Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quinoa Pilaf or Quinoa Upma

Quinoa is a type of edible seed native to South America. It is high in protein, iron fiber and contains a lot of minerals. It is sometimes called “super grain” or “super food”. It can also be substituted for a rice dish, though it imparts a distinct nutty flavor to the dish. You can get Quinoa at any health food store here in the USA.

My husband doesn’t like rice as much, but he can happily have Quinoa with any curry dish.

I am posting a recipe for Quinoa pilaf here. I had this pilaf for the first time at the Iskon Temple here in Wa. Since Quinoa is not considered a grain, they serve this dish here along with other curries for fasts. I liked its taste, and realized that we can cook Quinoa with some Indian spices too. So I decided to try to make it at home.

Here is what you will need for making Quinoa Pilaf (or Quinoa Upma as my friend calls it).
½ Cup Quinoa Seeds,
1.5 Cups Water,
Salt to Taste,
¼ Cup Frozen Green Peas (You Can Also Use Mixed Vegetables),
1 Small Potato, Cut Into 2 Inch Cubes
1 Tomato, Cut into Medium Pieces,
2 Teaspoon Oil,
3 Green Chilis, Slit
½ Teaspoon Grated Ginger, or a ½ Inch Piece Cut into Slices,
½ Teaspoon Mustard Seeds,
½ Teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
¼ Teaspoon Asafoetida,
½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice,
¼ Teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
½ Teaspoon Garam Masala

Wash the seeds twice. Let it drain in a colander or in a strainer for atleast 15-20 minute. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds start crackling, add the slit chilies, cumin seeds and ginger. Cook for a minute or two then add the asafoetida powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.

Lower the heat to medium, and add the peas (or frozen vegetables) potatoes and some salt. If the veggies start sticking to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle some water. Stir once to coat the veggies with the oil and the spices, then cover and cook until the potatoes just start to turn soft. Then add the drained quinoa seeds and stir and roast for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, turmeric powder and the garam masala powder. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to low (simmer) and cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the seeds have absorbed all the water.

Take off the heat, fluff it with a fork, and add the lemon juice. Mix well and serve hot with cold yogurt or any curry on side.

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