A quick post today on Coconut Quinoa, a delicious option for those hurried weeknights. Coconut Rice is one of Tamil Nadu’s most delectable dishes, and one I was introduced to when I married a Tamilian. Tamilians love their rice dishes, and with good reason: Coconut Rice, Tomato Rice, Tamarind Rice, Brinjal (Eggplant Rice), Sesame-Seed Rice, Lemon Rice, Curd-Rice are all not just easy and quick meals to make, they are also incredibly healthy.
Rice dishes are also a staple for picnics or travel or any event that requires food to be served and eaten with minimum fuss. Although you can always team up your prepared-rice dish with some sambar or kootu, you don’t really need it: some crispy, fried poppadums or vadams (lentil, rice or sago crackers) and you are all set.
I’ve blogged a couple of versions of Coconut Rice before (one made the traditional way, with shredded coconut, and another made with coconut milk). I also have a Thai version. But this time, I decided to try making my Coconut Rice with another grain that’s fabulously healthy and one of the richest sources of protein around: quinoa.
If you’ve read my quinoa recipes before, you know I ask you to always rinse the quinoa thoroughly in running water before you use it. That’s a small but important step and can make all the difference between a good quinoa dish and a terrible one. The rinsing is essential to strip off the saponin, a natural coating on the quinoa, that can make the grain taste bitter.
On with the recipe now. Enjoy the long Fourth of July weekend, all!
1 1/2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed in a strainer, under running water
2 1/4 cup water
1 cup shredded coconut
10-12 cashews, chopped into pieces
1 tbsp chana dal (bengal gram dal)
1 tbsp udad dal (black gram dal)
A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
2 green chilies, slit through the middle
1 tsp vegetable oil, like canola
Salt to taste
Place the quinoa and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until most of the water is absorbed. Then slap on a lid, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook another 15 minutes.
In a larger saucepan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and asafetida. When they sputter, add the curry leaves, the dals, the nuts, and the green chilies.
Stir-fry until the nuts and dals are lightly golden-brown– don’t burn or they’ll get hard and unpleasant.
Add the coconut and quickly stir-fry until it takes on a golden hue. You don’t want to leave the coconut unattended because it will burn fast.
Add the quinoa and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly. Garnish with some coriander leaves, if desired. I served the Coconut Quinoa with the dish I posted earlier this week, Lima Bean and Mushroom Stew.