This is primarily intended as a STEM based blog, but as home educators we cover just about anything and everything. In our wanderings through geography based on the kids questions, one that comes up frequently is ‘what do they eat for breakfast in China; America; India…’ or whichever country they have picked off the map on our table cover while we munch on our own breakfasts.
They have experienced how different breakfast is in Germany when they were baffled to see ‘lunch’ foods such as sliced meats and cheeses on the breakfast table. They’ve had ‘pudding’ for breakfast in the form of buttermilk pancakes in an American style diner in Brighton. What they struggle the most to get their heads round is the idea of ‘dinner’ for breakfast, such as rice or curry, as in a dish like Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia. Nasi Lemak is rice cooked in coconut milk and served with savouries such as boiled eggs – recipe for it here on a useful cooking website.
For this reason, this week when I was asked to come up with a novel breakfast recipe using VitaCoco coconut milk alternative I decided to break the breakfast mould and create a savoury dish that would be fairly quick to cook, but way outside our usual morning repertoire. Vitacoco coconut milk alternative is made from coconut cream and coconut water, so is creamier than the coconut milks I have tried before and leant itself well to this recipe.
The kids like wheat puffs, so I decided to keep that theme with boiled Khorasan wheat grains (an ancient form of wheat that is reputed to be easier on the tummy than modern wheat). Toby selected butterbeans to go in the accompaniment to this base, and I added the spring greens as they are an excellent source of calcium. I added in peanuts as a great protein source to keep us filled up, but you can substitute for a pulse such as chickpeas if nuts are a problem for you. I decided on a curry sauce inspired by lovely coconut flavours in curries such as korma, incorporating turmeric as a reputed health-giving spice, coriander for it’s aroma and as a source of calcium and iron, and fenugreek for it’s bitter sweetness – it contains sotolon, a compound present in the more traditional breakfast flavour of maple syrup. I gave the dish the name Yin and Yang fusion curry breakfast based on the split of the two main parts of the meal, with the beans and greens forming the Yin part and the grains forming the Yang part, and the ‘fusion’ part because I’ve garnered ideas from several different cultures and countries (and besides which, fusion is a nice sciency word). If you’re feeling adventurous this is a great breakfast for a weekend, or perhaps push it forward a little later into an interesting brunch. I’ve provided the measurements in cups as it’s easier for the kids to measure out, but this is by no means a dish of precision, so feel free to fiddle with the recipe and use what you have to hand.
Recipe for Yin and Yang breakfast (serves 4):
Preparation time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Notes: Vegan, dairy-free, contains nuts (but easily left out or substituted), contains wheat/gluten (again, easily substituted)
2 cups quick cook khorasan wheat (or quick cook rice, or any other grain you prefer)
3 cups of Vitacoco coconut milk alternative
1 medium onion, diced
1 head of spring greens, washed and shredded (USA = collard greens)
1 tin of butterbeans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup of raw peanuts (or unsalted roasted peanuts)
1 tablespoon cornflour (USA = corn starch)
Half a teaspoon each of turmeric, coriander and fenugreek spice powders (USA coriander = cilantro)
1 tablespoon of oil to cook – I used a half and half mixture of cold pressed rapeseed oil (USA = canola) and coconut oil
A couple of generous pinched of sea salt
Cook Khorasan wheat according to packet instructions – the quick cook version should take 10 minutes
While the grains cook, in a separate pan heat the oil on a medium high heat and fry the onions, spices and peanuts together, moving constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid burning the peanuts.
When the onions start to soften, add in the greens and then the butterbeans. Turn the heat down to medium at this point.
Mix the cornflour into one cup of coconut milk, add the well stirred mixture to the pan, along with the rest of the coconut milk and stir gently until the vegetables are hot through, the greens softened a little, and the sauce thick and glossy.
Drain the wheat, then stir through a sprinkling of sea salt. Arrange on the plate as half of the Yin-Yang shape.
Serve the curry as the other half of the Yin-Yang.
Matt and I enjoyed ours with a good drizzle of Matt’s home made sweet chilli sauce (it was supposed to be chilli jam, but that’s a whole other story involving us having to evacuate the house in a fog of choking chilli smoke).
A little odd to our mind set of being used to this sort of meal as something to enjoy at the end of the day, rather than at 9am (late weekend breakfast), but definitely a great way to shake up the old routines and question why we eat the things we traditionally eat for breakfast. Clear plates all round, so apparently not too insane a stretch for breakfast for kids used to me experimenting on them – green spirulina and banana grain free pancakes anyone?
This recipe is an entry into the Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast challenge with Vita Coco and Foodies100. See more great breakfast ideas athttp://vitacoco.com/uk/
Notes: Toby helped select the ingredients at the supermarket, and with preparing and cooking the meal, but usual precautions around kids and chopping/cooking apply. I received 2 litres of Vitacoco coconut milk substitute in order to produce my entry for the competition. The recipe, images and any opinions are my own.