Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Curried Quinoa

I know, me and my grain-centric recipes.
But in my defense, quinoa is not properly a grain at all.

And also I love curry. And after great success with The Crockpot Lady's curried chickpeas, I feel I can do no wrong in the curry department. She is quite right: It will make you want to run around the house yelling "Who's the crock potting queen?!" which will quickly become annoying to the people around you.

This is not a crock pot recipe, but I am sure it has the potential.

Fair warning: This will seem like a lot of ingredients. It kind of is. But keep in mind that the spices in this dish can be altered to fit your preferences. Don't care for coriander? No problemo! It adds a lot to this recipe, but if you hate it, just use more curry powder, garlic, and cilantro to keep the flavors strong. I also suspect that there is a lot of flexibility for what veggies you can use. You could skip the chile altogether and just use bell peppers and spices, if you wanted to.

Since I have had a few run-ins with hotter-than-expected hot peppers, I thought I was being fairly conservative by using half the pepper, finely chopped, with literally THREE SEEDS added to the pot, also chopped. It was pleasantly hot, and perfect for our tastes, but definitely judge this for yourself.

This recipe (the first on the page) turned out to be a pretty good "starter" recipe for me. Because I made a lot of changes - mostly additions - here is my version:

1 c. quinoa
1.5 tbsp. vegetable oil
.5 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, smashed
.75 of a red bell pepper, small chopped
1-2 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
2-3 tsp. dried cilantro (if using fresh, add desired amount before serving)
.5 fresh green chile, finely chopped
1 heaping tsp. coriander
.5 tsp. curry powder
.25 tsp. ground cinnamon
.25 tsp cayenne pepper
1.75 cups water
.5 c. fresh or frozen peas

1. Rinse quinoa with cold water. Use a fine mesh filter or coffee filter.

Quinoa is coated with a natural substance called saponin that protects the grain by repelling insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa is important to avoid a raw or bitter taste.

2. Place oil, diced onions and garlic in a heavy saucepan. Saute the onions on medium high heat for four to five minutes.

3. Add the ginger root, chile, quinoa, and red pepper. Cook for one minute stirring constantly.

4. Stir in the coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, cilantro and seasoned salt. Cook for one minute stirring constantly.

5. Add the water and bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. Stir in peas. Cover and cook for four or five minutes or until peas are tender and all the water is absorbed.

7. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Even in person, this dish is much more than meets the eye.
We really enjoyed this dish, and considering that it was easy enough for me to put it together at 9 pm after class, I consider it nearly foolproof.

Quote of the Day: "We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun."  ~ George Orwell

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