March 3, 2014

Mint flavored Quinoa Pulao

So, here we are.. with a fresh start to another week.. My weekends are the busiest with a load of things to juggle around other than the regular stuffs that I do through-out the week. Managing both the kids at home full-time, shuttling my older one to her music & dance classes, stocking up vegetables, fruits and other provisions for the week, a week load of laundry, and other sundries... well, two days had never been enough for my never-ending list of chores!! And, that's one reason I don't get to blog during the weekends. But, weekdays are different. With VJ & my older one are busy at their respective places, I get lot of time, trying new recipes, clicking and blogging them away to glory!! 

This time I have a new recipe for you, that I had been wanting to try for so long. I always make mint pulao at home, atleast once in a week and is a big hit with my family. This recipe is very similar to mint pulao, just that rice is replaced with quinoa & peas with frozen edamame. Just as I had expected, the quinoa pulao turned out to be so good and flavorful. 

Cooking perfectly fluffy quinoa comes with practice. I still remember.. my first time cooking quinoa for a salad, it turned mushy, the second time it turned watery and I had to drain the excess water. But with time, I have learnt how to make "perfectly-perfect" fluffy quinoa. Though quinoa can be easily cooked in 15-20 mins, it also needs a good 10-15 mins to cool-off. Here's how you do it: Combine 1 part of quinoa with 2 parts water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low-medium, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Let it cool for 10 mins and fluff it up with a fork. Also, remember to "always" rinse quinoa before cooking as there is a bitter coating on the tiny seeds that needs to be washed off.

Both quinoa and edamame are powerhouse of nutrition, protein-rich especially for all vegetarians & vegans out there! Quinoa "the super-grain of the future" is also rich in fiber, iron and other minerals that your body is in need of. On the other hand, one cup of edamame has 6 percent of the recommended daily intake of all the nutrients except vitamin D. You'll also gain 20 to 40 percent of the daily intake of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, folate and vitamin K. Now, how cool is this recipe featuring both these ingredients?!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 10 mins
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 4-6

Uncooked quinoa - 1.5 cups
Onion - 1 no (Medium sized, chopped)
Ginger - 1 inch (grated)
Shelled edamame - 1/2 cup (frozen)
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Cilantro leaves - 1/4 cup
Thai green chilli - 1 no
Bay leaf - 1 no
Cardamom pods - 1 no
Cloves - 2 nos
Oil/Ghee - 2 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsp, or to taste
Cashews - few (optional)

Rinse quinoa in water for a couple of times, drain and keep it aside.

Grind mint leaves, cilantro leaves, green chilli into a fine paste (using as little water as possible). To this paste, add water to measure about 3 cups and keep it aside.

In a thick bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of oil. When hot, fry bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves until fragrant. To this, add onion, grated ginger and saute until onion turns soft and translucent.

Now, add 3 cups of measured mint+water mixture, quinoa, salt and give it a good mix. When the water starts to boil, close the saucepan with a lid and let it simmer on low-medium heat. After 15-20 mins, switch off the stove. Leave the saucepan undisturbed for another 10-15 mins.

Fluff with a fork and garnish with roasted cashews. Hot & tasty quinoa pulao is ready to be served!

- Quinoa expands as it cooks, so use a saucepan large enough to accommodate. A 2-quart saucepan for one to two cups of uncooked quinoa is a good size.
- Don't take off the lid while the quinoa is cooking — this lets the steam out and affects the cooking time.
- Do not mix / peek / open the lid while the quinoa is cooking.
- While the quinoa pulao is good all by itself, a cool cucumber raita doesn't hurt ;)

- Sending this off to Made with Love Mondays!
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