Quinoa. It’s one of those words that people are afraid to say in public, because they have no idea how to pronounce it. If you’re one of those folks, allow me to assist you: KEEN-wah. :) Doesn’t it sound romantic?
Quinoa. Quinoa. It has a nice ring to it.
Once upon a time, when I had more money than time (now, it’s the opposite), I was really into buyig these vegan Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods soups to take with me as work lunches. My favorite variety was this rice and curry pilaf thingy (it wasn’t really a soup), that was the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and spicy. The flavors were exotic and kind of transported me to somewhere between India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There were sweet raisins, crunchy slivered almonds, pungent onions…the whole combination was strange to me, but surprisingly addictive.
Sadly, I recently searched the Right Foods website for that rice and curry cup, and it appears that they don’t make it anymore. :( Then I saw Puja’s version of curried quinoa here, and presto! That’s when I made up my mind to try my own version of Dr. McDougall’s rice and curry pilaf with quinoa instead of rice.
Before we make the curried quinoa, allow me to briefly walk you through the cooking of quinoa. I think you’ll find this post on thekitchn.com helpful, if you’re just learning how to cook quinoa, like I was this week.
First, you’re going to want to rinse your quinoa really, really well–like at least 2 minutes kind of well–in a fine mesh strainer, rubbing the quinoa together with your fingers. I don’t have a fine mesh strainer. But, I do have a kitchen towel laid over a pasta strainer, which works beautifully as an alternative. (If you use the kitchen towel, use a dull knife to scrape the rinsed quinoa off the towel into your saucepan.)
Quinoa seeds have a very bitter coating, which can easily be removed (thankfully), through vigorous rinsing.
If you are using pre-rinsed quinoa (unlike me), you are going to want to cook your quinoa with water at a 1:2 ratio–meaning for every 1 cup quinoa, add 2 cups water.
If you’ve just now rinsed your quinoa (like me), and you’re not going to wait for your quinoa to dry, just add 1 and 3/4 cups of water to your 1 cup of quinoa now, instead of 2 cups of water. I went ahead and added 1 teaspoon of olive oil in there as well, to keep everything from getting too sticky. (FYI: 1 cup rinsed wet quinoa + 1 and 3/4 cup water = 3 cups cooked quinoa)
Turn your stove up to medium-high heat. When your quinoa mixture starts boiling, turn down the heat to medium-low and cover. Allow it to simmer for about 13 to 15 minutes. When it’s done, your quinoa should smell amazing and look something like this:
And then, when you’re really done, it will look something like this:
I hope you give this a try, and let me know how it turns out. :)
Have a great weekend!
Vegan Curried Quinoa
- fine strainer
- medium saucepan
- medium skillet
- 1 cup dry quinoa (cooked according to package instructions in 2 cups of boiling water, which makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa)
- 3/4 cups chopped white onion (about 1/2 of a medium white onion)
- 1-2 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or cardomom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach (chopped)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- In a large skillet or frying pan, saute chopped onion with garlic in olive oil on medium high heat until onions are nearly transparent.
- Next, add raisins, water, half of your cooked quinoa, and seasonings. Gently stir until everything is well-incorporated.
- Add remaining half of your cooked quinoa along with your spinach. When spinach has wilted to your desired consistency, add cilantro and almonds.
- Remove from heat, and serve.