Returning EMpower students: Chop, Slice, Crush, Boil and Fry to tackle Malnutrition.

Oleh: I Gede Sudarma, EMpower Program Coordinator

EMpower Year 3 started on Tuesday, Juli 25th 2017, with many exciting lessons planned for our high school students this year, di 2 separate groups: the returning students who had many comprehensive extra curricula courses from July 2015 Juni 2017, and classes 1 dan 2 of junior high school who start their first EMpower classes this month.  This field report is about our returning students who started last week with a review of the comprehensive nutrition classes they had for 3 months in 2015. Sekarang, in the second week, students learn about healthy cooking.

In this cooking class, the students learn about three kinds of cooking such as red beans with Betutu spices, sweet potato patty and Banana Pancake with coconut. In this class, students learn about healthy cooking in order for them to understand and implement at home and teach their family and community. This lesson is also as one of our strategies for tackling malnutrition issues in their village.

These cooking classes are conducted by Jeffrey Whykes, our volunteer Australian chef. We held the first cooking classes on Tuesday, 1st August for Manikaji School and today, August 3rd for Jatituhu School. We have two more cooking classes on Wednesday August 9th for Cegi, Bunga and Pengalusan Schools and Friday August 11 for Darmaji students.

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The cooking class was opened by Karina Suryawinata, EBPP nutritionist and Health Team Leader, explaining the nutritional value of each ingredient, followed by Komang Kurniawan, EBPP Team Leader, explaining the history of Ayam Betutu, a unique Balinese dish. Jeffrey then instructed the students on chopping the sweet potato and greens for the first dish, Sweet Potato Patty, which were placed in separate pans to steam and boil respectively. While waiting for them to cook, students prepared the second dish: bed beans with Betutu spices.

For this dish, the students chopped and pounded the ingredients of ginger, galangal, shallot, garlic, turmeric, candle nut, and chilli with the pestle and mortar after Jeffrey and Karina explained why we treat the ingredients differently, and not discarding the skin of some because many nutrition are in the skin. The crushed ingredients were put in the pot and sautéed for about five minutes. After the aroma came out, the students put the chopped onion, green bean, squash, red bean, fresh coconut water, salt and pepper and the water from blanching the green vegetable into the betutu pot. We needed to wait about 45 minutes until it was ready to be served.

The steamed sweet potato was ready to be prepared into patties!. Pertama, the students mashed the sweet potato and shredded the carrot, then mixed them with shallot, garlic, egg, and salt. Then they made 2 patties each and fried them. The last dish was the dessert: Banana pancake with coconut. It was the easiest dish – and no flour used! The student mashed the banana, shredded the green mango, apple and coconut then mixed them. Then, they formed patties, but smaller, and fried them.

As the last banana and coconut pancake was cooked, the red bean with Betutu was also ready. The students looked hungry and enthusiastic to try their healthy and nutritious cooking. It was the best part of the cooking class, when a smile of satisfaction was arose on their faces. The students enjoyed their cooking and we finished the lesson with a full tummy.

“This cooking class has brought a glimpse of hope for the students to be able to adapt healthy eating habits. I am very delighted to see them having fun whilst learning at the same time. The students’ dietary pattern may differ from the recommended guideline due to lack of knowledge and food availability in the village. Sadly, their typical diet consists mainly of carbohydrate and scarce consumption of protein, vitamins and minerals is very common. Therefore, the cooking lesson aims to change their perception about food preparation and enhance their knowledge about various food recipes as well as food processing.” said Karina Suryawinata, EBPP Ahli Gizi.

I should close by pointing out that the cooking class is one of the additional lessons incorporated in the EMpower Program because it was requested by the students. We used the ingredients they usually use for cooking so they can implement it at home. Through these classes, we hope the students understand how to combine and treat many ingredients for cooking in order to make delicious and healthy food for themselves and their families. As explained above, hopefully they could influence their family and community and change their habit to  healthy diet in order to tackle child malnutrition issues in their village.

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