Monday, May 12, 2014

Bread Pulav or Pau(n)rutir Pulao -- for school lunch

Many of you send me mails asking about ideas on snack and lunchboxes for kids. I had started a blog last year where I could record the lunch I send for Big Sis but after few weak attempts, I have now realized that I did not post many lunchbox recipes there. Now there are multiple reasons for this and I will just list the general points about a school lunch in our home:

1. Though I try to send a wholesome lunch from home on most days, they are not spectacular by any means. In the morning rush, while I am warming and packing the thermos, I fail to take a pic of the said lunch, even if it is a phone pic. So on most days there is no living proof of the packed lunch.

2. The lunch I send is kind of repetitive. As in, it repeats every week or so. Big Sis wouldn't want to see any surprises at lunch. She is not the kind.
A general idea of  the lunches that I pack for the 10 year old is -- Pasta tossed with veggies and store bought sauce, pasta with veggies and olive oil, Upma, Leftover rice that has been stir fried and a side of yogurt, Stir fried Noodles, occasionally a Nutella sandwich, sometimes paratha and at times mini wontons or ravioli from Costco.

3. The 10 yr old also has a snack time sometime around 10 or 11 and for that I send one of these -- usually fruits(banana or berries), cheese and crackers, granola bar and sometimes store bought yogurt cups.

4. I usually have the lunch ready in portions the night before. The next morning all I have to do is heat and pack the thermos.

5. At least once or twice a week, Big Sis eats lunch offered by the school cafeteria. The menu is sent out at the beginning of the month and she picks days on which she thinks the food will be to her liking. The main complaint about the school food I have heard from her is that the portion is too less. I have not seen it and from the sound of it, it does look wholesome and appetizing (barring certain days). It might be a portion control thing which the cafeteria is trying to impose, which is not all that bad, but then again I cannot be sure unless I have seen the food.

This week since we had too many loaves of bread in the pantry, I made this bread pulao for school lunch. My Mother, the avid snack and tiffin maker, would make this bread pualo very often. The husband-man has been so enamored by the idea after my Mother taught him, that he makes it often for weekend. His version has sausages and eggs and is very filling.Usually we have it for weekend brunch but with the overload of bread, this pulao seemed like the right thing to do for school lunch last week.

Big Sis's school has something called the "Battle of the Books" for which they have been reading a variety of books suggested and loaned by the teachers. I have not had a chance to read them and so she very kindly reviewed few of those books in my Kids' blog.If you are looking for book suggestions for 9-11 year olds, check them out. She promises to add more books to that list in the next post.

Do you have any book suggestions for 9-11 year olds ? Please add your suggestions to the list. Summer vacations are yet to happen here.

Bread Pulao -- for the lunchbox

Warm six slices of bread lightly. Then cut each bread slice in cubes. I leave the crust on and use whole wheat bread.

Heat Olive Oil or any Vegetable oil.

Flavor the oil with a clove of garlic finely minced

Then add some finely chopped onion and saute till onion is soft and translucent.

While onion is frying, microwave a bowl of mixed vegetables. I use a mix of carrots, corn and green beans. You can use any vegetable you fancy.

Add the partly cooked veggies to the frying pan and saute for few more minutes

Now here is the point where you go out on a limb and add any ONE of this to the frying pan

1. You can add a tsp of soy sauce and 2-3 tbsp of Ketchup

2. You can add some tomato-basil sauce from a jar(around 3 tbsp)

3. You can add some red chilli powder and dhaniya-pudina chutney (or green sandwich chutney)

After you have added the base sauce, let the vegetables cook

Once the vegetables are done, add the bread pieces and toss quickly with the vegetables and sauce.

Add salt and some black pepper powder to taste. Go easy on the salt if you are adding cheese later

Now since I use whole wheat bread which doesn't get soggy, I drizzle about 2 tbsp of milk on the bread at this point. This helps the bread to soften a little. If you see bread pieces are coarse, you can also drizzle a little olive oil on them.

Once I have tasted and checked to see everything is right, I add some parmesan and give the bread and veggies a last toss.

On cooling, I pack it in portions for lunch next day.

To add some protein to this dish, add a chopped boiled egg OR chopped sausages OR some boiled black eyed peas OR fried peanuts


  1. Hi Sandeepa , the idea of adding boiled egg and parmesan cheese to bread pulao is interesting. Packing lunch for growing kids is always a challenge for a Mom. You can also try packing idlis for a change, if Big S likes. In fact idli sandwiches with chutney as well as jam fillings go well in lunch boxes. The scope of variations are plenty. you can toss the mini idlis with veggies of choice with some chutney or sauce liked by kids. In fact like bread pulao you can improve the protein quotient by adding dhokla cubes or even bong dhoka cubes and a sprinkle of parmesan to top it. Try it and let me know if it went off well with family

    1. I am the idli lover in the family. Unfortunately BS does not like Idli that much. I mean she will eat it if little other choice. I love the idli fry too.

  2. hi sandeepa-my mom used to grind the slices to coarse tasted yummy.brought back fond memories.

  3. My MIL does a similar thing but only green bell peppers and onions cut into big chunks like chili chicken. She uses soy sauce and tomato ketchup combo. I have to start making it because I sometimes throw away stale breads. :( Adding sausage is a great idea.

  4. Lovely recipe.. jibhe jol ese gelo.. but alas, I must diet and stay away from all fun things like bread and rice :(

    On books for BS - sending you a couple of links (you may already know of these) -



  5. PS one more link for children's books -

  6. This reminds me of kedgeree.

  7. Tried it for breakfast today. It was yummmmyyyyyyy!!!

  8. What a tasty, appetizing healthy recipespecial , I love it too!


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