Nutty and fragrant, this Coconut Quinoa is a healthier take on one of South India's most delicious rice dishes, Coconut Rice.
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 about my south Indian style Coconut Rice before. I also have a Thai red curry paste. 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 ½ cups quinoa (thoroughly rinsed in a strainer, under running water)
- 2 ¼ cup water
- 1 cup coconut (shredded)
- 10-12 cashews (chopped)
- 20 peanuts
- 1 tablespoon chana dal (bengal gram dal)
- 1 tablespoon urad dal (black gram dal)
- A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
- 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 green chili peppers (slit through the middle)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 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.