Category Archives: Quinoa

Spicy Quinoa with Vegetables, The Indian Way

Spicy Quinoa with Vegetables, The Indian Way

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Spicy Quinoa with Vegetables, The Indian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I like about cooking with quinoa is how adaptable and flexible it is. You can use it as a base it in a variety of different cuisines and it will make itself at home.

It is also an extremely flexible seed. Use it in a stuffing, popped, sprouted, in a batter and it gels with its fellow inmates without shouting for attention.

to summarise the health benefits of quinoa

  1. Unlike most foods, it is a complete protein with all the nine amino acids.
  2. We all know about the health benefits of fibre. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fibre compared to other grains.
  3. It is full of iron.
  4. It contains high level of lysine, a type of essential amino acid which human body needs for tissue growth and repair.
  5. It is rich in magnesium which is important to control blood sugar level, detoxification, regulate body temperature and promote healthy teeth and bones.
  6. It contains Riboflavin (B2).
  7. It has high levels of manganese.

Today’s recipe of Indianised quinoa is relatively simple. You can use any combination of vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, courgette, sweetcorn, pepper, green pea, french beans, carrot, pumpkin, squash and fresh beans. I had cooked with french beans, green peas and carrots along with onion and tomato.

A note on the cooking medium. This recipe tastes best if cooked in ghee (clarified butter). Of course, you can use oil if you prefer or a combination of ghee and oil. As with everything else in life, it boils down to personal taste but in my humble opinion, ghee works best.

Ingredients

1 Cup uncooked quinoa

2 Cups chopped mixed vegetable of your choice

2 Onion

2 Tomato

3-4 Fresh green chilli

Fresh ginger the size of your thumb

10-15 Curry leaves

Small bunch fresh coriander

1 Tablespoon raw peanuts

1 Tablespoon urad dal (split black gram)

1 Tablespoon dalia (split bengal gram)

2-3 Dry red chilli

1 Tablespoon mustard seeds

1 Teaspoon asafoetida

1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 Cup strong/sour/tart yoghurt

1 Tablespoon ghee or oil

Salt to taste

Juice of lime or lemon (optional)

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely dice the onion.
  2. Wash and chop the tomato.
  3. Wash and finely slice the green chilli.
  4. Peel, wash and grate the ginger.
  5. Wash and chop the fresh coriander.
  6. Break the dry red chilli into two.
  7. Heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan.
  8. Once hot, lower the heat and throw in the mustard seeds.
  9. As soon as they start crackling, add the asafoetida, broken dry red chilli and curry leaves.
  10. Stir for about 15 seconds.
  11. Add the peanuts, chana dal and urad dal.
  12. Stir for about a minute or so till the dals turn a couple of shades darker.
  13. Next, add the onion, sliced green chilli, grated ginger, turmeric and salt to taste.
  14. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  15. Uncover and add the chopped tomato.
  16. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  17. Uncover and add the quinoa.
  18. Stir around for a couple of minutes.
  19. Add the vegetables and mix well.
  20. Mix the yoghurt into 2.5 cups of water. Add this mixture to frying pan, stir for one last time, cover and cook for about 25 minutes till the quinoa and vegetables are thoroughly cooked.
  21. At the end of cooking time, you should end up with a dry, pilaf like dish. If you find that there is still too much liquid remaining, remove the lid and cook for a few more minutes till it dries up.
  22. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.
  23. A few drops of lemon juice is optional and depends on individual taste.

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Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffléd Stuffed Pepper

Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffléd Stuffed Pepper

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffled Stuffed Pepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so very excited to share this recipe with you.

a delectable and delicious way of enjoying stuffed pepper

My relationship with sprouted grains and legumes is very haphazard and filled with uncertainty. I work backwards as in sprout first and than wonder how to make use instead of planning a recipe and sprouting according to requirement.

This time round, I had a batch of beautifully sprouted green desi chana (small green chickpea) with long white tail. Since I haven’t had quinoa for a while, I thought of combining the two but realised that there would be too much protein and so came up with the idea of stuffing some peppers with both along with pumpkin for balance.

Sprout, Pumpkin & Quinoa Souffled PepperThese are one of the best stuffed peppers I have eaten. Sorry if this sounds far from humble but they are just so utterly piquant and heavenly and also totally satisfying.

