A wave of vegetables is sweeping across Southeast Asia. Those crafty vegetables think they can fool the kids by hiding in the rice but don’t let our mighty veg warriors be fooled! Your mission is to help the kids find them, eat them to defeat them and then let out our victory cheer…
You’re going down veggies!
Tea-time adventures turn a meal into a game you play together. It’s about finding the fun in the food because that encourages children to eat it. It’s not so much about the recipe which puts the food on the plate (that’s up to you), but the fun which gets the food from the plate into their bellies.
Curry Crackdown works with any curry. We have suggested a lovely simple mild & creamy curry with rainbow vegetable rice, but it’s up to you – you do your curry your way (but with plenty of veg, and ideally with vegetable rice). The important thing is decent chunks of vegetables. Don’t try hiding the veg, which does nothing to improve your child’s diet, and don’t make the veg too small. If you present chunky veg, your child feels in control – this is important! They can eat the veg when they choose, they can separate it out and not eat it, or they can play the game and “eat them to defeat them”. If they have that control they will be more inclined to give it a go.
To get started, tell your kids that as part of Eat Them to Defeat Them you have a challenge called Curry Crackdown and ask if they would like to watch the video. Watch the video above together and repeat the rally cry, “you’re going down veggies”, with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. Then ask the children if they want to help Chef Andrew to defeat the veggies.
Before you serve your curry, you might want to watch the video again. As you serve, repeat the rally cry catchphrase, and then when you or your kids eat the vegetables you can say things like “you’re going down veggies” or “let’s defeat them”. During the meal, avoid any pressure and keep the mood fun.
Once the meal is over, praise, praise, praise – but don’t mention health. “Well done, we defeated the veggies”. Remember, for veg-resistant children a sniff, a lick or a nibble is good progress – praise it. Then add a sticker to your Eat Them to Defeat Them wall chart, if you don’t have one you can download one here. Ask the kids if they enjoyed the challenge, and would they like to try another. Good luck.
Creamy Curry & Rainbow Vegetable Rice
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50-55 mins
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
200g diced chicken or beef strips, or veggie alternative
200g sweet potato, chopped (frozen pre-diced sweet potato or squash is fine)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1⁄2 tsp ground ginger or 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
400g tomatoes, chopped (or 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes)
½ head broccoli, chopped into small florets or bite sized pieces
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 veg stock cube
150ml milk, or plant-based alternative (tinned coconut milk is extra creamy and nice in curry)
1 tbsp cornflour (whisked with 1 tbsp water to loosen)
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
Rainbow Vegetable Rice:
1 mug rice (ideally basmati, but you can use others and just check package instructions for how long it takes to cook)
2 mugs water
1 tsp turmeric powder
100g peas (frozen is fine)
1⁄2 red pepper, diced
½ head broccoli, grated (or 100g defrosted and roughly chopped frozen)
Veg Portions / Serving: 3
Here’s our recommended recipe, or you can simply adapt your own recipe – The key here is the rainbow vegetable rice with decent size chunky vegetables the kids can easily find, served with a reminder to the children to Eat Them to Defeat Them and say “You’re going down veggies!”
Place a saucepan on the stove over low-medium heat and add the oil, onion, diced chicken or beef, sweet potato, and red pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften and meat is browned, about 10 mins. If using a veggie alternative, check the packet instructions, but most cook quickly so add to the pan with the spices in the next step.
Add the curry powder, ginger (if using) and garlic powder (if using) to the pan (and veggie alternative, if using) and add the water and chopped tomatoes, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook out for 20-25 minutes, adding the broccoli for the last 5 mins, before adding the tomato puree, veg stock cube and milk.
Bring the pan back up to the boil and stir through the loosened cornflour, simmer for an extra couple of mins then remove from the heat, and add the chopped coriander, if using.
Whilst the chicken curry is cooking, add the rice, water and turmeric powder to a saucepan, and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is just about cooked through (check the package as this may take longer), then stir in the peas, diced pepper, and the cauliflower and broccoli. Cover the pan and cook a few more mins until the rice softens, and the vegetables are cooked through, adding a little extra splash of water if needed if the rice and/or veggies aren’t cooked through. Serve with the curry.
Kids in the Kitchen:
Kids in the kitchen – Have the kids help you measure and weigh ingredients, fill the mug for the rice with rice and water, and stirring things together (show them how to safely stir over the heat and keep a close eye on them). For more tips on cooking with kids check out Kids in the Kitchen on Simply Veg.