Entries in Cooking with Children (5)


Recipe for Bee-Bim Bop

Below is my copyrighted recipe for Bee-bim Bop. I hope that you will use it as a guide to understand the detail that goes into creating a recipe that can be used as a tool when cooking with children. I encourage you to play with the recipe and make it with a co-teacher or another faculty member before you prepare it with young children. Happy Cooking!

Bee-Bim Bop
Rice Topped with Stir-fry Carrots and 
Optional Egg Pancake
Season: Summer
Portion Size: ¼ Cup Brown Rice with ¼ Cup Stir-Fry Carrots
Yield: 20 servings
Book 1: Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park
Book 2: The Giant Carrot by Jan Peck


Bee-Bim bop is a fun word phrase. The phrase itself tells us the story of a cultural dish that originates in Korea. When we prepare food with children we can make the process concrete with the addition of storytelling. I would encourage you to root the children in our culturally rich farming communities in California; I would recommend that you pair the stir-fry with Massa Organic Brown Rice, and the story of a farm family.

Massa Organic Brown Rice 2 #
Water 2 cups for every one cup of rice
Sea Salt 1 pinch

Optional Egg Pancake
Olive oil, pure 5 teaspoons, 1 t per pancake
Eggs, large 10 each
Sea Salt 1 pinch

Stir-Fry Carrots
Carrots 5 to 10+ depending upon size
Green onions (scallions) 4 each
Garlic 4 each peeled
Olive oil, pure 2 tablespoons
Tamari (wheat free) ¼ cup (or to taste)

Equipment: Sieve, large bowl, stock pot (or rice cooker), 2 cup measuring cup, tub & scrub brushes, colander, paring knife, 8 inch chef knife, small bowl, medium size bowl, fork, no-stick 8 inch omelet pan, heat resistant spatula, measuring spoons, 2 cutting boards (one for produce and one for egg pancakes), small scissors for children, garlic press, wok, large slotted spoon, serving bowls for: brown rice, carrot stir-fry and optional egg pancake, and a serving utensil for each bowl.

For the Rice
1. Measure the rice keeping track of the total number of cups in the two pound bag; place in the large bowl.
2. Add cold water to the bowl to just cover the rice. Using the palm of your hand, and those of the children, wash the rice in the large bowl. Drain the water from the bowl using the sieve. Place washed rice in the stock pot.
3. Add to the stock pot two cups of cold water for every cup of rice.
4. Add the pinch of salt and place the stock pot on the stove.
5. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 50 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
6. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.
7. Place the cooked Massa organic brown rice in a serving bowl; fluffing the rice with a large spoon as you do this.

For the optional egg pancake
1. Break eggs into bowl. Many children enjoy doing the egg cracking. It is wonderful to listen to the egg as you gently tap it on the table, insert your thumb into the crack and pull the shell apart. Catch the egg into a small bowl, removing any shell bits and then add the eggs, one by one to the medium sized bowl.
2. Whisk the eggs with the fork. Children can hold the bowl for each other at the preschool age. Making this a collaborative effort: one child whisking with the fork as the next child holds the bowl, and so on until each child has had the opportunity to whisk the egg mixture.
3. Place the non-stick pan over medium heat. When the pan is quite warm pour the 1 teaspoon of oil into the pan, swirling the pan to coat the entire bottom of the pan.
4. Add one fifth of the egg mixture to the hot oiled pan. Rotate the omelet pan to coat the bottom evenly with the egg mixture.
5. Cook for about one minute. Use the spatula to flip the egg over and cook the other side for about one minute or until done.
6. Slide out the egg pancake onto a cutting board to cool.
7. Continue process until all five egg pancakes are cooked.
8. Stack-up the five egg pancakes on top of each other. Roll the stack and cut the roll into ¼ to ½ inch ribbons. Open them up and place in a serving bowl.

For the Stir-Fry Carrots
1. Have the children wash the carrots and green onions in the tub with brushes, placing the washed carrots and green onions into the colander to drain.
2. With the paring knife, top and tail the carrots. Cut the carrot in half lengthwise, and slice into half-moons. You can work closely with preschoolers helping them to slice the carrots into half-moons if you believe in yourself and the children—if not, this is an adult only job.
3. Have the children use scissors to cut the tops of the green onions into small rounds. Teachers should slice into rounds the white portion of the green onion with the paring knife.
4. Peel the garlic, and press with a garlic press.
5. Place the wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot add the pure olive oil; swirl to cover the bottom of the wok.
6. Add the carrots and turn the heat down to medium, stirring constantly as you cook the carrots. When the carrots are almost done—which depends on how crunchy you want them to be—you will add the green onions and the garlic. I’m having you add this at the end to avoid burning the garlic and onions. (If the garlic is burned it will make the stir-fry carrots bitter.) Stir to combine. Immediately add the tamari, simmer for about one minute more. Remove from heat and place in the serving bowl.

