check out the other bloggers doing this Bake-a-thon