Saturday, May 23, 2015

Quinoa Pulao -- superfood superfast

Sometime around April, the weather around here changes radically. The ground shakes off the expanse of white snow and gets to work.

Green grasses sprout.
Tiny pale green leaves unfurl as if touched by some magic wand.
Flowers blossom. Pollen blows around in the wind to keep the cycle of life going.
I sneeze.
Trees turn a shade of deeper green. The temperature soars.Ceiling fans are switched on. Windows are opened wide.
Evenings stretch longer.The neighborhood kids come calling sharp at 4:30 every afternoon. The girls ride their bikes, play hide and seek, run around playing tags from one backyard to another.

Everything around says "Summer is just around the corner".
Which means I have to start eating healthy. I don't know why this happens. It is not that I have lofty aims to sunbathe in a bikini by the pool or anything.
But with any sign of summer, I start digging in my pantry for that forgotten packet of Quinoa and dusting the Nutribullet to make the first health dripping juice of the season.

Quinoa or Keen-wah is a grain I had no clue of until 2010. I am a rice eating Bong and I don't like any grains other than rice. Not even wheat. Period. So if I have to eat a grain which is not rice, I better get the most advantage out of it. And it better not require more than 30 minutes of my time. Yeah, I am very particular that way.

The first time I tried Quinoa at home was in a salad. It was good if not great and I noticed that the high protein in this grain does quell my hunger for a longer period and read that it has lots of vitamins and nutrients. Now honestly if my Mother were to read this, she would have pooh poohed the whole idea and say that there are plenty of other food with the same benefit and it is a balanced meal that is important and not something which is touted as "superfood". Agreed. No need to buy and eat Qunoa if it is super expensive where you live.

For me what works, is that a dish like Quinoa Pulao makes a nice one pot meal to take to lunch. If you don't get this grain, don't fret, you can do the same with a Daliya Pulao.

Cook Quinoa according to package directions. If there are no direction then cook as follows.

Soak 1 cup of Quinoa in water for 2-3 minutes .

On the stove set to boil a pan with 3 cups of salted water. When the water comes to a boil, drain the quinoa on a strainer and add to the pan. Lower heat to medium and cook for 12-15 minutes. Little thread like thingy will come out from the seeds when they are cooked and the tiny seeds will turn translucent. Once done, drain the Quinoa, put it back in the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes. I also rinsed it in cold water while draining and then fluffed it with a fork.

While Quinoa is cooking do the following
a. cook a cup of frozen vegetables in the microwave
b. chop half an onion
c. mince one clove of garlic. I often buy a jar of minced garlic from the Grocery store. It helps when I don't want to mince them

Now heat Olive Oil in a saute pan or wok

Temper the oil with
1 Bay Leaf/Tejpata
2 small green cardamom

Add the minced garlic and follow suit with the onions. Throw in a few chopped chillies to add the spice factor

Saute until onion is soft

Add the cooked frozen veggies. Sprinkle a little Bhaja Moshla(dry roasted cumin, coriander and dry red chilli powder) and saute for a few minutes. You can use any other masala of your choice too, a little Garam Masala or Biryani Masala works great. Depending on how healthy you want to eat, you can fry the vegetables more or less.

Now Quinoa is cooked and you need to add it to the pan
Add the cooked Quinoa gradually, tossing it with the veggies.

Saute for a about 3-4 minutes. Adjust for salt and some chilli.

Serve it with some boiled eggs if you please

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  1. wouldn't have associated bilet with ceiling fans

    1. Oh, no we have ceiling fans, standing fans, ac everything. Very hot people, you know ;-)

  2. Sandeepa, when you cut down carbs, you can't just replace them with protein. Fats have to come in . ANd yes, saturated fats like ghee, coconut oil which have been demonised until now.
    Read Weston A Price and Capt AJit Vadakayil blogs.

  3. I have tried this a few times now... it has become a favorite as healthy and easy to make one-item dinner! Thanks! :)

  4. Excuse my ignorance. But what do you call Quinoa in Bengali? I want to make this at home in Bangalore.


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