I’ve been reading up on healthy foods and came to hear a lot of good things about quinoa. It is being touted as a healthy grain as it is a rich source of protein and fiber. When cooked, it fluffs up nicely and almost resembles couscous or sabudana (tapioca). What I like about cooking is the ability to experiment with new ingredients and since I had never cooked with quinoa before, I decided to try a salad. I also wanted to understand the quinoa behaviour while cooking. I read that the cooking process is similar to the one used for rice. However, I found that it is better to be conservative on the quinoa to water ratio. The brand of quinoa I suggested a ratio of 1:2 (quinoa:water). When I tried it, the quinoa was too soggy for my taste. Ultimately, I ended up using 1:1 ratio of quinoa to water. Wash the quinoa thoroughly (3 – 4 washes) before cooking as it has a bitter outer coating. This recipe has quite a few ingredients – each adding their own taste and texture. I had made it as a picnic starter and it turned out to be delicious. This recipe has 3 main components: The quinoa salad, the lemon-cumin vinaigrette and the potato basket. This dish can be made just as a salad and served with a dash of lemon, the vinaigrette is multipurpose and can be used with other salads, and last but not least, the potato baskets can be stuffed with a filling of your choice. In short this is my triple bonanza post, three recipes in one dish! Needless to say, experimenting with these combinations to create a dish was a deelightful experience 🙂
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 40 mins
- For salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (please see tips section of this post)
- 1/2 can black beans
- 1/2 can chickpeas
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
- For vinaigrette
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- fine zest of half a lemon(optional)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- For potato basket/aloo katori
- 1 medium potato, shredded on the largest side of a box grater
- 1/2 tsp oil
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Salt as per taste
Method for salad and vinaigrette:
- Wash the quinoa thoroughly and place it in a pan with a 1:1 ratio of water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, put on a lid and turn the heat to low. Cook till all the water is absorbed. Take it off the heat and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Fluff well with a fork.
- Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Prepare the vinaigrette only after the quinoa is cooked.
- Now combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Add half the quantity of the prepared vinaigrette into the salad bowl and mix well. Let the salad rest for about 20 mins at room temperature before serving.
- The salad can be refrigerated overnight and the extra vinaigrette can be used at the time of serving the next day. The vinaigrette is essential as it adds a great acidity to the salad. If you do not have the ingredients for the vinaigrette, then just squeeze some lemon juice on top to balance the salad flavours.
Method for potato basket/aloo katori
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Grate them on the largest openings on a box grater.
- Squeeze the grated potato to remove excess moisture. The more water you can remove now, the better.
- Now combine the remaining ingredients with the potatoes in a bowl. Do this quickly as the potato will start to oxidize.
- Lightly grease a muffin tray. Scoop some of the mixture into each section of the tray.
- Working outwards from the center, press down to create a flat base and then push the mixture up the sides of the wall to create a bowl shape.
- Bake in an oven at 180 Celsius for 20 minutes. At that stage check if the baskets are golden brown. If not, continue baking, checking every 3 – 5 minutes.
- Remove the baskets from the muffin tray. You can serve them immediately.
- For those staying in Singapore, I used the Origins Health food Organic Quinoa pack and I did not cook according to the instructions on the pack as it made the quinoa too mushy for my liking.
- For an interesting perspective on cooking quinoa and reading instructions about the same, give this a read http://foodbod.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/dont-cook-quinoa-as-it-says-on-the-pack/
- I used canned versions of the chickpeas and black beans. You can soak them overnight in the usual manner and make them too.
- If you refrigerate the potato baskets, then warm them slightly in an oven so that they get a bit crisp before serving the next day.