Cooking with Toddlers: Radish Top and Peanut Wontons

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It starts with a simple phone call. “Hey honey, we’re out of ( insert missing grocery item). Could you stop by on your way home and pick it up? ” My husband happily obliges and upon returning home, I notice that he is not carrying the one item I’d requested but is instead holding a large brown bag, which from the looks of it, appears to be jam packed with goodies from none other than Trader Joe’s. We live in Southern California, an abundant food mecca and are lucky enough to get nearly all our food from local farmers via our outdoor markets and Coop. But we all have our vices, and my husband has a weakness for Trader Joe’s danish pancakes, pizza’s, and most recently wontons. ( And really, can I blame him? Those Danish Pancakes are amazing albeit a little sketchy when it comes to nutritional value). It was these Wonton’s that upon returning from a walk, was horrified to find both my husband and 2 year old double fisting them into their mouths as if they were the very last Wonton’s on earth. While making an effort to conceal my disappointment at the not-so-healthy lunch my family was pounding down with gusto , I made a mental note that my not-so-baby baby apparently loves Wonton’s which are incredibly easy to make, deliciously fun for little hands, and the perfect vehicle for so many different kinds of veggies. Radish tops aren’t a vegetable most american’s eat and its certainly not something you would imagine a toddler liking but it seems a crime to waste a perfectly delicious and magnificently healthy green for no good reason. That being said, radish tops are a leafy green that taste like a leafy green and for that reason we added peanuts to this dish; to include a fatty, nutty flavor and disguise the vegetables a bit. I think between the peanuts and tamari, my little man hardly noticed that he was consuming a powerhouse of dark green vegetables and that’s something I’m totally OK with. Greens

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In addition to the radish tops, our wontons included peas, baby spinach, chard and carrots. Chard is very earthy, so if you’re trying to get your little one to eat more vegetable, I’d suggest omitting the chard and replacing it with a milder leafy green. Our local store only carried the 3 X 3 wonton wrappers, which is the perfect size for toddlers. However, I’ve seen them come in larger sizes which would work well too but you’d need to increase the ingredient amounts accordingly. Ingredients:

  • 25 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1/2 a cup of diced baby spinach
  • 1/2 a cup of diced radish tops
  • 1/2 a cup of diced chard
  • 1/2 a cup of peanuts, grounded down semi-finely
  • 1/4 cup shelled peas
  • 1 medium grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon tamari ( soy sauce will do if tamari isn’t available)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

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IMG_7919 Directions

  • Start out by chopping all the vegetables finely, grating the carrot on a micro-plane grater, and shelling the peas.
  • Next,  break down the peanuts into small chunks. We used a mortal and pestle, but you could also just have your toddler beat the heck out of them in a plastic zip lock bag.
  • Place the vegetables and peanuts in a Wok ( if you don’t have a Wok any pan will do) on medium high with sesame oil and tamari. Cook for about 5 minutes until the greens are vibrant.

IMG_7968 After the vegetable and peanut mix is done sauteing in the Wok its wonton wrapping time. This kept Fig’s attention for a solid 20 minutes. Eventually we realized that our wonton’s were be massacred beyond recognition and we set up him with several sheets of his own to minimize the destruction. Either way, this activity was a total win and so much fun for him.

  • In a wonton sheet put a heaping tablespoon of vegetable mix in. Dab your fingers in some water and wet all sides of the wonton wrapper and fold together in a purse like shape.

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  • Next the Wonton’s need to be steamed. Since we don’t own a bamboo steamer, we used a regular pot with a vegetable steamer insert and lined it with chard to prevent the wonton sticking to the metal.
  • Once the pot is steaming, line the pot with Wonton’s and cook for about 6 minutes ensuring the wonton’s do not touch each other.

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  • Once cooked, serve with Tamari sauce and enjoy!

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