Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cabbage and Poblano Pepper Stir fry over Quinoa

I was on hold for a good 3 months for the book "The China Study". There has been a lot of talk about this book and since it pertains to nutrition and diet naturally I looked for the book and put a hold on it at the local library.

The book is about the study done in China on different types of diet and their connection to chronic diseases. Just a caution, if you are rushing to your library to get a copy of this book be warned it is by no means an easy read. But the message it conveys is quite clear, a vegan or vegetarian diet can keep most diseases at bay. Duh! you say. It also goes on to say that the study also shows that a diet devoid of meat can even reverse cancer. Milk and milk products are also to be eschewed.

Reading this book does not necessarily mean we are going to being vegetarians cold turkey. Just that we are more aware that animal products should make up less than 5% of the diet.

Other than the occasional chicken and fish our household lives on a predominantly vegetarian diet but giving up eggs and milk is not going to be easy because it fortifies our diet with the required protein. Giving up yogurt not a chance but cheese maybe.

Speaking of milk, I have a bone to pick with Bittman's article here on what great good it will do to avoid milk - probably the only time I have a problem with what he is writing. When he says 90% of all Asian Americans are lactose intolerant, does he include Indians in that list too or is it the usual mistaken thinking that the huge Asian continent only has China?

Now on to the recipe,
What I try to do every week is to mix up the grains that we consume - rice one day, wheat one day, quinoa one day, pulses another and millets occasionally. The nutty, crunchy quinoa is a much loved cereal(grain?) around our house.

We prefer it cooked such that each grain is separate. Mushy quinoa is not much liked. A dry curry is what works perfectly with quinoa methinks.

Cabbage and Poblano Pepper stir fry
1. 1 Cabbage thinly shredded (cut the cabbage into 4 and cut lengthwise)
2. 2 Poblano Pepper 2 (seeds removed) and cut lengthwise
3. 1 tbsp grated ginger
4. 1/2 red onion cut lengthwise
5. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder (or black pepper if you prefer)
6. salt to taste
7. 1 tsp oil
8. Juice of 1 small lemon
8. Your favorite cheese (I used Emmentaler Swiss Cheese) (optional, leave out for a Vegan meal)

1. In a wide mouthed saute pan, heat oil add the onions and let them start to turn translucent.
2. Add in the poblano peppers and ginger and saute for 10-15 minutes till the peppers are soft and onion starts to caramelize.
3. Add in the shredded cabbage and let it cook uncovered till it gets soft. I prefer it soft, if you like it a bit crunchy don't cook as long. Add the chili powder,lemon juice and salt and cook for 4-5 minutes more.

Serve over cooked quinoa with grated cheese on top.

Cooking Quinoa
1. Heat about 3-4 cups of water till it comes to a boil.
2. Soak 1 1/2 cups of quinoa for 20-30 minutes and wash it 3-4 times till the water runs clear.
4. Take the washed quinoa in a sauce pan, pour the hot water over the quinoa and let it cook covered till all the water has been absorbed. (8-10) minutes. Turn off heat.
5. Leave it covered and let it sit for another 10 minutes or so. Fluff with a fork before serving.


  1. Wat a healthy and super filling nutritious dish.

  2. There are so many food studies these days that it is utterly confusing. I think people's constitution in different regions are suited to different diets, a lot depends on what is available, what is necessary etc. In an extremely cold country how can eating only a lot of plant based food be justified. There must be other ways to fortify if not meat alone.
    Now excessive meat eating is something I do not advocate and are trying to cut down ourselves but one cannot just link "eating protein" with diseases. That said This Quiona with cabbage looks great, I have a packet which am yet to cook.

    1. I totally agree with you. The diet should reflect our life style and where we live. I cannot stand eating meat morning, noon and night. Eating like that and combined with a sedentary lifestyle will definitely lead to diseases. We do not need research to tell us that.

      You got to cook that quinoa Sandeepa, make sure you cook it nice and fluffy and not mushy.

  3. I am forcing the schedule you have at home these days- bye bye to the usual white rice and pooris all the time..

    I just made quinoa pongal last week- hubby likes it mushy and not tasting like quinoa at all, but now it is getting better :D I wonder how the manathakkali chutney would taste so I am going to make it next week as my garden also has it, the seeds are bitter(kindaa??) right?


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