While the kids were excited about Egyptian Day and have probably learnt quite a bit about pharaohs, mummies and ancient Egypt, mums like myself were up to here (picture the chin) having to run around getting a costume ready, find material to help them create their projects (e.g. posters, models...) and cook something for the Egyptian lunch.
Part of the small buffet spread (didn't feel that there was enough food this year)
I actually had a costume tailor-made (for 250rmb!) last year when Baby Girl was in Year 3 so I was keen for Baby Boy to use it. It took some heavy-handed negotiation as he refused to "wear a skirt". I had to throw in a pharaoh's headdress, a jewel-studded stick, a necklace and the threat not to contribute anything to the buffet to get the boy to agree to wearing said costume. It was well-worth it as he looked quite splendid in the set-up and I believe that he had a great time this morning.
The Pharaoh with his Mummy best friend
I also managed to find an ingenious way to avoid having to work on our friend's project. Kids' projects are often parents' projects, who was the school trying to kid? I was inspired while picking up Lego pieces all over the house to suggest to the boy that he make a pyramid (model) out of Lego. I must admit that he surprised me. Took under 2 hours to build a pyramid - all on his own - and even thought of building an entrance leading to a chamber where a body was being mummified...Isn't he clever or what?
Baby Boy's Lego Pyramid
See the cadaver inside?
For the buffet, I wanted to make life easy and just bring fruit. I mean what did the ancient Egyptians eat besides bread, beer and foie gras? But baby Boy objected to it, which was just as well since most of the other parents brought bread or fruit which would make the meal a little too healthy kids being kids. I made 2 portions of Chicken Pilaf this morning and it was one of the few mains on offer which explained why it disappeared within minutes of lunch starting.
Chicken (Lamb/Beef/Shrimp) Pilaf :
500g chicken thigh meat (deboned)
100g plain yoghurt
1½ tbsp curry powder
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion (chopped)
2 bay leaves
5-6 curry leaves
1 small cinnamon bark
4 whole cloves
4 green cardamom seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
2-3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2-3 cups basmati rice (rinsed and drained)
3-5 cups chicken stock
½ tsp salt
sliced almonds (dry roasted)
fresh coriander leaves
fresh mint leaves
Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate them with the curry powder, pepper and yoghurt for a few hours. Only salt as you are cooking the meat.
In a frying pan heat a bit of oil till smoking and brown the chicken pieces. Remove and set aside.
Heat up the vegetable oil in a large pot and fry the onions, bay leaves, curry leaves, whole spices, ground spices and ginger-garlic paste till fragrant.
If using vegetables like peas, long beans or carrots (all chopped, of course), add them now.
Add the butter and the basmati rice and coat the grains thoroughly with the fragrant oil.
Stir the cooked chicken into the rice. Pour in the chicken stock, stir in the salt. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to the lowest and let the rice cook in its own steam for 15-20 minutes.
Before serving fluff up the rice with a fork and garnish with raisons, nuts, fresh herbs, fried shallots etc. As the school has a nut-free policy and kids usually do not like to eat anything green, I cooked a very simple Chicken Pilaf for the occasion.
A few of the projects presented by the other Year 3s