When ready to serve
1. Place the brown rice into soup bowls, top with carrots and optional egg pancakes. You could do this as a garnish bar allowing the children to add the toppings to their own rice.
2. Gobble it up!


Katrina’s Recipe Considerations

Think Healthy!
What is healthy anyway? I believe foods that are nutrient-dense are healthy. What are nutrient-dense foods? I think of them as foods that are found in the form closest to the way we would find them in the farmers fields and orchards.
• Nutrient-dense foods are those that have a high nutrient/calorie ratio – foods which contain the largest amount of nutrients with the least amount of calories.
• Nutrient-dense foods to encourage are fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, legumes (beans) & whole grains.

I hear all the time, from teachers and families that it is impossible to tell what a whole grain is. Let me answer this question:
• A whole grain consists of the entire grain seed normally called the kernel. The kernel is composed of the bran, the germ and the endosperm.

The next question I hear is how can I tell if it is a whole grain when I read the food label? Let’s answer that question:
• On the list of ingredients the word “whole” or “whole grain” must appear before the grain ingredient’s name. The whole grain must be the first ingredient listed to qualify as a whole grain food source.

A list of whole grains:
Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn including whole cornmeal & popcorn, Millet, Oats including oatmeal, Quinoa, Rice including brown, wild and colored, Rye, Sorghum (also called milo), Teff, Treacle, Wheat including varieties such as spelt, emmer, faro, einkorn, Kamut, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheat berries


Linking the Plants to the Recipes in the Integrated Food Curriculum

As a chef and an educator I always ask myself, when creating an original recipe, who does this recipe represent? This question originates in my curiosity to understand the cultural communities of the school I am working with. For example, at the school where I currently work, 16 languages are spoken. The children and their families, together with the faculty, have different cultural foods and food preparation traditions that represent the communities from which they originate. Together with the children, families, and faculty we are creating a new cultural community that will represent who we are as a school food community.

Below I have shared one season’s recipes/plant dyad.

1. Lettuces:  Summer Salad with Ranch Dressing two ways: Yogurt Base & Soy Base (vegan)
2. Carrots:  Bee-Bim Bop (rice topped with stir-fry carrots and optional egg pancake)
3. Squash, Zucchini:  Three Sisters Summer Soup


One School’s Cooking Question Responses

When thinking about hands-on cooking with the children, tell me a little bit about

Which cooking projects have been successful?
• Any projects which involve a group of children preparing the meal in a “real family like process”.
• Pancakes, salad bar, stir fry
• Tortilla making, bread making, pizza, sushi making, pretzels, lots and lots of cooking projects
• Nothing listed
• All of our “Bar” projects, see above
• For the 2’s and 3’s the simpler the better. 3-4 steps! We’ve made grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit blender smoothies, salad bar. Pumpkin pie was a challenge, but yummy!
• Group Discussion 10/15: banana pancakes, sushi, hummus, salad bar, taco bar, pasta bar, pizza, potatoes, stir fry, handmade tortillas, muffins, cornbread, soups

Which cooking projects have not worked at all?
• Where children are given individual cards to make their own meal, rather than as a group
• “They all seem to work out”
• “Can’t think of ones that didn’t work”
• Nothing listed
• Friendship vegetable soup, children never seem to eat it
• Shaking cream into butter was really hard. Also trying to make ice cream was not fun!

Which cooking projects do you never tire of preparing?
• Pancakes, waffles, taco bar, salad bar, pasta bar, sandwich making, nacho bar
• I love cooking in general
• Pizza, tortilla, sushi, bread
• Pumpkin bread, corn muffins, apple pie
• Salad bars, especially when we have a bounty to harvest from garden
• Ironed sandwiches (grilled cheese), fruit smoothies, salad bar, pancakes are fun!

What concerns do you have about food allergies in your program?
• Gluten, dairy allergies. We have chosen to make all our snacks gluten and dairy free which can be challenging but also exciting to expand our knowledge about foods and the variety of healthy alternatives.
• Eggs, nuts
• Gluten and dairy free this year
• This year not many…no gluten or egg allergies hurrah!
• Nuts, eggs
• It’s difficult! You never want to have a child excluded so we always try to have alternative ingredients so they can still do the project!


How to Begin Creating Cooking Links in an Integrated Food Curriculum

When planning any hands-on cooking for young learners I always begin with a set of questions. Below is the set I have asked over and over again, of myself, my colleagues, and educators and administrators in programs that have asked me to create curriculum for them. The answers to these questions help me to think about what cooking projects might work best meeting the faculty where they are in their own cooking skills.

When thinking about hands-on cooking with the children,
tell me a little bit about…
  • Which cooking projects have been successful?
  • Which cooking projects have not worked at all?
  • Which cooking projects do you never tire of preparing?
  • What concerns do you have about food allergies in your program?