12 Aug 2012

Recipe 2: Quinoa PowerPuff - My experiments with pots and pans

For a vegetarian, I have always wondered whether I get enough protein in my food to help repair and restore my muscles after  intense workouts, especially long distance running. This quest for a healthy, nutritious and complete protein diet got me searching for various grains, which I chanced upon in an health food and organic store in Hong Kong. 

Here I discovered many products like Quinoa, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millets and wholewheat couscous to name a few. I followed this up with a quick search on its nutritional benefits. And voila! most of them were high fibre (good for those on weight loss goals and to keep unhealthy fat at bay!) and a great package of essential amino acids (the things from which protein is synthesised) and minerals like magnesium (which helps ease muscle cramps). 

Obviously. I added them to my grocery list. I was also tempted to make my own version of these grains to tickle my Indian taste buds, rather than just follow international recipes. Chef Priya's recipes also mean it is about quick cooking with least effort. No grinding, no pastes, just throwing in some spices and curry powder. 

Here is my own version of Quinoa with lentils and vegetables. This is best served with mint/ corriander yogurt chutney! I call it Quinoa PowerPuff. My personal experience - Its fingerlickicious and a power food! 

Quinoa PowerPuff


Quinoa - 100mg

Brown Lentils - Half can of Westbrae Natural Organic (useful as it is precooked and canned). Alternatively, use one from your local grocer (200gms) washed well, soaked and steamed!

Garlic - 2 small pods chopped fine
Ginger - Small piece chopped fine
Onion - 1 large red, chopped fine
Tomato - 1 big red, chopped fine
Mixed vegetables (green peas, carrots, corn) - 100 gms
Green chilli - 1 chopped fine

Extra virgin olive oil - 2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaves - For garnish, chopped fine
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tablespoon
Dry mango powder (Amchur powder) - 1 teaspoon
Chana masala or Rajma masala powder - 2 teaspoon (less if you prefer less spicy)
Salt- 1/2 teaspoon. Remember that  precooked canned lentils already contains some sea salt so its always better to add less, taste and then add, if required!


Quinoa - Wash quinoa well using a strainer (tip - I use a tea strainer for this). Read here on why it is important to wash quinoa well. Add 2 cups (200ml) water and cook on stove with uncovered lid. Stir intermittently. After 10 minutes when the quinoa boils up, turn off the stove and just cover with a lid. Quinoa absorbs water and swells and become fluffy. Quite delightful to see!

Lentils in vegetables mixture - In a pan (kadhai), add 2 teaspoon extra virgin Olive Oil and throw in the cumin seeds. When they splatter, add chopped garlic, ginger, chillies, onions and sautee till they turn brown (I love this aroma). 

Then add the diced tomato, mixed vegetables, and cooked lentils, turmeric powder, amchur powder and chana masala powder and salt, in no particular order. Simmer on low heat till well cooked by adding a bit of water (not too much water, or else it will become soupy).  

Once done, add the fluffy quinoa and stir well. Garnish with  fresh green corriander.

Mint and coriander yogurt chutney - Fresh mint leaves cleaned and destalked (a handful), fresh coriander leaves (a handful), 2 green chillies (small), a small piece of chopped ginger, salt (to taste), raw cane sugar (1 teaspoon). Grind all of the above in a mixer and add fresh low fat yogurt to the above. You can add a bit more salt later once mixed if needed.


Quinoa - In a nutshell, Quinoa is a powerhouse of fibre, protein and essential  vitamins,minerals. More on its goodness read here http://www.livestrong.com/article/385384-quinoa-nutrition-analysis/

Lentils - High in Fiber, Cholesterol and Fat Free Food and a Good Source of Iron

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