Highly prized as a nutritious food by nutritionists and doctors, Quinoa (pronounced 'Kin-wah') is a favourite because of its great taste, high protein content, nutritional value, and ease of preparation and digestion.
Here’s some examples of how quinoa can replace rice in traditional Indian dishes for a unique nutritional experience: Quinoa Upma, Quinoa Corn Pongal, and Quinoa Coconut Pulav.
These recipes make 4-6 serves. Adjust spice quantities to your preferred taste.
Quinoa Upma: This breakfast is a wholesome tasty alternative to sugar-rich cereals and breakfast pastries. If the quinoa is cooked in the night then this breakfast can be made in just a few minutes.
Ingredients: 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup cooked peas, 1/2 cup diced cooked carrots, 2 green chillies sliced, 1 cup sliced onions, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp garam masala, Himayalan or sea salt to taste, Coriander (dhaniya) for garnishing.
Ingredients for seasoning: 1 Tbsp Desi Ghee, 1/2 tsp mustard (rye), 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera), 1/4 tsp asafetida (hing), 1/4 tsp channa dal, 1/2 tsp urad dal
Directions: Cook quinoa separately according to the basic instructions and keep aside. Heat Ghee in a heavy bottomed pan; add mustard, cumin, channa dal, urad dal, asafetida and curry leaves.
Once dals become golden brown, add in onions and salt. Saute until the onions are tender and translucent. Stir in the green chillies, carrots and peas and saute for a few minutes then add in the garam masala.
Finally add the cooked quinoa, cover the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
Quinoa corn pongal: This is a variation on the popular spicy South Indian breakfast dish: somewhat like a soupy kitchari with a tangy taste
Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup corn or mixed veg, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 3-4 green chillies, 1 Tbsp tamarind, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric, Pinch asafoetida (hing), 4-5 curry leaves, 1 Tbsp Desi ghee, Himalayan or sea salt to taste.
Directions: Wash 1 cup quinoa thoroughly til the water runs clear. If you are including rice and moong dal, wash 1/2 cup each and keep aside. Heat ghee in fry pan, add cumin seeds, green chillies, pepper, and curry leaves. Fry until all spices are well combined, and add asafoetida.
Saute corn or mixed vegetables for 5 mins. Add quinoa, salt, turmeric, and stir well. Pour in 4-5 cups of water (start with 4, and if you want a more watery consistency, add one more). Cook for 15-20 minutes, till quinoa is soft. Serve hot with your favorite spicy side dish.
Quinoa Coconut Pulav: You can also cook quinoa in coconut milk: this is a variation of pulav that is flavorful with exotic spices. Experiment with your favorite vegetable combinations, with nuts or fried onion garnishings.
Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa, 2 Tbsp Desi ghee, 1 cup chopped veges, 1 bay leaf, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 1 black cardamom, 2 green cardamom, 4 black pepper, 4 cloves, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tspgaram masala, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 1 Tbsp of minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of minced ginger, green chillies to taste, 3 cup coconut milk, 1-2 lemon or lime juice, salt to taste, coriander to garnish.
Directions: Wash quinoa thoroughly until the water runs clear, drain and set aside. Heat ghee in a fry pan, and add bay leaf, cinnamon, black and green cardomons.
Grind black pepper and cloves in a mortar and pestle, add with cumin. Saute medium onion for 5 mins, sprinkle in turmeric powder.
Add garlic and ginger, and cook until the onions are translucent. Mix in quinoa, roast on medium heat for 5 mins. Add cubed vegetables and stir while adding garam masala, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt to taste.
Add coconut milk, if you want a softer consistency, add a little more! Turn down to lowest heat, and simmer for 30 mins. Add lemon juice and fluff gently with a fork. Keep covered for 5 mins to set and serve with coriander.
The recipes have been shared by Organic India which is a multi-national company based in Lucknow, India that produces organic herbal and ayurvedic health products.