Since there was some stuffing leftover, I used it to fill a couple of  tomatoes. Works beautifully. Which makes me think that the stuffing would work well in courgette and aubergine as well.

I served some quickly stir-fried mushroom and broccoli on the side. Once the peppers are cooked, remove them to a plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of Worcestershire sauce to glaze the pan, throw in the vegetable of your choice with a pinch of salt, give it a stir, cover and cook on low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. You will have perfect accompaniment to the stuffed peppers.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa

1 Cup sprouted beans of your choice

2 Large pepper

2 Onion

2 Tomato

1 Head of garlic

5-6 Bird’s eye chilli

250 Grams pumpkin

1 Stock cube (chicken or vegetable)

2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

8-10 Walnut halves

2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds

1-2 Eggs

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

 Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and finely dice the tomato.
  3. Peel and finely slice the garlic.
  4. Wash and finely mince the chilli.
  5. Wash, peel and finely grate the pumpkin.
  6. Dry roast the sunflower seeds and walnuts till they turn a couple of shades darker. Set aside to cool.
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  8. Once it is hot, lower the heat and throw in the onion, garlic and chilli.
  9. Add salt to taste, mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Next, add the tomato and cook (again, covered) for 3 to 4 minutes.
  11. Uncover and add the sprouted beans and quinoa.
  12. Add 1.5 cups of water along with the stock cube, stir thoroughly, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes till the quinoa is cooked.
  13. Uncover and add the grated pumpkin to the pan.
  14. Mix well and let the stuffing cool down.
  15. Wash the peppers, halve them and remove the seeds and core.
  16. Take a couple of drops of olive oil in the palm of your hand and rub the pepper halves all over.
  17. Beat the egg(s) and add them to the stuffing along with crumbled feta.
  18. Break the toasted walnuts with your hands and add them, along with the sunflower seeds, to the stuffing. Mix well.
  19. Fill the pepper halves with the stuffing.
  20. Heat the pan in which you had made the stuffing. It should have some residue oil remaining so you don’t need to add any more oil but if you feel the need, add a couple of drops and swirl it around the surface.
  21. Once the pan heats up, gently place the peppers, lower the heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  22. Uncover, flip them over, cover once again and cook for 10 more minutes.
  23. Uncover and gently turn the peppers over so that the stuffing is facing up.
  24. Slide them onto a plate and serve.

Note:

  1. These peppers can be eaten hot but are equally enjoyable at room temperature.
  2. You can make the stuffing ahead of time and keep it till you are ready to cook the peppers.
  3. Try and use different coloured peppers.
  4. The quantity of chilli may seem a lot, specially since the bird’s eye variety is hot, but they provide the right amount of oomph to counterbalance the natural sweetness of peppers and pumpkin. You can reduce the quantity if you prefer.

Quinoa, The Mexican Way

Quinoa, The Mexican Way

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quinoa, The Mexican Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel as if I am on a mission going around the world the quinoa way. Having made it Italian and Indian style, today we head to Mexico.

Idea for this recipe came to me as I had an unused jar of Discovery chipotle paste in my cupboard. I decided to make use of it in this quick and delicious quinoa recipe.

Ideally, should have used green pepper and sweetcorn kernels. However, since I had eaten sweetcorn just the other day, I decided to use yellow pepper and courgette instead (I think courgette is called calabacitas in Mexico).

Wanted to garnish with some diced avocado and a dollop of mild yoghurt (instead of sour cream) but the avocados I have at the moment are unripe (seen in photo above) so had to pass.

Nevertheless, this recipe is delicious as is.

dig into a comforting bowl of smokey, spicy, cheesy quinoa with kidney beans and vegetables

Since courgette is a delicate vegetable and I didn’t want it overly mushy, I cooked quinoa separately and added it towards the end rather than cook everything together.

