Cilantro Lemon Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf

I received a comment recently asking how am I doing on the South Beach Diet. To be honest, I am not following the diet strictly. But I am very close to my target goal weight. If you remember I started off with 165 pounds (as on March 2010) and today I weigh 134.x lbs. My weight scale moves between 133 and 135 depending up on how I eat. Losing 30 lbs is significant considering the fact that my thyroid is hypo. This journey was not easy at all. How many times I wished to visit Rita’s ice-cream or stop by at Anjappar to have their scrumptious lolly pop chicken.  And the chat loaded with potatoes were a big NO NO :( Sigh. But diverting my cravings finally paid off.

For last two months I have been continuously pampered by my parent in laws. My Mother in law wakes up before me and prepares my breakfast and lunch meal. She even packs them and keeps them ready.  In the evening as soon as I reach home I will have a cup of Chai to drink with some scrumptious snacks or a tiffin. My father in law does most of the household chores like dropping the trash, vacuuming the carpet. Both Vasanth and I have nothing to do other than eat and sleep. And the nip in the air is making us more lazy day by day. I am really sorry if you are feeling jealous. Don’t jump to a conclusion that I am a bad daughter in law :). I bake breads, cakes, cookies and cook some of my specialty dishes and delight them. For thanksgiving, I bought 4 poussin(young chicken) and roasted them with some Indian spices. OMG, that was one of the best roasted chicken we have ever tasted. To complete the meal I made Dixie Stampede Cream of Vegetable Soup, creamy mashed potatoes, gravy and Clementine juice. Burrp.

After this gastronomical fiesta I had to cook something simple and light to calm down my tummy and most importantly to feel less guilty. Quinoa was the answer. I have made Quinoa pilaf a zillion times, but this time I hit the jackpot. A Mexican touch made all the difference.

Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa is a South American grain and it is very popular for its nutrient contents. It has lots and lots of proteins, magnesium, phosphorus and iron that you don’t want to miss. Instead of having a cup of rice with your favorite curry replace it with a cup of Quinoa. I love to pair Quinoa with lamb curry or a simple South Indian Kara kuzhambu (Tamarind based gravy). Trust me it tastes out of the world. I will tell you a secret here, this is how I started liking Quinoa. We humans can accept such not so favorite ingredients when it is served with our most favorite food. Does it sound like a cliche?

Quinoa Pilaf

How it tasted?

This is a recipe that I would want to make again and again. The fragrance of rosemary, cilantro along with the tangy lemon makes it taste like a gourmet meal.

Ingredients

  • Quinoa – 1 cup
  • Garlic  – 2, minced/crushed in pestle mortar
  • Yellow Onion – 1/2 cup finely chopped (around 1/2 medium size)
  • Olive Oil – 3 tsp
  • Green Peas – 1/2 cup
  • Low Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Stock – 2 cups (To make it gluten free, use GF stock)
  • Pepper Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Paprika – 1/8 tsp
  • Rosemary – 1/2 tbsp  , dried
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro / Coriander leaves – handful
  • Lemon juice – from 1/2 lemon around 2 tbsp

Method

  • Wash Quinoa in running water. Use a sieve or a cheese cloth which will make your life easier.
  • In a thick bottom sauce pan, add olive oil and let it become hot.
  • Reduced the flame to low. Add minced garlic and let it brown.
  • Then add finely chopped onions and saute until it becomes translucent and changes to light brown.
  • Then add green peas, 1/2 tsp salt and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add quinoa and saute for a minute or two.
  • Then add chicken stock.
  • Add pepper powder, paprika, dried rosemary and adjust salt if required.
  • Stir it well to combine.
  • Close the lid and let it cook on a low flame for 15-20 minute or until the water has evaporated.
  • Open the lid, add cilantro, lemon juice and stir well.
  • Serve it hot like a salad., as a main dish along with some curry/stew or a small portion of meat/fish.

Notes:

Replace Green Peas with your favorite vegetable or meat. You can use fresh rosemary as well. I recommend the use of  heavy bottom Stainless steel sauce pan. There is no issues if you don’t have one.

A glimpse from my kitchen

  • Wash Quinoa in running water. Use a sieve or a cheese cloth which will make your life easier.

Wash Quinoa

  • In a thick bottom sauce pan, add olive oil and let it become hot. Reduced the flame to low. Add minced garlic and let it brown.

Quinoa Pilaf - Add garlic

  • Then add finely chopped onions and saute until it becomes translucent and changes to light brown.

Qunioa Pilaf

  • Then add green peas, 1/2 tsp salt and saute for 3-4 minutes.

Pilaf - Add Green Peas

  • Add quinoa and saute for a minute or two.

Quinoa Pilaf - Add Quinoa

  • Then add chicken stock.

  • Add pepper powder, paprika, dried rosemary and adjust salt if required.

Quinoa Pilaf - Add spices

  • Stir it well to combine. Close the lid and let it cook on a low flame for 15-20 minute or until the water has evaporated.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • Open the lid, stir and check it is cooked.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • Add cilantro, lemon juice and stir well.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • Serve it hot like a salad., as a main dish along with some curry/stew or a small portion of meat/fish.

Quinoa Pilaf

You are awesome!!! Thanks a bunch for leaving your valuable comment. It certainly makes me happy and helps me to learn and improve.

22 comments

  1. Anu says:

    Congrats on the big accomplishment!!

    I love Quinoa and make quite a few dishes with them. This looks really easy and interesting. My lemon loving husband would sure like them!

  2. pavithra says:

    mmmm thats great achievement of losing 30 pounds.. as everyone said post ur menu. By the way I too use quinoa lot and lot and made lemon one too. But adding Rosemary is really awesome and I can feel the aroma now.. looks yummy…I will surely try this tomm …

  3. Pari says:

    Radhika,
    Hi! That’s a great achievement with the weightloss. The quinoa preparation sounds great, I was wondering how it would taste with daliya.

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