QUINOA MASALA KHITCHDI

I love this Khitchdi so much I now only make it with quinoa and not rice. The health benefits of quinoa are immense- low glycemic especially when compared to white rice, high in protein and fibre and a delicious nutty flavour and texture. You can add a variety of vegetables to this dish. I generally make it with leftover veggies to empty out the fridge. Serve it with homemade yogurt, some roasted papads and if you’re allowing yourself an indulgence a nice sweet and spicy pickle. This dish satisfies your tastes buds, nutritional needs, time constraints and truth be told quells my cravings for dessert after!

Ingredients Serves 3-4

50 grams white quinoa washed and soaked

50 grams moong dal or yellow mung beans washed and soaked

50 grams lal masoor or red lentil washed and soaked

2 tbspns vegetable oil

1 tbspns ghee or vegetable oil

1 dried bay leaf

1 inch piece of cinnamon

2 green cardamom

1 black cardamom

4 whole cloves

4 whole peppercorns

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

75 grams finely chopped red onion

150 grams chopped plum tomatoes

1 heaped teaspoon garlic and ginger paste

3/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 teaspoon fresh good quality garam masala

2 whole Indian green chillies or jalapeños stalks removed

100 grams cauliflower florets about 3/4 inch pieces

50 grams carrots diced

50 grams of shelled corn

50 grams shelled green peas

lime wedges and cilantro/coriander leaves to garnish

jaggery and salt to taste

yogurt, pickle and roasted papad as accompaniments

Quinoa Masala khichdi

Quinoa Masala Khichdi

METHOD

Drain both the lentils and quinoa in a sieve and reserve.

Heat ghee and oil in a pressure cooker or Dutch oven on high heat and add green and black cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf and sauce 1 minute until fragrant. With slotted spoon remove all the spices except bay leaf and discard. Now add the cumin and cook one minute till it sizzles.

Add onions and saute till soft. Add tomatoes and a teaspoon of salt and cook 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are soft, pulpy and begin to release oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1-2 minutes stirring to prevent burning.

Add lentils, quinoa, garam masala and turmeric and saute 2 minutes. Add enough hot water to cover the lentils and cook 5 minutes on high until it begins to dry.

Stir in veggies, jaggery, 1/2 teaspoon salt and enough water to cover the veggies. Close the pressure cooker, lower heat to medium and cook for 1 whistle or until tender and ready to eat.

Release steam and open cooker. If veggies are still firm and another cup of hot water and pressure cook until tender.

Add more salt, jaggery to taste.

Squeeze lime juice just before you serve the khitchdi.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves .

Quinoa masala khichri with vegetables

Cold spicy noodle salad with veggies, peanuts and sesame

Cold noodle salads are popular across South East Asia and prepared in Japan, Myanmar, China and Japan.
This easy to make salad can be prepared with leftover vegetables, meat of fish and or tofu. You can use a variety of noodles including wheat and rice based products. Wheat Soumen and Buckwheat Soba noodles are ideal but you can also use Chow mien Lo mein, Korean Japchae (sweet potato) and some varieties of rice vermicelli noodles. Ramen noodles and what pasta are not as suitable.

Serves 3

For the sauce-
100-120 grams Soumen or soba noodles
1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger root paste
3 tbspns chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons hot sesame oil or use plain sesame oil and 1 bird chilli finely chopped
1/4 cup light low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of one lime
100 grams diced pan fried tofu or shredded chicken or cooked shrimp

For the vegetables
1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions with stems
1/2 cup peeled and shredded carrots
1/2 cup shelled, steamed edamame beans (cooked green soy beans)
Sprigs of cilantro or chopped Chinese chives and lime wedges to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Set a stock pot of water with a pinch of salt to boil on a high flame.
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a large mixing bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.
Taste for salt and pepper. Add more honey for a sweeter sauce and a hot sauce of your choice for a spicier one.
When the water is hot add the noodles and cook until just done but still a little firm. Follow instructions on the noodle packet as cooking times vary for different kinds of noodles. Drain the noodles and toss immediately with the sauce.
Add all the vegetables and toss again. Adjust for spicy, sweet and salt.
Cover and chill.
Remove from the fridge, add a little liquid to loosen the noodles if required. Garnish with lime and coriander leaves.
Serve cold.

COAL SMOKED POHE/FLATTENED RICE OR DHUVANACHE POHE

Pohe is flattened or parched rice and is available in several forms. As this pohe is not cooked over a flame you need the fine version often called Nylon Poha. Gode Masala or a good Kala Masala can also be used instead of the spices below.

Ingredients 

2 cups of thin, white parched or flattened rice also called Nylon Pohe 

3/4 cup warm water

1.5 teaspoons of freshly roasted and ground dhania powder 

1 tsp freshly roasted and ground jeera or cumin powder, 

½ -1 tsp red chilly powder or cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp haldi powder or turmeric

a tiny pinch of hinga or asafoetida powder

½ tsp salt or to taste 

1 tsp of jaggery or to taste

3/4 cup peeled and finely chopped red onion

1 green chillie very finely chopped and rubbed with a pinch of salt

½ scraped white meat of coconut 

1 tsp finely sliced coconut slices 

Smoking

1 red hot burning piece of coal or coconut shell, 

2 tsp coconut oil

Garnish

2 tbsp roasted crushed peanuts

1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

wedge of lime

Method

Mix all the powdered spices, salt & sugar with 3/4 cup of warm water. Once water reaches room temperature stir into 2 cups of nylon pohe in a heat proof bowl. Mix well with two spoons or your hands.

Mix in the onion, green chilli, scraped coconut & coconut slices. Add more salt & sugar if required. Light a piece of coal and using tongs place it on a piece of foil or a grate. Make a well in the centre of the pohe and set the red hot coal inside the well. Spoon the coconut oil over it & quickly cover the smoke with a lid and let the coal burn 5-6 minutes. The lead should have a small release valve. You can place the coal inside a piece of coconut shell if you are concerned with charcoal having direct contact with your food. Open the lid and remove the coal.

You can garnish this with roasted peanuts and finely chopped coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime. Toss again and serve immediately with tea or coffee, or a beverage such as Shikanji.