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Whaddayaknow: it’s is already the fourth time four Dutch foodie bloggers are getting together for a weekend cooking blog hop! This time we’re focussing on quinoa. Have you ever had quinoa for dinner? Or breakfast for that matter — I’ve seen several recipes but haven’t dared trying yet for myself. Just like I’m reluctant to eat rice in the morning… But what am I saying? Contrary to how it’s used in Western cuisine, quinoa is not a grain but a vegetable related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard! Well, the seeds of it anyway.
The first time I tried quinoa was during my 10-day ExtraVeganza project. I made a stir-fry from The Guardian. Since then I’ve used it a few times in bento’s (#131, #161, #176, #177), but as I’m only halfway my second package… I guess it has not been used not that often! Rather surprisingly. O_o Because I like the taste, it’s quick & easy to make and belongs to the category of ‘super foods’ — meaning that it’s ultra healthy. ;) Quinoa is gluten-free, high on so-called complete proteins, vitamins B1&2, E, iron, copper and magnesium. Reading that you already feel better, right? ;)
The quinoa dish I’m sharing today is Quinoa & Vegetable Laksa. Laksa is an Asian chowder-like thick soup. Mr Gnoe and I had two helpings each so that our bellies were filled but not the I-need-to-lie-on-the-couch kind of full. Very satisfying but low-fat! This is a perfect weekday meal for when you’re tired and the fridge is empty.
I veganised the original recipe from BBC’s Good Food and made some adaptations dictated by the (barren) contents of my cupboards.
Quinoa and Vegetable Laksa
Ingredients – serves 2
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp Patak’s mild curry paste
- about 50 ml water
- 500 ml oat milk
- 400 g frozen mixed vegetables, or any veggies at hand which were in my case: frozen peas and green beans, corn kernels from a can, a large spring onion/small leek (sliced), an old turnip (nuked), some red and green bell pepper in small pieces
- 85 g quinoa, rinsed (!)
- 2 ts vegan broth powder
- salt & pepper
- Simmer the onion, curry paste and water for 5 minutes in a large saucepan, stirring from time to time. Begin with a splash of water and add some when the mixture gets too dry.
- Heat the oat milk in a jug in the microwave.
- Add the vegetables, quinoa, broth powder and stir in the milk.
- Bring to the boil, simmer gently for 10 mins until the quinoa is cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Let it sit for a short while longer if the directions of the quinoa call for that.
Next time I would like to try this recipe with almond milk instead of oat. Mr Gnoe thinks that will be too overwhelming but I think it may be good. Or maybe half of each. Of course you can use any plant-based milk but some will be better than others.
Also, the original recipe was titled “Spicy vegetable and quinoa laksa” but my tastebuds failed to notice any heat. Of course that depends on the the type of curry paste: I may use a stronger one next time, or just add a red chilli.
Always remember to rinse your quinoa seeds before cooking. They have a bitter-tasting coating (called saponins), which is mildly toxic and meant to make the kernels less-palatable to birds and other seed-eaters. These days quinoa has already been cleaned by the manufacturer but it’s good to get rid of possible remnants. Just follow the instructions on the package.
<whisper mode> Of course I shouldn’t say so in a post dedicated to quinoa, but you can also use 150 grams of basmati rice instead — just cook until done. But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?! ;) <whisper mode off>
And now that you’ve opened a package of quinoa: hop over to my fellow foodies for their awesome recipes!
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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!
I often come across people with an ooooold jar of tahini in their cupboards. Do you know tahini? It’s a paste of ground sesame seeds, used in Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern cooking. It is most widely known as a component of hummus. You’re familiar with hummus, right? A versatile chickpea spread that’s great on bread or as a dip? Now that’s how most of these nearly full containers of tahini end up in many Western kitchens: there are only one or two tablespoons needed for a batch of homemade spread — and what to do with the rest???
Well, the Dutch foodie blogging quartet is here to help!
And on Graasland we’re having roasted eggplant & tahini soup.
Roasted eggplant and tahini soup
- 3 medium tomatoes, halved
- 2 medium eggplants (about 550 grams together), halved lengthwise
- 2 medium onions (I used a red and white one), halved
- half a head of garlic
- olive oil
- 1 litre of vegetable broth (4 cups)
- 2-3 teaspoons ras al hanout spice blend (store-bought or mixed yourself)
- 4 tbsp = 60 ml tahini (1/4 cup)
- juice from half a lemon (2-3 tbsp or more to taste)
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place tomatoes, eggplants and onions on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle or brush with a little oil (we don’t have cooking spray over here), and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice a small part of the bottom of the garlic and fold it in a piece of aluminium foil. Wrap up tightly and put it on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
- Roast the veggies for 30-45 minutes, until they are tender and brown in some places.
- Remove from the oven and wait until the vegetables are cooled enough to handle.
- Scoop the eggplant out of its skin and into a large saucepan.
- Squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of their skin and add to the eggplant.
- Remove the skin and green centre from the tomatoes and add to the pan as well, along with the onions.
- Add the broth and ras al hanout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are very tender.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
- Add the tahini and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
- Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with a generous sprinkle of cilantro.
For this soup I heavily relied on the recipe from Cara’s cravings; there are also instructions for homemade ras el hanout on her page. I already had a mix that I made a long time ago and desperately need to finish…
The spices determine the flavour of the soup, so keep that in mind when you decide to substitute. If you’d like an even creamier soup you could also add a dash of soy cream to the bowls. But whatever you do, do not skip the lemon juice, nor cilantro. They’re absolutely essential!
Okay, you all need to confess now… Have you got a pot of tahini stashed away somewhere? It’s time to get it out and start cooking!
Also check out our previous blog hops:
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Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!