I like practical food. Food that’s easy to make, easy to brown-bag, and that doesn’t take you on a trip to the market each time you decide to make a meal. Because truth is that even those of us who love to cook usually don’t have hours to spend each day in the kitchen stirring up fancy meals.
But being busy and cooking on a tight schedule– or even a tight budget– should never be an excuse to eat sloppy or eat unhealthy. In fact, it can be just the perfect challenge to jog that creative muscle.
My Quinoa Crepes with Cilantro Hummus are a perfect example of practical food. These are a dressed-up– and even healthier– version of the humble Indian dosa and chutney. They are gluten-free and packed with delicious protein from three wonder foods: quinoa, brown rice, and legumes. And together they create a food experience that will leave you– and those you cook for– begging for more.
The Cilantro Hummus is actually a chutney, not unlike a cilantro chutney, with the unexpected goodness of chickpeas. It is smooth and creamy with no added fat except a little coconut milk. Most people seem to love hummus but even if you don’t, this recipe will convert you in no time at all.
This is also practical food because the Quinoa Crepe or dosa requires an incredibly short soak time– just three hours– despite the fact that it contains brown rice. To shorten the soak time, I resort to a trick you might have already read about in Holy Cow!’s archives from the time I posted my Brown Rice Dosa recipe– parboiling the rice in the microwave. I then soak the quinoa and the legumes along with the rice and the hot water. Et voila! Dosa batter in three hours. This is the kind of recipe I make on a Sunday afternoon and then refrigerate for hot, lacy, golden dosas all week. The Hummus refrigerates well too.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup udad dal (black gram dal)
- 1/4 cup tuvar dal (pigeon peas)
- 1/4 cup poha, or flattened rice (available in Indian groceries or online)
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves (you can use mint if you don't like coriander or cilantro)
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 green chili pepper, like jalapeno or serrano
- Salt to taste
Place the rice in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with at least two inches of water, and zap in the microwave for 7 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the same bowl and add more water if needed to cover the grains and legumes by at least 2 inches. Set it all aside to soak for three hours.
- Drain the legumes and grains and place in a blender with just enough water to keep the blades moving. Blend into a smooth paste. Your dosa batter should have the consistency of a pancake batter minus the lumps.
- Add salt and mix in thoroughly. Remove to a bowl.
- To make the dosas, heat a griddle until water throw on the surface sizzles and evaporates. Using a ladle with a rounded bottom, place about 1/4 cup of the dosa batter in the center of the griddle. Using the bottom of the ladle, start spreading the batter into a round, moving outward from the center in a spiraling motion. Your dosa should be rather thin and crepe-like.
- Sprinkle a few drops of oil around the edges of the crepe. This helps the edge brown and become all crispy, and it also helps release the crepe. Let the bottom cook until golden-brown. If your crepe is thin enough, you don’t really need to cook the other side, but if it is thick, flip it over and cook another minute.
- Serve hot and refrigerate any remaining dosa batter.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend into a smooth paste, adding water if necessary.
- Remove to a bowl and serve sprinkled with some paprika.