I hate to say this, but I have to admit that I always run out of lunch box ideas. The kids as they are, get bored very quickly with any dish that goes into their lunch box.
Did I say I hate? But I do love to think about food and the various options it has to offer. How about a dish from the Mexican cuisine, transformed into a simple lunch box idea? Nutritious and at the same time versatile and tasty too. The love-hate relationship with food will never end. At least for me!
My latest pick is the Whole Wheat Quesadilla.
This is what Wikipedia says “A quesadilla is a flour tortilla or a corn tortilla filled with a savory mixture containing cheese, other ingredients, and/or vegetables, then folded in half to form a half-moon shape”.
The curiosity starts with its name. It is pronounced as ‘cay-suh-dee-yuh ‘ with both the l’s silent. The tortillas (again pronounced ‘tor-tee-ya’) can be made with any flour (wheat or corn). You can choose to add any number of veggies and/or beans. To top it off, add cheese or paneer. Wow! How creative can it get?
I chose to make mine with regular rotis as tortillas (with whole wheat flour) and vegetables and cheese for the filling.
It’s already more than a week, the quesadillas have been going into their lunch boxes and they have asked me to make it for the next week too. I’m sure it’s a winner with my D&D. But if I follow their orders, they are sure to get bored with it soon. I have decided to make it as rare as possible so that this doesn’t happen.
For the dough
Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Water – as required
Oil – 2 teaspoons
For the filling
Onions – 1 small (finely chopped)
Tomato – 1 medium (finely chopped)
Capsicum – 1 cup (finely chopped)
Carrot – 1 cup (finely chopped)
Cheese – 2 teaspoons (grated)
Salt – to taste
Oil – as required
Mix the flour, oil and salt. Add water gradually and make soft, non-sticky dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
Sauté the vegetables with salt on a high flame (cooking veggies on an open pan on a high flame tends to retain their colour and crunch). You can choose to add your favourite spices, or if you want to stay true to the dish’s Mexican roots, add oregano and chilli flakes saved from your previous pizza order.
Take lemon sized balls from the dough and roll them out into thin rotis. Heat a non-stick pan / iron skillet. Toss the roti onto the hot pan and wait until bubbles appear on top. Turn the roti with hands/spatula and wait till the other side gets light brown spots. Now the roti is half done, if you want to make it puffy (like how I do), quickly toss it onto an open (high) flame and wait till it puffs up. Otherwise you can choose to smear some oil and continue cooking the roti on tawa till it gets golden brown spots. Now your tortilla is ready.
Keep the skillet with the prepared tortilla on a low flame and spread out the grated cheese on it. Wait for a few seconds until the cheese melts. Spread the prepared filling onto one half of the tortilla and fold it. Keep a heavy mug on top and roast it till crisp ensuring that the flame is low all through. Turn it gently and let the other side get crisp in the same way. Your quesadilla is ready! Cut it to your desired shape and am sure kids will drool over it.
Know Your Ingredient
Whole wheat flour is the powdered form of the whole grain of wheat. The term ‘whole’ means that the complete grain including the germ, bran and endosperm are included so that the nutrients are intact even after the process of grinding it into flour. On the other hand, in refined flours only the endosperm is used and that may also be bleached to attain a lighter shade. This is the flour normally used in breads, cakes and various other dishes. Using whole wheat makes a lot more sense (at least to me!) because of its nutritional advantage. It is a rich source of magnesium and various other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in insoluble fibre making it a healthier choice for people who keep a watch on their diet.
Roti is a staple food in most Indian homes. So it is best to buy the whole grain and grind it in a nearby flour mill. If you don’t have access to any flour mills like here in India, go ahead and buy whole wheat flour off the shelf. Just make sure it says 100% whole wheat (or some other term which means the same). Check the ingredient list to see if it contains whole wheat as the main ingredient. Never go by any other fancy term like stone-ground, enriched etc.
|Storage||Whole wheat flour can be stored in a clean and dry place for about a couple of months. It gets rancid quickly. If you need to store it for a longer time, keep in airtight packs and refrigerate or freeze up to a year.|
|Usage||Always keep it moisture free.|
|Tips||While making healthy choices for your family, replace or combine refined/all purpose flour with whole wheat flour in your recipes. Just ensure that you add more water and knead the dough for a longer time to make the dough nice, soft and light.|