Six Parents Share Their Favorite Dishes to Spark Your Culinary Creativity, Ranging from Filipino Arroz Caldo to South African Pampoenkoekies
For busy parents, falling into the routine of packing the same old snacks in their children’s lunchboxes is a common challenge. However, taking a moment to explore diverse culinary options can not only introduce new flavors but also expose kids to different cultures. In the UAE, a melting pot of nationalities, six parents from Egypt, India, Palestine, South Africa, the Philippines, and the UK are sharing their tried-and-true lunchbox recommendations.
Stuffed Zucchini, Palestine: Dana El Arabeed, a Palestinian fashion and lifestyle content creator in Abu Dhabi, highlights stuffed zucchini as a cherished Middle Eastern dish. Rooted in cultural heritage, it’s a nutritious, portable, and versatile option that can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature – an ideal addition to any lunchbox.
Arroz Caldo, Philippines: Abigail Caidoy, a Filipino mother in Dubai, recommends arroz caldo, a Filipino comfort food that can be prepared in just 15 minutes using a pressure cooker. This heartwarming dish, a blend of rice and quinoa flavored with garlic, ginger, and fish sauce, is perfect for a Thermos food flask and can be customized with various toppings.
Turkey and Cheese Toasted, Egypt: Mostafa Hassan, an Egyptian stay-at-home father with a significant social media following, suggests a turkey and cheese toasted sandwich enriched with Egyptian bechamel. Packed with energy, this dish is layered with cheddar cheese, drops of fresh sour cream, and a hint of cinnamon, all on multigrain bread.
Idli and Southern Delicacies, India: Priyanka Uchil, a marketing professional in Dubai, relies on South Indian staples like steamed idli and mini dosas for her daughter’s lunchbox. These nutritionally rich options are safe to eat at room temperature and cater to considerations like weather and gut health.
Pampoenkoekies (Pumpkin Fritters), South Africa: Kelly Sclanders, a South African living in Dubai, introduces pumpkin fritters as a beloved and easy-to-make South African dish. Light, fluffy, and adaptable, these fritters can be frozen in batches and customized with toppings like honey, cinnamon, or caramel sauce.
Filled Sandwiches, UK: Kaya Scott, a British mom in Dubai, emphasizes the versatility of sandwiches for lunchboxes. Using different bread types and fillings like tuna mayo, roast chicken, and pesto with mozzarella, sandwiches are an easy-to-hold, visually appealing option suitable for a busy schoolyard lunchtime. Children can enjoy variations ranging from leftover chicken schnitzel to falafel, hummus, and grated carrot wraps, reflecting the diverse culinary influences in the Middle East.