Quinoa! You have probably heard more and more about this grain native to South America in recent years. That’s because quinoa (KEE-no-uh or KEEN-wah) is high in protein, a complete protein (thanks to thenakeddoctor for catching my foolish typo), a good source of fiber and iron, and gluten-free, if that’s what you’re into. It’s also cheap, easy and fast to cook, and very forgiving.
Two things about quinoa: (1) It’s important to wash quinoa before cooking, as some of the grains tend to retain their husks, which don’t taste very good and (2) your taste buds may be different from mine, but I don’t care for the taste of unseasoned quinoa, and I find it best with a strong seasoning like stock, cheese, or curry.
This recipe is from Deborah Madison (henceforth know as D-Mads), and unlike most recipes, with which I tinker greatly, I’ve left this one almost entirely intact.
The only change I made was to skip the scallions. I used them the first time I made this recipe, and they were good, just not earth shattering. The truth is that I wanted to use the five items or less line at Whole Foods, so something had to go.
If you can, buy your quinoa from somewhere that sells bulk foods, as it will be about 1/4 the cost as if you buy some tiny box of it at the grocery store.
Also, regarding curry powder, I highly recommend seeking out an Indian grocery near you or at least getting curry powder from a decent spice store. This dish is basically as good as the curry you use, so I wouldn’t use the cheap stuff from McCormick in this one.
I also used about 150% of the curry powder that she calls for, but definitely add some and TASTE before you turn your dinner into something you could use to remove paint.
So with those things in mind, I turn you over to D-Mads:
“Curried Quinoa with Peas and Cashews”
2 Tbs. Canola oil or Butter
1 C. carrot juice
1 onion, 1/4 finely diced, 3/4 coarsley chopped
1 C. peas
1 C. quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1/4 C. thinly sliced scallions, including a little of the greens
2 tea. curry powder
salt and freshly milled pepper
1/2 C. cashews, roasted and coarsely chopped
2 zucchini, diced into small cubes
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1. Heat half the oil in a small soup pot, add the finely diced onion, and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, 1/2 teas. curry powder, and 1/4 tea. salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 C. boiling water then lower the heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining Tbs. oil in a 10-inch skillet. Add the chopped onion, zucchini, and remaining 11/2 teas. curry powder. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 C. water, the carrot juice, and 1/2 tea. salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then add peas and scallions and cook for a few minutes more. Stir the vegetables and cashews into the quinoa. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve in soup plates garnished with cilantro.