Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It looks a bit like couscous and is as versatile as rice, but quinoa has a richer, nuttier flavor than either of them.Quinoa is closely related to the edible plants beetroot, spinach, and amaranth(Amaranthus spp.), another pseudocereal which it closely resembles. Amaranth or Rajgira as it is locally known is a cheaper alternative to quinoa. We can use rajgira instead of quinoa.
Both are pseudo-grains — foods that are prepared like grains (for making flours, and cereals), but are actually seeds and are gluten free. Rajgira, also called amaranth, is comparable to quinoa in terms of calories (370 cal per 100gm), fibre (7gm), fat (6-7gm) and protein (6-7gm), and has similar calcium, potassium and iron content too, plus higher vitamin E and magnesium as compared to quinoa.Both can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper, or other seasonings. It also makes a great breakfast dish mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. Paired with chili, stir-fries, beans or curries, quinoa is a healthy substitute for rice, and it also makes a tasty pilaf. In fact, I made one in a rice – cooker and everyone loved it.
You can use whatever you want to. I had a few carrots, french beans and mushrooms in my fridge. I used these to make the pulao.
- 1 and a 1/2 cups of quinoa
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 4 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped
- A small piece of ginger grated
- 1 large ripe tomato chopped finely
- 1 fresh green chilli chopped finely
- 1 chicken or vegetarian seasoning or buillion cube
- 3 cups of boiling water
- 2 tbsps oil
- Few chopped veggies
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Few coriander sprigs to garnish.
- Dry roast the quinoa in a pan, till it releases a nutty flavour and keep aside.
- Fill hot boiling water in the rice cooker and add the seasoning cube and mix well.
- Now, add quinoa and close the lid and let it soak for half an hour. (Do not turn the rice cooker on at this stage).
- After half an hour, turn on the rice cooker.
- In the meantime, we place a pan with oil on the flame and add bay leaf and cinnamon.
- Then, sautee onions, garlic and ginger and then tomatoes and green chilli.
- Now, add all the chopped veggies one by one.
- You can add fish, prawns or chicken strips at this stage.
- Fry till everything comes together.
- As soon as the rice cooker beeps, open the lid and add all the fried ingredients.
- Mix gently with a fork and cover and keep it for a while.
- Serve with raita or salad or a very nice gravy dish.
- Rajgira or amaranth can be prepared in the same way.
- I did not add salt because seasoning cubes have salt in them.
- You can add if you want to.