Fit Pantry - a Fit Foodie's thoughts, tips and recipe

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Curiously Quinoa

Quinoa [read: KEEN-wah] is grain-like and can be used to substitute rice. If you want to know more about quinoa, check out wiki.  I'm here to chat about my cooking discoveries with keen-wah.

The first time I ever cooked quinoa was during a detox program (Beachbody Ultimate Reset). I heard about its health benefit and how it could substitute grains (i.w. rice). Not that I normally eat rice at home, but I have been curious.  Plus, I needed any extra non-meat non-dairy protein during the vegan weeks of the BUR, and adding quinoa simply make sense. 

I'm pretty sure I had quinoa before, however, since I don't have any strong recollection of the taste, the way it was prepared must be pretty bland and boring. I decided to experiment on quinoa and perhaps bringing in flavors from my Southeast Asian/Chinese upbringing. 

My original plan was quite  simple: To cook quinoa the regular way then mix in spices. And I am not talking about just adding lemon juice and make it a cold salad with veggies. No. I want a meal. If I wanted a salad I will eat salad as in a bowl of green leafy veggies. No. I want a warm meal that would comfort me at night when I'm cranky from not having to be able to snack my favorite popcorners during this BUR.... *breathe*....

As you can tell, I'm writing this as I'm nearing the end of the detox. It's proven to myself that little indulgences keep my subconscious happy, as a good meal would. So, going back to cooking keenwah. 

The first night I cooked quinoa was an immediate hit. I loved it. Andy loved it! Well, he likes pretty much most things I cook, but to hear him said specifically, "Is this diet food?? If it is, I think I can be on diet. Can we eat like this everyday?" How sweet. But I know you didn't really mean you'd eat it everyday, considering how much you love Nasi Kuning, Lontong Sayur, and more.  Yet that just proved the way I cooked quinoa that night could appeal to the masses, i.e. my non workout/dieting friends.

The first dish was Chicken Shitake Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts. Then went bolder with Southwestern spices, then Thai Curry. The ball has rolled and will keep rolling from this point on. 

What makes me fall in love with quinoa is the texture, taste, and versatility which opens up a new cooking playground for me.  I will stay curious and continue cooking.


Note - The recipes are mainly vegan, because I was on BUR. To prepare the same meals for Andy I simply added chunks of rotisserie chicken or egg whites to his. Links to the recipe will slowly be activated as I add them to the blog. (see RECIPE section)



  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Garlic tossed Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms

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