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Quinoa from Indian farmers : 3 recipes using Indian Quinoa


I never used Quinoa in my home cooking earlier because we always had Amaranth grains (pseudo grains) that make a much better choice if you consider the nutrient value available closer home. Imported Quinoa doesn't make sense when we have the super grain Amaranth growing abundantly in our country. Eating locally available food is not just to minimize the carbon footprint but also to support the local farmers who must get buyers for whatever they grow.


But then in the last few years Quinoa was tagged as a super food so aggressively that the prices skyrocketed and some Indian farmers started thinking of growing it too. Last year I got to know that CFTRI helped many farmers to grow Quinoa and I appreciate the initiative as the farmers do need some cash crops in their crop rotation cycle so they can sustain farming better. So when I virtually met a farmer who is growing and selling Quinoa, I bought some for myself and started using it frequently for my everyday meals.

I normally eat soups and khichdi a lot for my everyday meals and quinoa works wonderfully for such meals, just like any other millet or rice varieties. Quinoa cooks so quickly (20 minutes) and can absorb a lot of water while cooking, making it lighter for a meal. A cup of quinoa absorbs about 3.5 cup of water but can be cooked with lesser water if you want a bite to the cooked grains.


I normally cook half a cup of quinoa with a hint of salt and keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. Adding this cooked quinoa to my soups and other meals is so much easier.

Here I am sharing three ideas to cook healthy balanced meals with quinoa.

Quinoa and sweet potato burger 
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This sweet potato and quinoa burger is a meal in itself and you don't need any burger bun with this. But you can use it for making a vegetarian burger too.


I tried this recipe last year when I dug out a few of my sweet potatoes and loved it so much that it has become a regular at home. I have tweaked my initial recipe to get more texture and flavour into the burger and to make it easier to cook too. Incidentally this recipe uses up all the finger thin sweet potatoes that I dig from my garden.

I generally boil sweet potatoes with skin in pressure cooker in the night and let it stay on the kitchen platform (without opening the cooker lid) till next morning when I mash the sweet potatoes along with cooked quinoa to make the burgers for lunch. This saves a lot of time.

ingredients
(makes 6-8 burger patties)

1 cup of boiled, cooled, chopped and mashed sweet potatoes (with skin)
1 cup of cooked quinoa 
3 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tbsp or more minced ginger
2 tsp minced green chillies
pinch or garam masala
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp anardana powder (or use a little amchoor powder) 
1 tsp ghee or a little more per burger patty to be shallow fried 

procedure 

It is important to use cold (boiled) sweet potatoes for this recipe to get the right texture of quinoa burger patty. Boiled and refrigerated sweet potatoes and quinoa work really well for this recipe.

Mash everything in the ingredient list, adjust seasoning and make medium sized patties. Shallow fry on a hot griddle and serve with salad or as a part of the regular burger. I like crumbling some feta cheese over it and some onion rings too.

The burger patty made with sweet potatoes and quinoa is quite moist and has a sweetish taste that feels really good with walnuts and feta cheese over it. Some rucola does wonders to this meal too.


I served a little Star fruit chutney on the side that actually tasted great with it.

chunky Quinoa and tomato soup 
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This is one of the soups that can be had hot or at room temperature. I have made it several times and it can accommodate some baby spinach, some zucchini, green peas or even some cabbage making the soup a wholesome satisfying meal. Of course it cooks within 20 minutes even if you cook quinoa and boil eggs on the side burners.


ingredients 
(2-3 servings for meal)

1/3 cup quinoa (cooked to become 1 cup)
500 gm ripe tomatoes diced in small pieces (with the skin)
2 tsp butter or ghee
5-6 fat garlic cloves chopped fine
1/2 tsp roasted chilli flakes
a spring of rosemary and a spring of Marjoram or any herb that you like
salt and pepper to taste
One hard boiled egg per serving 
spot of sugar to balance if needed

I usually add some more vegetables to this soup, in this version a small zucchini was diced and added. Adjust seasonings according to the vegetables you use.

procedure 

Heat the butter with chopped garlic and chilli flakes and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Tip in the diced tomatoes at once and stir to mix.

Add the salt and cook covered for a couple of minutes. Smash the tomatoes as they start softening.

Add the herbs and zucchini and cook till the vegetables are cooked and become mushy. You can liquidize everything if you want a smooth soup but I generally keep it chunky for ourselves.

Add the cooked quinoa, balance seasoning and add some stock or water if required. Simmer for a minute and serve hot with boiled or fried eggs on top, or reserve the cooked soup for later use.


Quinoa in coconut milk served with stir fried vegetables 
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This coconut milk quinoa tastes really good with Thai herbs or with a south Indian treatment. This recipe is inspired by south Indian coconut milk rice.

ingredients 

3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 springs of curry leaves 
salt and pepper to taste

for the stir fry vegetables 

500 gm vegetables of your choice
1 tsp sesame oil or ghee 
2 tsp sambar masala or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

procedure 

Mix the coconut milk with the cooked quinoa and simmer till thickened and sticky.

Heat the ghee and stir fry the vegetables with salt and pepper till done to your choice. Sprinkle sambar powder and cook till everything gets nicely seasoned and a little spicy.


Serve the stir fried vegetables over coconut milk quinoa and serve it hot or warm. I generally add some eggs to this meal too. Eggs are used a lot in my kitchen you can see. And there is always a large heap of vegetables on my platter too.

Hoping you will try these Quinoa recipes and will try and get local sources of quinoa and all the food ingredients that you use.

Quinoa from Indian farmers : 3 recipes using Indian Quinoa

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