For Mums

Annabel Karmel: Going Local

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Ask any mother about children’s recipes, and the name “Annabel Karmel” will inevitably come up. Her recipes feature delicious and nutritious foods that set babies and toddlers of on the right path towards healthy eating.

Another way families can eat well is by eating local, seasonal produce (also known as going “locavore“). Eating local produce means the fruit or vegetable has traveled less distance, so it’s fresh. The shorter time span between harvest and consumption helps local produce retain more nutrients than their imported counterparts. Eating local, seasonal produce is also more economical and environmentally-friendly.

Here we’ve adapted 5 Annabel Karmel’s recipes by using some ingredients you can easily find at your local pasar tani or kedai runcit.

Krispie Fish Fingers

Photo Credit: Annabel Karmel

Ikan kurau (Malay) or ngor hu (Hokkien) with its delicate flavour makes it very palatable to little kids. Its firm flesh means you can easily fry it without breaking. Turmeric adds a nice golden colour and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients (4 portions)

  • 45g Rice Krispies
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 225g skinless, boneless ikan kurau , cut into little finger-sized strips
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper (for babies over 12 months old)


  1. Blitz Rice Krispies, turmeric, onion powder, salt and pepper in a food processor to form fine crumbs.
  2. Transfer to a large plate.
  3. Beat the egg in a bowl.
  4. Place the flour in a separate plate.
  5. Toss fish pieces in the flour, dip them in the egg, then coat them in the Krispie coating.
  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the fish fingers for 1.5-2 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through.
  7. Cool slightly before serving.

Parmesan Roasted Ubi Keledek Wedges

Photo Credit: Annabel Karmel

Which kid doesn’t love chippies? Plus, Ubi keledek or sweet potato is a good source of fibre, iron, calcium, B vitamins and beta carotene.

Ingredients (4 Portions)

  • 800g washed ubi keledek, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • a little salt and pepper (for babies over 12 months old)


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Place the ubi keledek wedges on a baking tray.
  3. Add the oil, paprika, garlic powder and cornflour and toss together.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the wedges over after 15 minutes.
  6. Add the Parmesan and put the tray back in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the cheese has melted.


Green Macaroni

Photo Credit: Simply Recipes

Serving anything green more often than not will meet with a defiant “NO!” But hardly any child would refuse “mac n cheese”, so this cheesy, iron-rich green macaroni can easily win a fussy eater over. Feeling adventurous? Try using bayam merah instead to make pink macaroni.

Ingredients (4 Portions)

  • 130g macaroni
  • 15g butter
  • 15g plain flour
  • 300ml milk, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 50g grated mature Cheddar cheese
  • 50g fresh bayam leaves, stems removed and finely chopped


  1. Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions, then drain.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  3. Add the flour and stir over the heat for 1 minute, then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until you have a smooth, thick sauce.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the mustard, cheese and bayam and stir until the cheese has melted.
  5. Add the cooked macaroni and stir until heated through.


Sesame-coated Tenggiri

Photo Credit: Recipetineats

Ikan Tenggiri (Malay) or chuk kau (Cantonese) has a great flavour. The firm flesh and chunky bones also makes it easy to de-bone for your little one.

Ingredients (4 Portions)

  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • tenggiri fillets, skin and bones removed, then cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Place the ginger, soya sauce and sweet chili sauce in a bowl.
  3. Add the tenggiri chunks, coat them in the marinade and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the marinated fish pieces on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Roast for 7 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through.


Kai Lan and Root Veg Mash

Photo Credit: SuperValu

Kai lan, or Chinese broccoli, together with broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts are known as cruciferous vegetables. They are rich in fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Daikon, or white radish, is a great substitute for imported (and often sweet) root vegetables like parsnip or swede.

Ingredient (4 Portions)

  1. 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  2. 100g onions, chopped
  3. 150g carrots, peeled and diced
  4. 200g potato, peeled and diced
  5. 30g celery, finely chopped
  6. 50g daikon, peeled and diced
  7. 350ml unsalted vegetable stock
  8. 40g kai lan leaves, stems removed and finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add onion, carrot, potato, celery and daikon.
  2. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until softened, then add the stock.
  3. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the kai lan and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and mash it.

Happy cooking!

Image Credit: Jason Briscoe 

Alena is a coffee-guzzling mother of two living in Queensland, Australia. Formerly working in sales and marketing, she is now a stay-at-home mum trying to balance living a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle with her love for travel, good food and online shopping.