Friday, 3 December 2010

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Meat balls Finger Food/Frikadeller/肉丸[ròu wán]


From 8 months according to Danish authorities, but I prefer to introduce it later around 10 months as finger food, as there are so many other whole food that I would like to introduce, and meatballs go down in priority list.

Meat balls (easy recipe)

Ingredients:
- 500g minced beef or pork or chicken
- 1 onion chopped
- 5-8 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 big bowl or 300g of frozen green peas
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup wheat germ or oatmeal (optional)
- Pinch of Himalayan sea salt (not needed for babies)

Directions:
1. Thaw the frozen green peas under running tap water and puree it using a hand blender or any other blender.

2. Mix together onion, green peas, 2 eggs, wheat germ with olive oil in a mixing bowl.

3. Mix in minced beef/pork/chicken (using a hand-mixer will be easier and faster).

4. Scoop with a teaspoon and form into balls about 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter and place on ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes until golden brown.

OR

Complete recipe:

Ingredients:
- 500g minced pork (min. fat) or beef or chicken
- 2 cooked mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
- 1 cup of pureed green vegetables such as spinach or peas or broccoli
- 4 tablespoons low fat milk
- 1 cup of orange vegetable such as carrots (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 beaten eggs (optional)
- ½ cup wheat germ or wheat bran or oatmeal (optional, it enhances the nutritional value)
- 1 chopped onion (optional)
- ½ cup fresh finely minced parsley (optional, it enhances the flavour)
- 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt (not for babies younger than 1 year old)

Directions:
1. Mix minced beef/pork/chicken with olive oil.

2. Mix cooked mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes with onion, egg, parsley and milk and add minced beef/pork/chicken.

3. Stir in wheat germ/wheat bran and form into balls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

4. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 20 minutes until cooked through.

Tips:
Can also be steamed or boiled or fried (this is less healthy).

Storage:
Refrigerate and use within 24 hours or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Addition information:
Before I moved to Denmark, I was quite naive. I thought that meatballs and dumplings are Asian Chinese food domaints (just like some Danes thought that chocolates are not available in Singapore ha ha)… until I discovered that meatballs are very much part of local Danish food. They call it frikadeller. Then I realized that meatballs and dumplings are very much part of every culture and civilisation... Poland, Russia, etc… as I travelled to Poland and got to know Russians here. They are simply just called by different names and contain locally available ingredients!

The Chinese meatballs are full of seasoning and the Danish meat balls are full of fat. The meatball recipe that I have here is neither Chinese, nor Danish, but I have taken the best of both worlds plus some inspiration from the Super Baby Food book to make healthy, delicious and wholesome meatballs.

Notice that I am trying to “feed the rainbow” here… and included yellow, orange and green vegetable. I have also included carbohydrates from potatoes, and protein from meat. Our body needs both good carbohydrates (the more complex form, the better) and protein to function. Lack of complex carbohydrates leads to lethargy, impatient or irritability and low mood. The meatballs from the first recipe can be considered as a complete food, if used alone as a snack or a main course.

Meat balls are good as finger foods, which are important as tools for practice in self-feeding which will help baby to develop a good pincer grip and to develop a good chewing ability.

This dish is delicious for adults too... you just have to add in Himalayan salt and some ground pepper to season the meat balls.

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