Now-a-days, one of the most common challenges one faces with a busy lifestyle is finding time to stay fit. Even though most of us know the dos and don’ts of staying healthy it is hard to keep up with them. At such times, quinoa can come to your rescue. Quinoa (pronounced as keen-va) technically is a seed but it is grouped with the grains to make it easier to relate. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian quinoa is a great ingredient to incorporate in your diet. It is high in protein, it is also wheat and gluten-free and is packed with vitamins and minerals. So, if you are sensitive towards wheat or gluten this is a great product to have.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Served: Hot or Cold
It also helps one keep full for a longer period of time. In addition, it is high in iron, potassium and magnesium. In a nutshell, there are lots of reasons to think about incorporating quinoa in your diet.
This week I have for you a quick and easy quinoa recipe which is perfect to pack for lunch and you can serve it either hot or cold. I am making “Chinese fried Quinoa” and “Chicken quinoa wrap”. I have added minced chicken in my Chinese quinoa wrap recipe but vegetarians could just leave out the meat part.
Now, the packet instructions say to add 2 parts water to one cup Quinoa and that ends up in a soggy, mushy quinoa (I learnt it the hard way!). A good combination is to add 1 and 1/2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. The good part about cooking quinoa is that you can add more water at the end, as it is always better to start with less so, later on, you can add more. One can make whole batch of these on a Sunday night and use it throughout the week. Also, make sure you store quinoa in an air tight container.
Method to cook Quinoa:
Soak quinoa for about 10 minutes in room temperature water before using it. Next, get it in to a fine mesh strainer and drain it out until the water runs clear. It is really important to strain quinoa because it has a residue on top of it and if you skip this step your quinoa will taste bitter.
Tip: You can store the cooked quinoa in an air tight container and keep it in the fridge. During the week you can put some on top of a salad or a soup, make a wrap or add some veggies in it and take it as a lunch box to work.
Mix one cup quinoa with 1.5 cups water in a saucepan until it comes to a boil, then keep the flame on low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. You can also cook it in a pressure cooker or a rice cooker like I did and get the same results. The cooked quinoa will look translucent and the texture will be fluffy.
You could also use vegetable or chicken stock to cook quinoa for more flavors.
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 1.5 cups water(Room Temperature)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup boiled peas
- 2 medium sized carrots(chopped)
- Spring onions (chopped)
- Ginger & garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 green chilies (finely chopped)
- 2 medium sized onions (finely chopped)
- 1 and ½ tablespoon Soya Sauce
- 1 tablespoon (Red chili sauce)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Minced Chicken (optional)
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan on medium flame and sauté onions, ginger & garlic. Add in carrots and peas and cook them till they soften up a bit.
Push the vegetables on to one side of the pan and pour in the eggs mixture in the pan. Make sure you keep moving them along as we don’t want to burn them.
Now, pour in the soya sauce and red chili sauce (according to your preference) and also add a pinch of salt. Time to toss in the star of this recipe,(our cooked quinoa) into the mix! Give it a few gentle mixes with a fork and top it up with fresh spring onions. Your Chinese style quinoa is ready to go!
To make the wrap, take a roti (chapatti) or a tortilla, add some mayonnaise on the base and fill it with this vegetable mixture, add your favorite cheese or if you are allergic to wheat wrap it in a lettuce for that extra crunch! You can really get creative with this one. I have added some minced chicken in the wrap along with some onion rings.
So, now you have two quick and easy quinoa lunch ideas! Also, if you are not into quinoa that much, not a problem just add rice instead!
I hope you give these ideas a try and let me know how it goes in comments below. I would love to see your version of this dish and you can post your food pictures on Salt Paprika’s facebook page.