Having spent quite a bit of time with family in both Singapore and Malaysia over the years, you could say that I have developed a ‘healthy’ romance with bold Asian flavours. In my younger days (long before the thought of children), I would often experiment with Thai flavours and dishes, as these were the quickest and easiest when it came to Asian foods. These days, I continue to make a variety of Thai inspired dishes because time effective and efficient recipes in the kitchen are even more imperative to me now that the children are here.
The great thing about Asian cuisine in general, is that the recipes are always just a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. Thai food in particular uses a range of ingredients that have strong, punchy flavours of sour, sweet, salty and heat. Because of this intensity, flavours can vary from one time to the next depending on the freshness of the produce you use, so only your tongue can tell you how much more of something you need to add. The flexibility of Thai flavours makes recipes more forgiving, so don’t be afraid to deviate from the recipe according to your taste, and if you don’t like something, don’t put it in. It’s as simple as that!
I have made these Thai Inspired Chicken Cakes fragrant and full of strong, zesty flavours. This is a healthy and easy recipe to follow with any age group and it makes for a quick and easy kitchen playdate, which would work perfectly as a nutritious, protein packed lunch for the children. These are baked, not fried; they are grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free. The recipe really doesn’t take much planning or preparation, which is an added bonus to the joy and excitement the children will experience while making these with you.
Don’t forget to remind the children of your kitchen safety rules. I have a few here that might help get you started.
- 750g minced chicken (lean)
- 1 carrot, finely grated
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach, finely chopped
- 2 green onions (spring onion shoots), finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Zest of one lime
- 2 tsp ginger, finely grated
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup coconut milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C).
- Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine well.
- Spoon the mixture into muffin tins, being sure to add an even amount in each. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. You will find that the chicken will release quite a bit of moisture while baking, so be sure to remove the cakes from the tins and drain off any liquid, after removing them from the heat.
- Sweet Chilli Sauce
- Ingredients: 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 1 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp water, ½ tsp red chilli flakes
- Method: On a stovetop at low heat, add coconut oil to a pan to melt. Add the chilli flakes and let sizzle for 10 seconds to release the heat into the oil. Slowly add the water and the honey, stirring to melt. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients briskly as you remove it from the stove. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Salad: You can use any side salad you like, but sticking to a few complimentary Asian flavours, I usually serve the Thai Inspired Chicken Cakes with an Iceberg or Romaine lettuce salad. I add cilantro, avocado, and cucumber, and dress it with the fresh lime left over from the zest used in the cakes. Easy!
Tasks for the Kids: Older children can help with the chopping, and grating. The younger children will find adding all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and giving it a good mix enjoyable. Most kids can help to zest the lime and spoon the mixture into the muffin rounds. In particular, my daughter loves to wash and spin-dry the lettuce leaves for the salad, and to drizzle the sweet chilli sauce over the cakes when it’s time to serve.
Be sure to let me know how this recipe goes for you and any feedback from the children would be brilliant.