The Chicken soup I am posting today is an ideal introductory chicken dish for toddlers. It is mild, delicately flavoured and easy on little tummies. This dish is super quick and super easy and it can easily be transformed into an adult version with a few extra spices. I usually serve this soup with rice or as a side with idli. My 3 year old likes chomping on the chicken pieces. For my 1 year old, I dump the rice, soup and a few chicken pieces in the mixer and give a quick blitz, a very quick one so that it is a coarse mixture and not pureed all the way. It’s a good alternative to the usual paruppu saadam (rice and dal).
I don’t usually cook separately for my kids, but sometimes I do. I think once in a while, they deserve their own custom-made meal. I think the entire cooking in the house has in general become more kid friendly – we’ve cut down on the chillies, totally eliminated channa dal from all our tempering (my kids don’t like biting into the dal), we make more Kormas/dal based curries (which are milder) and there is always idli maavu (Idli batter) in the fridge which is so reassuring. Long day, frenetic action for a function the next day, or the day after the frenetic function, kids sick, maid on leave, power shut-down, or even better – power shut-down and no water in the tank – whatever the odds, as long as you have idli maavu, you can manage.
On holiday trips, I remember how grateful we’d be for the puliche idlis (however sour and rubbery) that Taj served at around 100 rupees per idli (Yes 100!). Most hotels don’t serve idli at dinner buffets or even on order. My kids are by now so attuned to “an idli a day, everyday” routine that nothing else would do. They want their idli. No “kid friendly” macaroni and cheese for them. By the way, nothing is kid friendly when served on porcelain plates or in fancy wineglasses. Not a lot of moms on these hotel decision making panels, I think.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Boneless Chicken pieces – 10 small cubes
Onion – 1 chopped
Tomato – 1 chopped
Ginger – 1/2 an inch piece
Garlic – 5-6 pods peeled
Coriander powder – 1-1/2 tsp
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Water – 3-4 cups
Jeera/Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – for garnishing (optional)
1. In a pressure cooker, toss in the chicken, chopped onion, tomato, whole ginger piece, garlic pods, coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, salt and water and cook for 12-15 minutes or 2 whistles. The chicken should be well cooked.
2. In a kadai/skillet, heat oil and when hot, add cumin and let fry for half a minute. Pour in the soup from the pressure cooker and let it come to a boil.
3. Remove the ginger piece and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with idli or rice.
For the adult version, roast curry leaves, black pepper corns, cumin, ginger and garlic and powder. Add the powdered spices to the pressure cooked soup before pouring it into the kadai/skillet. Let boil for 10-12 minutes. Switch off and garnish with coriander leaves.