15 October 2014

Quinoa Pilaf with raw papaya,red potato & mixed vegetable


"Hail,O grainy Keen,the Mother of all grains,hail, our health,our life,our hope.To thee we beg two unhealthy ,infused with unwanted calories , immune to exercises,burdened with doctor's bill.Turn our misery into mystery I mean history ,bless us & heal,we sincerely appeal.Amen !!"

Well,now you can relax those eyebrows and pause racking your brain because what you just read above was nothing but a prayer .I mean,that's how we say grace before meals nowadays.Because nowadays, we have become brand & grand loyal to none other than the mother of all grains,the powerhouse of multivitamins & minerals & treasure trove of multi-health benefits,"The Quinoa,the great."Pronounced as "Keen-wah ". Though I love to call it "Queen-waaah".Yahoo Grinning

We've been introduced to Mother Quinoa lately ,before that ,I've never ever heard of anything like this but recently it has got a "Super-duper-bumper powerfood status" in the food-o-sphere.Needless to say, I became an agent 007 to trace the past,present and future story & glory of this grain.I didn't have to work that hard, as all the information I needed was already mentioned at the back of the food packet itself (the one I bought).So,if you don't know either or wanna know more about it.Allow me to enlighten you.May I?


Quinoa dates back to some 5000 years approx,grown bountiful in the mighty Andes mountains of South America in the Inca civilization.Quinoa was so significant to their diet that every year,the mighty king of Inca ,planted the first row of Quinoa with a solid gold spade.It was also considered to be quite sacred and used in various religious rituals.According to WHFoods, Quinoa “was the gold of the Incas” because they believed it increased the stamina and the quick recovery time of their warriors. It was even used to treat liver and urinary tract problems, tuberculosis, appendicitis, and altitude and motion sickness to name a few.

 However,what truly made it extraordinary in the food kingdom is that it is a complete protein-packed grain that supplies all nine essential amino acids in a balanced pattern unlike whole wheat or oats etc.As a matter of fact,though it grows as a grain,the edible part is actually a seed.It is also called pseudo cereal and is closely related to the family of beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds. Interesting right !


Nutritional benefits:
  • Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, manganese,lysine,phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E .
  • Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains that makes one eat less and feel full longer and thereby helps in weight loss,relieves constipation,prevents hemorrhoids and keeps digestive system healthy.  
  • It is low on the Glycemic Index scale (no blood sugar spikes & steady energy),contains flavonoids ,is anti-inflammatory,lowers cholesterol,blood pressure,balances sugar and prevents many chronic diseases.
  • Quinoa also provides small amounts of the Omega-3 fatty acid & Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
  • It is rich in magnesium so it keeps migraines at bay.
  • It acts as a natural anti-depressant that helps to raise serotonin levels and provides a relaxed,calm state of mind.
The Quinoa Corporation calls quinoa the “Supergrain of the Future.”NASA proposed this super grain as an ideal food for long duration space flights.Kewl!!

Quinoa is a tiny grain, size of a mustard seed,that cooks up just like rice and has a mild, nutty flavor and a light, fluffy texture similar to couscous..It has a naturally bitter coating called Saponin that infact keeps insects away sans any pesticides. Saponin is easily removed by rinsing quinoa with water prior to consuming.


So,it is quite obvious that,it is quite a super health friendly food and it just makes nutritional sense to start consuming Quinoa more.Now you know why it has become the "Go to" meal of my menu lately and the reason behind that prayer .My better 1/2 blindly swears and cheers for it.Gosh,Quinoa corporation or NASA, please make him the brand ambassador of Quinoa,will you ?

My experimentation with it so far have proved that it is easy aaand tasty to incorporate quinoa into our diet . It cooks like rice and the small grains cook to tender with a spiral tail, in as little as 15 minutes.

 So,here is one recipe among my successful trials-an extra healthy Quinoa recipe-A Quinoa pilaf made with mixed vegetables,raw papaya and red potato.

 Here is how I make a vegetarian Quinoa Pilaf :

Quinoa Pilaf with Red Papaya & red potato


Quinoa - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Onion(medium size),sliced - 1 no.
Green Chillies,slit - 3-4 nos.
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Tomato(medium),chopped - 1 no.
Mixed vegetable (I used frozen peas,corn,beans,carrots),boiled-1 cup
Raw Papaya,julienned- 1 cup
Red potato(medium),sliced - 1 no.
Cloves- 2 no.(optional)
Cardamom - 2 nos.(optional)
Cinnamon-2 nos.(optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Shan Biryani Masala- 1 tablespoon
 Salt to taste
Oil/Ghee - 1-2 tablespoons


  1. Rinse the quinoa under water and put it in a saucepan with the required water and salt.
  2. Put the pan on a stove and allow it to boil on high heat.
  3. Once it reaches the boiling point,reduce the fame to medium-low,cover it and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and grains become translucent with a spiral tail.
  4. Put off the stove.Let it stand covered for another 5 minutes to make sure it absorbs any moisture left.
  5. Fluff it with a fork and keep it aside.(Click to see -How to make perfect Quinoa in 15 minutes )
  6. Heat a pan with little oil ,add the papaya,potato slices and saute for a minute,then cover it and on low flame allow it get cooked.Once cooked well sprinkle little turmeric powder & red chilli powder ,saute everything well and keep it aside.
  7. Heat another pan/kadai with oil ,add the cloves,cardamom & cinnamon to it .Saute for a minute.
  8. Add the onion slices and green chillies to it and saute them until onions become translucent.
  9. Add the ginger-garlic to it and stir until its raw flavor is gone.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes ,turmeric powder,chilli powder and biryani masala to it.Mix well.Stir well.Low the flame.Cover it to make the tomatoes soft and pasty mixed well with all the powders.
  11. Once tomatoes are soft & mushy,remove the cover,add the boiled mixed vegetables, followed by cooked Quinoa to it and mix well.
  12. Finally add the fried papaya and red potato slices to it and mix everything well.
  13. Add the salt as needed.
  14. Papaya potato Quinoa Pilaf is ready to serve.
  • You can add any vegetables of your choice.
  • You can use any masala even garam masala but tastes will be different then and I personally love shaan masalas.

Eat,love,pray,live DELICIOUSLY,