If you don’t have chipotle paste, you can use Mexican seasoning instead.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 Cup boiled kidney beans

1 Courgette

1 Yellow Pepper

10-12 Cherry tomato

2 Onions

1 Head of garlic

2-3 Fresh chillies

1 Stock cube (I used chicken)

1 Tablespoon chipotle paste or Mexican seasoning

1 Tablespoon grated sharp cheese (I used Cheddar)

1-2 Teaspoons oil

Handful of fresh coriander (including stalk if tender)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First, cook the quinoa. Bring 1.5 cups of water to boil.
  2. Add the stock cube and quinoa, lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Take the cook quinoa off the burner and let it rest.
  4. Rinse the kidney beans and add them to the cooked quinoa.
  5. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  6. Peel and chop the garlic.
  7. Wash the cherry tomato.
  8. Wash, top, tail and dice the courgette.
  9. Wash and slice the chilli.
  10. Wash and leave the coriander to dry on some kitchen towel.
  11. Heat the oil in a pan. When it turns hot, lower the heat and add the onion, garlic, chilli and salt to taste. Mix well.
  12. Cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  13. Uncover and add the cherry tomato. Mix well.
  14. Cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  15. Uncover and throw in the chopped courgette along with the chipotle paste/seasoning. Mix well.
  16. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
  17. Uncover and add the cooked quinoa and kidney beans.
  18. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
  19. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  20. Take off the burner and let it rest for 5 more minutes.
  21. When you take the lid off, you will see that the cheese has melted beautifully.
  22. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

Quinoa, The Indian Way

Quinoa Pohe/Quinoa Upma

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quinoa Pohe/Quinoa Upma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I had mentioned in my yesterday’s post on Rösti/Latke/Potato Pancake, at times, defining a dish becomes a bit tricky. Often, there is an overlap either in terms of ingredients used or how it is cooked.

What is interesting is how this dilemma is not confined to global foods but is also evident in culture specific ones. India, with its numerous states and sub-cultures, offers a hugely diverse food experience. Each region has its own take on the ubiquitous staples.

Today’s recipe of quinoa started off as an upma but ended up as a pohe (flattened rice). The quinoa is cooked the upma way (by adding water to the grain) but the end result is fluffy, separate grains of cooked quinoa which is similar in food experience to pohe.

so, do I call this dish quinoa upma or quinoa pohe

If you try it, you decide. But try you must because it is a very quick cooking method of making quinoa which is also absolutely delicious. Quinoa is any day more nutritious than pohe and the addition of vegetables, peanuts and two types of split gram means that in terms of health benefits, this one is packed to the hilt.

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 Large onion

2 Tomato

1/4 Cup sweet corn kernels

1/4 French beans chopped

10-12 Curry leaves

2-3 Green chillies

Fresh ginger, the size of your thumb

1/2 Cup fresh coriander

1 Tablespoon raw peanuts

1 Tablespoon split bengal gram (chana dalia)

1 Tablespoon split, skinned black gram (urad dal)

1 Teaspoon mustard seeds

1 Teaspoon turmeric

1 Tablespoon freshly grated coconut (dessicated will also do)

1 Teaspoon asafoetida (optional)

Salt to taste

1-2 Teaspoons oil

Method

  1. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion.
  2. Wash and dice the tomato.
  3. Wash the sweet corn kernels and chopped french beans.
  4. Chop and wash the coriander.
  5. Wash and finely slice the chilli.
  6. Peel, wash and finely grate the ginger.
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  8. When it is hot, lower the heat and add the mustard seeds.
  9. Once they start spluttering, add the asafoetida (if using).
  10. Add the curry leaves.
  11. Give it a stir and throw in the urad dal.
  12. Mix around for about 30 seconds till the urad dal turns a shade darker.
  13. Next, add the peanuts and chana dalia. Stir for about a minute or so.
  14. Add the chopped onion, chilli, ginger and turmeric.
  15. Mix well, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  16. Uncover, ad the tomato and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  17. Uncover and add the quinoa. Stir around for 3 to 4 minutes to toast the quinoa a little bit.
  18. Now add the sweet corn kernels, chopped french beans, grated coconut and 2 and 1/4 cups of water.
  19. Mix well and turn the heat to high. Once it starts bubbling, turn down the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  20. The quinoa should be cooked after 20 minutes (you will see its “tails”).
  21. Add the chopped coriander, mix thoroughly and serve.
  22. Enjoy hot.

My Experience Popping Amaranth Seed, Pearl Millet, Quinoa & Unhulled Barley

Popping Amaranth Seeds, Pearl Millet, Quinoa & Unhulled Barley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have spent this Sunday morning playing around with grains in my kitchen cupboard.

