Thursday, June 4, 2015

Layered Quinoa Pulao




"Never eat ingredients you can't pronounce. Except quinoa. You must eat quinoa!"


One of the best things about my travels and stays in different parts of India has been my culinary journey. And now in this part of the world it's the same story...always culinary! I love to fuse cooking traditions to make something new that suits our taste. One of the many things I took a liking to was quinoa. The most obvious reasons being: Easy to cook, versatile, and packed with nutrition!

Here's an extremely simple dish which requires only your imagination! I've made a mildy spiced pulao to suit my dietary needs...you go ahead and do your thing! Use a red meat instead of chicken, other veggies or no veggies! Garam masala, ghee....the options are endless!


Ingredients

Top Layer:
Quinoa.......................2 standard cups or as required
Cinnamon..................1 small stick
Pepper corns.............10-12
Green cardamom......2 whole (optional)
Salt to taste
Green coriander for garnish (chopped)
Fried onions for garnish (optional)

Second layer:
Chicken boneless.......4 chicken breasts, cubed, or as required
Onions.......................1 big or two medium, sliced
Garlic........................3 cloves, minced
Ginger.......................1 tsp minced
Green chilli..............acc to taste, finely chopped or minced
Coriander powder...2 tsps
EVOO......................1 1/2 tbsp or as you desire

Third layer
Veggie mix................Green cabbage (finely diced) zucchini, carrot (cubed) Bell pepper (sliced or cubed) amounts as required
Garlic........................3-4 cloves finely chopped or as required
Onion........................1 mediun, finely chopped
EVOO.......................1/1/2 tbsp or as you desire
Salt to taste
Cumin seeds............1/5 tsps
Pepper or red chilli acc to taste
Turmeric..................1/5 or 1/4 tsp, or as required


Put the quinoa to boil. Ratio of quinoa to water: 1:2 (1 quinoa:2 water)
First rinse the quinoa, Then add to the water. Add salt, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper corns.and bring to a boil on a medium burner.  When the water boils, lower heat to simmer and cover with a lid slightly ajar, to prevent a boil-over.
After about 15-20 minutes, check to see if it's done.
Quinoa becomes translucent when done with a tiny white spirally sprout. Bite into a grain to be sure!!
If any water remains, leave to simmer without the cover, until the liquid evaporates.
Remove the cinnamon, cardamom and pepper corns before layering.


For the chicken
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non stick pan. Add the sliced onions. Saute until they become translucent. Lower heat to medium.
Add the garlic and ginger, green chilli and stir well. Cook for a few seconds, then add the coriander powder.
Sprinkle a bit of water and stir. When the coriander releases a nice aroma and the water is almost gone, add the chicken. Mix well. Add salt.
Sprinkle a bit of water and cover and allow to cook on medium low. The chicken will release its own juices so don't over-do the water bit.
When done, remove chicken from the fire.

For vegetables

Heat oil in a non stick pan. Drop in the cumin seeds. When they turn a light brown, add the chopped garlic, ginger. Give one stir, then add the onion. Stir from time to time and when the onions begin to brown at the edges add the cabbage. Mix. Allow to cook for a minute.
Now add the zucchini and carrot. Mix well with the other items. 
Add turmeric, and pepper/red chilli and salt.
Lower heat to medium low. Cover and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes. Check the veggies. 
If needed sprinkle a wee bit of water, though I doubt if this will be required, as zucchini releases a lot of water.
Cook uncovered until liquid is dried and veggies are cooked but not mushy.
Remove from fire.

Now in a flat dish, layer the vegetables at the bottom. The chicken over that.




And finally the quinoa. Garnish with chopped green coriander.


Keep a bit of sliced lemon on the side in case anyone fancies a little bit of tang in their pulao.

Savour the meal!
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