My son comes from a culturally diverse background: my background is Swedish and Italian, and my husband’s is Indian. So needless to say, eating bland, tasteless food is just not an option! I have been adding herbs and spices to his food since he was 8 months old, which is the current recommendation from most pediatricians. If you decide to experiment with herbs and spices, make sure to use the 4 day wait rule, just as you would with introducing a new food.
One of my favorite herbs to cook with is cilantro. I use it in a variety of recipes and love its bright, fresh taste. I add it to pureed avocados, soy beans, peas, and zucchini. I remove the leaves from about 10 sprigs of fresh cilantro and throw them into the food processor with the veggies.
A surprising ingredient I use when making pureed carrots is fresh ginger. I use about a 1/2 inch piece of ginger root and throw it into the steamer when steaming the carrots. I remove most of it before I puree the carrots because it can be overpowering if you add too much. The health benefits of ginger are many, including aiding in digestion and boosting the body’s immunity.
My son Dylan loves Indian split pea soup and I make a variation of it using split peas and lentils. I used to modify the amount of spice from the original recipe, just to make it a little more mild, but now my son eats it exactly the way we do! He also loves the potato patties that I make to go with it. I prefer to use sweet potato over the white potato, because sweet potatoes are more nutrient rich. See recipe below.
Indian Split Pea Soup and Sweet Potato Patties for Baby (10 mo+)
Ingredients for Soup:
¾ cup Dried Split Peas and ¾ cup Dried Lentils, soaked overnight
3 cup Water (saved from the boiled peas)
1 tbsp Oil
1 cup Onion; diced
1½ tablespoon Minced garlic
1 tablespoon Fresh ginger root; minced
1 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Cumin Powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
Directions for Soup:
- Wash and pressure cook peas and lentils in water till well done.
- Blend together cooled peas/lentils, reserved water, and cilantro
- Heat oil in a fry pan and sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger until lightly browned and tender.
- Add to split peas along with all the remaining ingredients. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and continue to cook 30 minutes more, stirring occasionally until gravy thickens.
Ingredients for Sweet Potato Patties:
4 Sweet Potatoes, boiled, peeled, mashed
½ cup corn starch (add more until potato mixture becomes stiff)
1 tsp Ginger, grated
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
Oil, to shallow fry patties.
Directions for Patties
- Mix all ingredients well with hand. Knead lightly.
- With the help of greased hands, form 12-14 round flat 1/2″ thick 2″ patties
- Lightly fry a few at a time on a greased hot griddle.
- Turn once to roast other side, making them crisp and golden brown. Keep aside.
- Serve patties with soup.
Below is a list of spices you may want to consider when preparing your baby’s next batch of baby food! (Appropriate for babies 8+months)
I would never recommend adding sugar or salt to your baby’s food.
The following list may help you to increase your baby’s impressionable palate.
- black pepper
- garlic powder
Mandy’s mission is to educate parents on the benefits of making baby food at home and provide consultation and education services to moms who are wanting to make their baby’s food from scratch but don’t know where to start. Check out her blog, or find her on FaceBook.