Wanted to pop some amaranth seeds as I will be using them for a totally kooky experimental dinner tonight. While I was at it, I thought I would try out pearl millet, quinoa and unhulled barley as well.

The method I used was dry heat one taken from here.

The photo above shows all four grains after they have been popped. Top row: Left – amaranth seeds; Right – quinoa. Bottom row: Left – pearl millet; Right – unhulled barley.

Popped Amaranth SeedAmaranth seeds (right) popped really nicely and very quickly (compared to popcorn).

 

 

 

 

 

Popped Pearl MilletPearl millet (left) was not very successful, only a few grains popped. But even those which didn’t pop were nice to munch on.

 

 

 

 

 

Popped QuinoaQuinoa (right) made a lot of popping sound and the taste is of a popped grain although it doesn’t look popped; it looks like dry roasted quinoa.

 

 

 

 

Popped Unhulled BarleyUnhulled barley (left) was the most surprising one of the lot. It split open to reveal the white popped bits inside each grain although it did not fully pop. When you eat it, it tastes just like popcorn.

 

 

 

 

If you decide to pop these (or any other) grains, I would suggest that you try one spoonful at a time to see whether or not they pop. Also please make sure you cover the pan with the lid while the popping is happening else the grains may fly all over your kitchen (am suggesting based on personal experience!).

Method

  1. Heat a wide based frying pan with a tight fitting lid on.
  2. Once the pan is very hot, keep the heat on its highest level, remove the lid and add one spoonful of the grain of your choice.
  3. Cover with the lid and keep shaking the pan, holding the lid with one hand.
  4. You will know they are popping when they start making the popping sound.
  5. Take the grains off the heat when the popping sound stops or reduces.
  6. Tip them onto a dry plate and let them cool down before using or storing.

Note:

  1. Even the grains which remain “unpopped” after the popping procedure are quite nice and crunchy so don’t discard them.

 

 

 

Quinoa With Pepper & Pistachio

Quinoa With Pepper & Pistachio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love quinoa for its sheer versatility and ease of cooking. From salad and stuffing to soup, sauté and one-pot meal, all can welcome quinoa with open arms!

quinoa is my go-to mate when I want to rustle up a fuss-free, quick dinner

Ingredients for Quinoa With Pepper & PistachioToday’s quinoa recipe is one I made up as I went along. The original idea was to add some fresh peas (they are in season and I have plenty to get through so look out for green pea recipes in coming days!) but this would have become too much so I dropped the idea.

Here are the key ingredients: pepper, pistachio, parsley, tomato, onion, chilli and anchovy.

I also added a bit of cheese and finished off the dish with toasted pistachio and a sprinkling of sumac.

Anchovy and sumac are optional. I included them for a bit of flavour.

I added the parsley to the vegetables because I wanted toasted pistachio to be the start texture provider, not uncooked parsley. You can add this herb add the end if you prefer.

the combination of cooked quinoa and toasted nuts is spot on

Ingredients

3/4 Cup uncooked quinoa

1 Pepper

2 Onions

2 Tomatoes

2 Chillies

A small bunch of parsley

1 Tablespoon pistachio

1 Tablespoon hard cheese of your choice

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon anchovy (optional)

A pinch of sumac (optional)

Salt to taste

Method

  1. First we need to toast the pistachio. Halve them and put them in a (preferably non-stick) frying pan. Place the pan on low heat and let the nuts toast for about 5 to 7 minutes. At the end, you will start getting a nice roasted aroma which is when you can take them off the heat and transfer to a bowl. Do not brown the pistachio.
  2. Now, prep the vegetables. Wash, core, de-seed and chop the pepper.
  3. Peel, wash and dice the onion.
  4. Wash and finely chop the tomato.
  5. Wash and chop the parsley.
  6. Wash and slice the chilli.
  7. Crumble or roughly chop the cheese.
  8. Heat the frying pan in which you had toasted the pistachio.
  9. Add the oil and anchovies (if using) and lower the heat.
  10. Add the onions and chillies along with some salt. Stir around a bit, cover and let the onions cook for about 5 minutes.
  11. Next, add the pepper, tomatoes and parsley. Once again cover and let the vegetables cook for 5 more minutes.
  12. Rinse and add the quinoa to the vegetable base along with one-and-three-quarter cups of water.
  13. Mix well, cover and let the quinoa cook for 20 minutes.
  14. Uncover, add the cheese, mix well, cover and cook for further 5 minutes.
  15. Take the pan off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes.
  16. Uncover, sprinkle the toasted pistachio. Also add some sumac if using.
  17. Mix well and serve.

