Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cooking with Qunioa (two quick and easy salads/pulao)

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Some of you correctly guessed the identity of the flower from the last post. It was in fact Mustard flowers.

The leaves from the mustard plant were ready for picking by the end of March just as the weather was starting to warm up a little bit. I was under the assumption that the mustard plants require plenty of heat and was ideal June/July plant. Well not true. It is a cool season plant. The plants struggled to grow in the heat last summer. The seeds I had sowed for a Fall harvest were the ones that grew. Early April to late May is probably the best growing season for mustard in our area.

qunioa with chickpeas

Quinoa, this ancient Peruvian grain has suddenly become all the rage. I tried this once in a soup and the texture just did not appeal to me. I got reintroduced to this grain, where els but my lunch room at work. Used in place of rice it tasted pretty good with dal, sambhar, rasam or any other curry as held it own as an able substitute.

Being tired of the wheat and rice, quinoa offered a variation from this oft repeated routine. It cooks quickly and is perfect for a mixed pulao or salad (whichever way you like to look at it) to be rustled in the morning rush. The kids have taken a liking to it as well.

quinoa with peas and potatoes

Cooking Quinoa
It is important to not quick it too much and make it all slimy. Soak the quinoa for 20 minutes or so and rinse it out a few time. Set water to boil a cup of water for a cup of quinoa. Pour just enough of the boiling water into the quinoa till it is covered completely. In medium heat cook till the water is absorbed and the quinoa becomes translucent. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

I have here 2 quick and easy recipes.

Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
Quinoa with Potatoes and Peas
1. 1 cup of quinoa
2. 1/2 cup of peas
3. 1 cup of potatoes cubed
4. 1/2 cup of onion chopped or sliced lengthwise
5. 1 tsp turmerice powder
6. 1 tsp of sambhar powder or red chili powder or pepper (as per taste)
7. seasonings: cumin seeds and curry leaves
8. 1 tsp of oil
9. 1 tbsp of roasted coarsely crushed peanuts (optional)

1. cook the quinoa as per instructions above and set aside
2. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and add in the seasonings
3. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent
4. Add in the peas and potatoes and saute for a minute
5. Sprinkle the spice powder, salt and a tbsp of water and let them cook till the potatoes are soft
6. Add in the cooked quinoa and mix it in gently
7. Sprinkle the peanuts if doing so

Quinoa with Black Chickpeas
1. 1 cup of quinoa
2. 1 cup of chickpeas (soaked overnight)
3. 1/2 cup of onion
4. 1/2 cup of tomatoes chopped fine
5. 1 tbsp of masala powder (I used chicken masala powder)
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds + 1 tsp cumin seeds + 4 red chilies (roasted and powdered)
6. seasonings: cumin seeds, split urad dal and curry leaves
7. 1 tsp of oil
8. salt to taste


1. cook the quinoa as per instructions above and set aside
2. Cook the chickpeas and set aside
3. In a wide mouthed pan heat oil and add in the seasonings (urad dal first followed by the cumin and mustard seeds) When the mustard starts to pop,
4. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent
5. Sprinkle the masala powder and saute for a minute
6. Add in the tomatoes and salt and let it cook till the tomatoes turn mushy
7. Add in the cooked chick peas and cook for a few more minutes till the water is all absorbed
8. Add in the cooked quinoa and mix it in gently

Some of you might say where do I have 30 minutes in the morning for this kind of elaborate cooking. If the prep work is done ahead of time this is very very quick and a hot meal for lunch is ready.


  1. I make arisium paruppum saatham with Quinao. its yummy

  2. Absolutely love this version of quinoa. I have never tried growing mustard, looks beautiful.

  3. Great cooking tips for this grain, ISG -- I have some but have only tried it once -- time to give it another go. I like your way for breakfast or lunch!

  4. Did you eat the mustard greens ? Love your garden
    Yet to cook quinoa

  5. Sandeepa, I did cook the mustard greens with dal and loved it way better than Spinach.

  6. vanjimagal, guess I know who you are :) Got to try arisim paruppu saatham

  7. Wow both versions looks marvellous,filling and delicious..

  8. Till now I have enver made anything with qunioa. SHould try it once.

  9. Looks jolly good to me and I am yet to try growing mustard plant-nice

  10. I've been cooking it like ven pongal. Must try these two versions sometime.

  11. I have had a box of qunioa for over a year now in my cupboard, do you think it is still good?

    Thanks for stopping by and offering your words of comfort.

  12. Very happy to see healthy recipes... Lovely ones... YUM!


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