Having to come up with different dishes using primarily the same meats or veggies most of the time while still keeping it healthy for the kids can be quite difficult at times. When I get stuck, I tend to get inspiration just from what I personally like to eat.
This dish comes from one of those ‘inspired’ moments. I’ve always loved Thai pineapple rice for the savoury flavours of chicken and pork floss in fried rice tossed with the tangy sweetness of pineapple. If my son’s taste resembles anything like mine I thought he’d really like it too except Thai pineapple rice is not quite something I’d feed him yet.
What I did instead was combine salmon cous cous with one of his (and I’m sure many a kid’s) great loves: raisins! With this recipe, the raisins are boiled first so they become plump and juicy and you get the same savoury sweetness in one dish. Plus it’s an easy way to entice the kiddo to the dinner table. Be warned though, younger toddlers may just pick the raisins out and eat them only hah).
Ingredients (10 toddler servings)
- 25g unsalted butter
- 2 tbs diced yellow onion
- 1 1/2 cups cous cous
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 cup butter milk
- 1 cup greek yoghurt
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tsp raw sugar
- 4 tbs white cooking wine
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried basil
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbs chopped garlic
- 1/4 red pepper
- 2 fillets of Salmon, skinned and de-boned
- 1/4 large carrot, diced
- 3 florets of broccoli
- 1 tbs dill
- black pepper to taste
- 1 packet of cooking cream
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a muffin tray and another 4 ramekins.
Season the salmon with the dill and black pepper. Remember to take the salmon out from the fridge some time before you cook so that it is not cold entering the pan.
Put the raisins in a sauce pan and add just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Simmer the raisins for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top up with a little bit of water midway if you find that most of the water has evaporated. You want to keep the raisins mostly submerged. Remove from heat and let cool. This step helps to moisten and plump up the raisins – makes them extra yummy.
Add 2 cups of water to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Throw in the broccoli florets and diced carrots and boil for about 5 minutes or to desired softness. Remove the vegetables and set aside. In a large bowl, add to the cous cous 1 1/2 cups of the still hot water used to boil the vegetables and cover for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and fluff the cous cous when done.
Heat up the frying pan with the butter and saute the garlic for a couple of minutes then add in the onions and red pepper. Stir fry for a few minutes then place the salmon in the middle to cook. When the salmon has turned colour halfway through, flip the salmon over to cook the other side. At this point, pour the white cooking wine and lemon juice over the salmon. Next, add the butter milk, cooking cream, and basil, and bring to a boil. The salmon is done when it can be easily flaked. (It’s okay to leave the salmon slightly under cooked as it will still be cooking in the oven and you don’t want to dry it out by overcooking it.) When done, remove the salmon and let cool on a plate. When cool, flake the salmon to small pieces.
To the same frying pan with the red pepper, add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Lower the heat and add the greek yoghurt, honey and sugar. Mix well together and remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, add the raisins, brocolli and carrots to the cous cous and mix well. You could add the raisin water as well for some added sweetness. Then add the flakes of salmon and stir to combine. Lastly pour the cream sauce into the bowl and mix altogether well.
Portion the salmon cous cous equally in the muffin tray and ramekins.
For the topping, add the Parmesan and oil to the panko bread crumbs and mix very well. Sprinkle on top of each portion and slightly compress the cous cous to compact it.
Place in the oven on the top rack for about 10 minutes or until the topping has browned. Remove from the oven and let stand for about 20 minutes before serving.
To store, when the cous cous has thoroughly cooled, wrap the muffin tray/ ramekins in cling film and place in the freezer. Once frozen, pop each portion out and store in a labeled freezer bag. Steam in a pan of water for about 20 mins to re-heat when required.