Here are the pistachio being toasted. Keep moving them around the pan so as not to burn or brown them.

Toasting Pistachio for Quinoa With Pepper & Pistachio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa, The Italian Way

Quinoa, The Italian Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think quinoa has become a victim of its own success. It has swayed from being THE food on all the foodies’ list to THE food a lot of people don’t want to know or read about. A pity because it is one of the most versatile, healthy grains to keep in your kitchen cupboard and works well in soups and casseroles, in salads, for stuffing, to make fritters and burgers and even in desserts.

Today’s recipe has an Italian influence courtesy anchovies, pine nuts and basil. Co-incidentally, I had timed my cooking to an episode of The Sopranos (TS) (the one in which Tony & Co. host a card game and Frank Sinatra Jr. makes a guest appearance). 20 minutes of TS, 15 minutes of cooking the vegetables, 8 minutes of cooking the quinoa, finish TS while quinoa is resting.

I wonder if Tony ever ate quinoa

Probably not, looking at the kind of food they showcase. But hopefully, the late amazingly great Mr. Gandolfini did.

So onwards with today’s Italian inspired quinoa.

Ingredients

1 Cup quinoa

2 Cups water

Stock cube (chicken or vegetable)

One tablespoon olive oil

One tablespoon anchovies*

One courgette

10-12 Cherry tomatoes

One yellow pepper

One large onion

One head of garlic

One tablespoon Italian seasoning*

One tablespoon piquant cheese*

A handful of basil leaves

1-2 Tablespoons pine nuts

A handful of black olives, sliced

Salt to taste

Method

    1. Put the quinoa in a saucepan along with the water and stock cube. Ratio of quinoa to water should be 1 : 2 (one part quinoa, two parts water). Cook for about 15-20 minutes (or according to instructions on your packet).
    2. Once the quinoa is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes and then fluff it with a fork. Keep aside.
    3. Now prepare the vegetables. Peel, wash and chop the onions.
    4. Peel and slice the garlic.
    5. Wash and dice the yellow pepper.
    6. Wash and dice the courgette.
    7. Wash the cherry tomatoes.
    8. Wash and shred the basil.
    9. Heat a skillet. Once hot, add the pine nuts. Stir them for 2-3 minutes till they are nicely toasted.
    10. Remove the pine nuts to a plate.
    11. Put the skillet back on heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the chopped onions and sliced garlic. Add salt, give it a stir, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
    12. Once the time is up, open the lid and add the yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes and courgette along with the anchovies, seasoning and basil. Mix well, cover and cook for 10 more minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, once the vegetables are cooked, you may see some of their juices. That is perfectly fine.
    13. Next, add the cooked quinoa, olives, pine nuts and cheese.
    14. Combine well, cover and cook for 10 minutes so that the quinoa is heated through and absorbs all the juices.
    15. Turn off the gas, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note:

  1. I used anchovies marinated in olive oil and used this oil this for cooking.
  2. You can cook the quinoa ahead of time. Mine was cooked a few hours beforehand.
  3. I had used Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bullion powder. You can use chicken stock cube if you prefer.
  4. For seasoning, I had used Laura Santini Umami Paste No. 5.
  5. I find that slicing garlic along its length is much more flavourful than in roundel. Not sure the reason why.
  6. For cheese, I went the Spanish way since I had Manchego in the fridge. It worked as well as goat’s cheese. Use any piquant cheese. A little bit is all you need.
  7. If there is any leftover, you can use it to stuff aubergines or add it in a soup.

A look at the vegetables I used for this Italian inspired quinoa.

Vegetables for Quinoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetables being cooked. Aren’t they a picture of health?!

Vegetable Base for Quinoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the end result. Not sure why it photographed as yellow since the quinoa was white (as you can see from the photo at the top of this post).

Italian Style Quinoa