Kids in the Kitchen: Thoughts Over Chai

Today my guest in the Kids in the Kitchen series (where we meet parents and children who bond, have fun and make life long memories in their kitchens) is Tasneem and her little boy, Ammar.

A tea addict and a mum, Tasneem decided to leave the comfort of the corporate world to start a family (She worked in the finance industry in her past life). She says, “the luxury of many random hugs and kisses is far more valuable to me than the convenience of having a fixed income at every month end or taking my professional career to soaring heights. However, don’t write me off as impassionate, non-dreamer!” And we agree!!

The recipes on her blog; Thoughts Over Chai, draw immense cultural influences from the cities she has lived in (Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bombay and now Dubai). Keeping her company in this journey is her little one. Together, they are making beautiful memories over home cooked meals.

Let’s say hi to Tasneem and Ammar!

Please tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Tasneem and I am a wife, mother, a former accountant and food blogger living in mesmerising Dubai. I have strong Indian roots that inspire a lot of my daily cooking that are straight-forward and prepared with freshest ingredients. I also love to accumulate recipes from all over the world, tweak a bit and endeavor in my own pantry that my family can gather and enjoy. If I am not cooking in my kitchen, I love exploring dainty places which is why you’ll find my little one and me go on small walks around the city to find something we didn’t see before or take impromptu train, bus, tram or abra (traditional boat) rides in Dubai.

Please tell us a little about your little one?

Ammar, very fondly known an Little A on my blog is four years old and is a typical boy running around in the house, screaming and scattering his cars everywhere if he isn’t riding a bicycle in the park. He is lately obsessed with trains (boys and wheels have a separate theory) and also smelling everything he eats! He is now at an age where he is always curious to find out why things happen in a particular way. You won’t believe the amount of stories I frame in a day!

Does you child “cook” with you? How do you involve your child in the kitchen/during meal times/ grocery shopping?

Honestly, getting Little A to involve in the kitchen came with a flow as he grew up. At 2 years, when he was identifying fruits and vegetables from a book, I’d take him down in a grocery store to make it a practical learning which steadily lead to a point now where I read from a list and he fills up the basket. At home, I like to keep cooking basic for his age and get paranoid if he is too close to a stove or an oven but will eventually change with age. He loves baking, muffins being his favorite among other activities like topping a pizza, rolling a chapati (although not a perfect round), washing vegetables, plucking herbs, mashing bananas/potatoes and being in-charge of our meal plans although we keep our time limited in the kitchen. He is such a blessing in our lives! Just before the meal time, he’ll stand at the door and ask for plates and coasters to take to the dining table and back making my life so much more delightful. We have our ups and downs too when days are a bit moody, yet it doesn’t stop us from picking up from where we left. And I always believe children are very flexible and the best learners if you are polite to them. So start young, make all that difference and keep it enjoyable.

How do you think his getting involved in either or all of the above has altered his food habits?

I really wouldn’t know how to answer that because luckily for me Little A has always been a keen eater (*touchwood*). He is more brave in trying out a new food/cuisine that I ever am, however, he is more than happy to repeat a dish/item that he was engaged in. In fact. he has encouraged me to include oats in my breakfast or have boiled beans which I would always run away from earlier. The roles have been reversed, you see? I am also very proud to see him make smart choices and respond so cleverly when we are making weekly snack-box menus for his nursery.

How do you deal with mess/chaos that comes with him being in the kitchen? More importantly how do you maintain your sanity?

Earlier, I’d hurry up and keep cleaning after my son which only left me irked and him disinterested. When there are tiny ones in the kitchen it is best to accept messy counters and floors without getting unreasonably demented about it; and further more things intermittently may not go as expected. So, planning plays a vital role. I like to arrange before we start cooking and in the end tidy up together as it is always a good idea to have a helping hand. We keep bowls/plates nearby to collect the trash as we go and divide our work which sometimes work and frankly sometimes don’t, although I’ve been hugely grateful when it does. That said, I have immense respect for parents who have more than 1 child to assist them in the kitchen but still somehow are balanced and here I have to deal with just one! 🙂 On a bright side, we learn multiple skills and also get to spend a lot of time together, share conversations and laugh at silly jokes.

Would you like to share any recipe that you make together?


Truffles or date bites are favorite in this house because it is so much fun to roll them into energy balls that we can pop in anytime of the day and they also keep little ones full and nourished during the school hours.

Get the entire recipe here: Date and Almond Energy Bites.

Thank you Tasneem for dropping by with Ammar. Though I keep “meeting” you and Ammar on the blog, I loved saying hi to Amaar at Farzi the other day!

Do you cook with your kids? Did you enjoy meeting Tasneem and her cute little boy? I’d love to hear.

Meet the other parents who have visited us in the past here.

Images: The pictures in the post have been shared by Tasneem and cannot be reused without her permission. If you like any of the pictures on this blog and would like to use those please write to me. I put in hours of work behind each post and would love to share it with you but it would hurt me if use those without my permission. Just ask! 

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