I’ve never put together this particular combination together before. I was adding spices as I went along. The combination of the brown rice and red lentils go pretty well together because they cook for the same amount of time. The red lentils almost disappear, adding a richness to the texture of the rice. It had a nutty flavor from the rice and a touch of sweetness from the raisins that goes really well with the cardamom flavors. A great rice dish that goes with so many proteins like pork chops, gola kabobs (that’s how we ate them) and as a light meal by itself.
As a dietitian, I get asked about food related things all the time. Usually at parties or social situations. “Do you have a special diet to reduce gas?” “What should I cook for my kids who are allergic to peanuts, dairy, gluten and corn?” My personal favorite, “I don’t like to exercise but do you have a diet for me to lose about 20 pounds?” Contrary to popular belief, dietitians don’t go around making up “diets” or prescribing magic food pills. It’s still a good idea to eat things in moderation and to exercise regularly but I guess that advice is just not sexy enough. (I feel a rant coming on….)
In the last several years people have been diagnosed with a lot more food allergies or intolerances. Gluten (the protein found in wheat, rhy, spelt and bulgar and wheat by-products) allergies are becoming very common as well as various nut allergies and a hyper sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup. A typical western diet is very high in gluten and processed sugars. There are two simple solutions to these dietary dilemmas: Learn to eat and actually try a variety of foods and cook something! Whenever we buy pre-packaged foods, we deliver control of our life to someone else and it costs more, not only the food but long-term health related costs. I know sometimes it can’t be avoided but I’m not willing to trade convenience for the sake good taste or health!…..official END of rant here.
Most people who live in the U.S. have never thought of cooking tapioca (which is actually a starch from the Cassava plant) in savory dishes. It is reserved mostly for puddings or the ubiquitous “frog eye salad” (not really a salad but a Jello concoction). Tapioca can be eaten in a variety of savory dishes. Here’s a Sobudhana kitchuri ( Sobudhana means Tapioca and Kitchuri basically means a “hodge podge” or “mixture”) made out of tapioca. I made a kitchuri out of Quinoa not too long ago and this is very similar. It’s a tasty alternative to rice or pasta and it’s totally gluten free and vegan. Besides the soaking of the tapioca (just do it overnight) everything comes together in 8 minutes. I timed it!
When I am tired and hungry, I am sorry to say I get a little cranky (my family would say a lot cranky). We had a really long week and last night all I wanted to do was relax and hangout, maybe even go to bed early…..but I was hungry. I was not going to eat cereal or a salad. I wanted something warm and delicious and someone else to maybe cook it for me or bring it to me and maybe fan me whilst I ate. Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. Since I didn’t feel like chopping a bunch of stuff and I had some Quinoa on hand, I decided to make a Kitchuri out of it. Kitchuri is a pretty traditional Bengali dish and I blogged about it a few weeks ago. I wanted to make an even easier version out of Quinoa. Because Quinoa is technically a seed and not a grain, it contains a lot of protein and that meant I could be even lazier and not have to make something else to go with it to make it into a complete protein. If you want to learn all about Quinoa, check out one of my favorite dietitian bloggers, Nadia and her latest post here.
The only chopping I had to do was 2 tablespoons of Cilantro. I could handle that. It was tasty, it was quick and it was delicious. Wins my vote for the relief of crankiness!
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup Quinoa (I used the brown and not the red)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 green chili, seeded and sliced length ways
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
pinch of salt to taste
Wash and rinse the Quinoa. Let it soak for about 10-15 minutes before boiling in 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt until all the water is absorbed. Take off heat and fluff with a fork. In a larger skillet dry roast the cashews and sesame seeds until nice and golden. Should only take about a minute or two. Take out of the pan and set aside. Add oil to the pan and when it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and black mustard stir fry for a few seconds or until the seeds start jumping around. Add the peas, green chili and the quinoa and stir fry for about a couple of minutes. Add the cashews, sesame seeds and turmeric along with any additional salt if needed and stir fry until the turmeric is incorporated and the quinoa is a nice light golden-yellow color. Zest the lemon over the quinoa and add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and the chopped cilantro. Toss and serve. It’s delicious!