Friday, September 5, 2014

Quinoa Pulao ~ Spinach quinoa

The newest healthy ingredient in my kitchen is avocado oil. Have any of you used it yet ?  I found it in a local health food store at first and purchased it, then noticed even my regular grocery has begun to stock this oil. Since this oil is extracted from the fruit, it has the same heart healthy benefits and the ability to lower blood pressure etc. Also it is one of the oils that has high heat capacity, the label on the bottle claims 500 deg F making it ideal for cooking. And the last part, it has a very subtle taste that makes it easy to use in a variety of recipes without interfering with the taste of the final dish. I have been using it regularly in my cooking and baking these days and am loving it so far :) 

Another healthy ingredient that has always been an essential part of my kitchen is quinoa. These days I have begun to use it much more often than I did in the past. Every week at least once if not more times, I end up using this grain like seed in some dish or the other.  Recently I tried a variation of pulao with a combination of quinoa and spinach that quickly became a favorite of ours. It's quick, easy and flavorful. It also packs well in the the lunchbox :)

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and method to make spinach quinoa
1 and 1/2 cups quinoa
1 onion cut fine (pyaaz)
1 large tomato cut fine = 1 cup of cut pieces ( tamatar)
2 cups packed spinach leaves ( palak)
1 large carrot cut into small pieces (gajar)
1 cup baby Lima beans (cooked until soft ) ( optional)
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 Thai or Indian variety green chilies cut fine or to taste ( hara mirch)
1 tsp garlic ginger paste ( adrak/ lehsun)
Salt to taste (namak)
3/4 tsp red chili powder ( or to taste) ( lal mirch)
3/4 tsp garam masala ( or to taste)
To make your own garam masala check out this post

Rinse quinoa thoroughly in cold water and drain. Place in a heavy bottomed pan with 3 cups of water and cook until soft. Keep this quinoa aside.

Prep the vegetables and keep aside. If you are using baby lima beans, cook in a little water until soft and keep aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan, add cumin seeds, when the seeds sizzle, add green chilies and stir once or twice. Then add ginger garlic paste and stir a few times. Add onion and saute until onions are translucent.

Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft and mushy. Add carrots and Lima beans is using, salt to taste, garam masala and chili powder and stir a few times. Sprinkle a little water and close with a lid and cook on low for just a few minutes until the carrots soften.

Add spinach and stir a little until the spinach wilts. Add cooked quinoa, and mix gently and allow to heat on low or medium low for a minute or so.

Remove from heat and serve hot with curry of choice or some raita and chips. 

Serves approx 3

If you are looking for quinoa recipes here are a few more,

Quinoa Khichdi ~ Peanut flavored quinoa

Quinoa mung dosai ~ Savory crepes

Lemon Vegetable Quinoa
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