Monday, February 21, 2011

Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas

I've had the original version of this recipe bookmarked since I bought the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook several months ago because I love quinoa and am always looking for new ways to prepare it. This dish was originally intended as a side, but I turned it into a main course by adding a can of chickpeas, which pair superbly with the mix of spices in this recipe. Although most grains should be washed before cooking, this is particularly important with quinoa, as the outside of the grain is naturally coating with saponins, which are bitter and soapy-tasting and make the quinoa unpalatable. I had parsley on hand already instead of cilantro so I used that, although I cilantro would pair much better with this Indian-inspired dish. The spices in this dish are quite mild and a great way to introduce this palate of spices to those who are not familiar with them; if you like bolder flavors, increase the amount of each spice, particularly the cayenne (or fresh chile), if using. I served this alongside the profoundly simply, yet spectacularly delicious, Dijon-Roasted Cauliflower for a quick, healthy, vegetarian/vegan dinner.

Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
serves 3 to 4 as a main course or 6 to 8 as a side dish

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/2 fresh green chile, minced, or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it with cold water. Drain well.

2. In a heavy saucepan, warm the oil and saute the onions on medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger, chile or cayenne, and the quinoa and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, and salt and cook for another minute, stirring.

3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the peas and chickpeas, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender, the chickpeas are heated through, and the water has been absorbed.

4. Before serving, fluff with a fork and add the cilantro, if you wish.

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