Of two-year-olds, spanners and zucchinis!

Another guest post today – from my cousin Chandrika. I love how this blog is connecting people, food and stories around the world! Chandri (one of my “kid cousins” then is a Prof at the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, a super cook and a wonderful mom!)
Thanks, Chandri, for a lovely and unusual recipe.
Over to Chandrika:
– – –
My husband Eric and I are very much do it yourself, and if you don’t know how, figure it out  kind of people.  When I got pregnant three years ago, we decided that irrespective of whether the kid was a boy or a girl, we would try to inculcate this do-it-yourself philosophy in him or her…that he or she would grow up with a wrench in one hand, and a spatula in the other.  Well, so far, we have succeeded. Eric loves to fix stuff – cars, bikes, anything, really, and we both really, really love to cook. I’m not great at fixing stuff, but am all for trying.  And  Rehaan, our now two-year old little monkey, loves hanging out with us when we do what we love the most – be it in the kitchen or around various bike tools and parts.  His favorite “toy” in the world right now is the blender, and he already knows far more than his mother probably ever will about what to do with various tools. And I’m not talking about simple things like spanners and screwdrivers.
Rehaan and I have already spent countless hours in the kitchen – me in various stages of food prep, and him, usually sitting on one of the kitchen counters playing with the blender. He’s definitely my son on one particular count – he loves food when it’s at its freshest – straight out of the cooking utensil on the stove. Eric and I like to think that we have already transmitted our love of good food to him… he loves things I don’t think most two year olds would. Okra, for example, is his absolute favorite. Or perhaps it has absolutely nothing to do with us, and it’s all entirely him. But heck, allow a new parent some pride! J Zucchini is another veggie he loves (yay!!) and this is a recipe I came up with a few months ago.  The first time I made it, he was about 18 months old, and he ate two entire zucchs! So here goes…
Stuffed Zucchini
Little zucchinis – 8
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Garlic – 4-5 cloves, finely chopped
Peanuts – 3/4 cup,  roasted and roughly ground
Fresh paneer – half to 3/4 cup, crumbled
Dhania powder – 1 tsp
Jeera powder – 1 tsp
Saunf powder – 1/2 to 1 tsp
Chaat masala – 1 tsp (optional)
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Olive oil for sautéing – 2-3 tbsp.
Salt to taste
Cheese of your choice for topping – 1/4 cup. I use parmesan
Cut the zucchini length-wise. Scoop out the insides, leaving two boats from each zucch, with walls about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle a little salt into the boats to season them a bit.  Finely dice up the insides that you scooped out.  Heat the oil and sauté the onion till translucent. Add the chopped garlic, sauté for an additional minute. Add the chopped zucchini insides and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.  Next, add the ground peanuts, paneer, ground spice powders and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the coriander leaves and turn off heat. When this mixture is cool, scoop it into the zucchini boats.  Top with cheese and bake at 325 for about half an hour. The zucchini should be soft, but still maintain its shape.  Allow it to cool if you don’t have a little monkey tugging at your legs wanting an immediate taste!