Quinoa Cashew Pilaf (Kid favorite and WINNER of Phoenicia's Mommy's Favorite Recipe contest!)
If you have not yet tried or know what quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is, you may have still heard about this nutritious gluten-free grain. Quinoa is a plant-based complete protein, meaning it has all of the essential amino acids to make the proteins our body needs. This tiny bead shaped grain is all the rage, especial among mothers of vegetarian children. My friends Monica and Angela often pack a quinoa dish for their children on our playdate outings. I hope they will enjoy my pilaf style recipe in which I cook the quinoa with tempered cumin seeds, vegetables and cashews. I love when my daughter asks me to pack quinoa for her school lunch...it is so cute to hear her clearly say “quinoa!” This dish can be eaten as a side dish, or even as a light meal. (Nuts are optional in case of allergy.)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes + 5 minutes to rest
Refrigerator life: 3 days
Freezer life: 1 month
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated or defrosted quinoa in a microwave and stir periodically. Or, place the quinoa in a saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat, stirring periodically.
1 cup (180 g) uncooked white quinoa 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 20 whole cashews, split in half lengthwise (nuts optional -see note below) 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 small onion, thinly sliced into half-moons 1 medium russet potato (about ½ lb/225 g), peeled and diced into ¼ in (6 mm) cubes 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into ¼ in (6 mm) cubes ½ cup (60 g) frozen or fresh green peas 2 cups (500 ml) water 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1. Place the quinoa in a large sieve. Run cold water over it to thoroughly wash the grains. While washing the quinoa, rub the grains with your fingers to thoroughly clean them. Drain the quinoa.
2. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a medium saucepan and place it over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the cashews. Sauté until the cashews are light golden, stirring frequently, about 30 seconds. Remove the cashews from the saucepan and place aside.
3. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil into the medium saucepan and place it over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the cumin seeds and onion. Sauté the onion until lightly golden, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the sautéed cashews, potato, carrot, peas, and quinoa. Stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add the water, salt, and turmeric. Stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
6. Stir and reduce the heat to medium- low. Cover the saucepan. Simmer undisturbed until the water is completely absorbed and you do not see any more water on the bottom of the saucepan if you insert a spoon through the quinoa, about 13 minutes. The grains will have turned slightly transparent, and the spiral-like germ (the part of the grain that sprouts into a plant) will have separated from the grain and curl around it like a small thread.
7. Turn off the heat. Let rest, covered, for 5 minutes on the warm stove. Keep covered until ready to serve or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze for later. Before serving, gently fluff the quinoa with a fork to mix the cashews and vegetables. Enjoy!
Note on Cashews - The cashews lend good flavor and texture, but if you choose not to include them, skip Step 2.
Recipe from "Healthy Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Easy Recipes for the Hurry Home Cook" by Shubhra Ramineni. Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group. www.enticewithspice.com
Copyright 2011-2016 Shubhra Ramineni. All rights reserved.