Last year, when my husband made frequent trips abroad, I asked him to travel light, partly because my home was brimming with so much clutter that I could not afford to add more to it, and mainly because what I assumed then to be unavailable in Indian markets is now widely available in most stores. From exotic ingredients to baking essentials, its far more simpler to fetch them now than it was long ago.
On his previous trip, he came back home with a pack of organic Quinoa to surprise me. Having never tasted them in the past I was quite apprehensive about what they would taste like. The first I made them, it wasn't best of those grains I had, yet over couple of recipes I have acquired their taste and quite like them now. My simplest way is to consume them as salad. They have a lovely crunch when lightly toasted. Balsamic adds a great depth of flavour and tang, while brown sugar counters it with a mild sweetness that I adore it. Simple, yet flavoursome.
Quinoa Salad with Balsamic, Mint & Walnuts
1 cup / 150 gm Quinoa
1 tsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
2-3 sprigs of Mint leaves
5-6 Walnut Kernels
1 Tomato, diced
Handful of Black Olives and Jalapeños (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Processed Cheese, grated (optional)
Cook 1 cup quinoa in about 2 cups of water. Quinoa takes about 15-20 minutes to cook and is done when its translucent with a visible white ring around the center kernel. Remove the cooked quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes. Fluff them gently with a fork. Next, in a wok, add a teaspoon of butter and lightly saute the cooked quinoa till its slightly toasted. Add salt, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Saute the quinoa for a minute so that most of the balsamic vinegar is absorbed. Turn off the flame and add in the mint leaves, walnuts, diced tomato, olives and jalapeños. Season with pepper to taste. Serve cold and top with cheese and more walnuts before serving.