This year Uncle Ben’s pioneered the first ever Cook With Your Kids Day as part of their Ben’s Beginners initiative. The idea behind Ben’s Beginners and Cook With Your Kids Day, which is on October 15th, is that we’re a bit rubbish when it comes to teaching our kids the basics of food preparation. Okay, so ‘a bit rubbish’ is maybe a little harsh, but you know what I mean. We get so focussed on academic teaching – SATS and spellings and reading levels – that we loose sight of key skills like cooking.
I’ve always been pretty good at cooking with my own kids when it comes to baking, but that’s really just because I want them to be able to cook me treats. I’m a bit less on the ball when it comes to actual meals.
(To be honest, I’ve never been good at actual meals generally. I hate food shopping, and will normally leave Sainsbury’s with a collection of random items like ice cream cones and radishes rather than useful ingredients for things.)
It wasn’t long ago for example that I had a text message from Bee in London. Bee is an expert baker, but clearly I’ve not taught her so well on the savoury front.
‘How do you make stir-fry?’ her text read.
I wasn’t sure how to answer that.
‘Well, the clue is sort of in the name…’
This week though Belle and I made chicken curry. With actual spices! And vegetables! Fancy.
We followed the Ben’s Beginners recipe, which you can find on the Ben’s Beginners digital hub. This hub has been put together by Uncle Ben’s to provide recipe ideas and inspiration to get families into the kitchen. (And not just to get the wine from the fridge.) I’m not going to reproduce the whole thing here because, quite frankly, I can be bothered. Plus Uncle Ben’s have set it out really nicely already, so just click the link above if you want to know exactly what you need.
It’s dead easy though, and smells amazing as it’s cooking. I’ve never made a curry by cooking the marinated chicken in the oven first, but I’d definitely do it again.
The first step then is to get your children excited. Make them wash their hands first if you can, promise them an episode of Scooby Doo if they smile throughout, that sort of thing.
(Belle really likes Scooby Doo.)
Then you mix up the cubed chicken with some spices, greek yogurt and lemon juice. Spread it out on a foil lined tray and cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, you can get on with the other tasks. Chop an onion and fry it in olive oil until it’s soft. Take a big sniff and imagine yourself back in July, queueing for a hotdog at a sunny festival. Samba music is playing in the background.
Then add the garam masala and tomato puree and cook a bit more. Finally add a tin of tomatoes and simmer for about five minutes while the chicken finishes off. In a separate pan, fry off your peppers and peas before adding your cooked Uncle Ben’s rice. Season to taste. Finally, add the cooked chicken and cream to your tomato base and get your resident kid to give everything a good stir.
Sprinkle with coriander and TADA! Easy peasy chicken curry. Do check out the Ben’s Beginners site for the full recipe and more cooking tips.
Do you have a favourite curry recipe? What tips do you have to get kids involved in cooking?