quinoa with broccoli and coconut

Hello and hello!

Let’s talk about Quinoa (pronounced kin-wa). It’s a pseudo-grain from South America, is super-nutritious, a complete protein source, gluten-free and looks exceedingly pretty when cooked (because the seed actually sprouts i.e. the germ separates from the seed and pops out as a tiny tentacle). Moreover, it comes in several colors: red, white, black, purple…just like the potatoes in Peru. You can easily use it as a replacement for rice in most dishes. Make pulao, upma, risotto with it, or use it in salads and soups. Basically, we should eat more of it!

I first ate quinoa back in 2006 when I lived in DC. A friend, who I was staying with then, makes a very tasty quinoa dish with tofu and orange juice. But the following recipe comes from Aarti Sequeria and is very different. It is more south Indian in terms of its ingredients (you can watch Aarti make it here). She uses white quinoa, but I had the red one at home, so that’s what I used. I also added some whole red chillies to make it spicier, used fresh tomatoes instead of canned etc etc. Feel free to experiment!


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 6 dried or fresh curry leaves
  • 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 (15oz) can coconut milk
  • 7-8 cashews
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • Salt and pepper


  • Heat oil in a pan till it shimmers.
  • Add cumin and mustard seeds. Allow them to sizzle and splutter.
  • Add red chillies, fenugreek, cashews and curry leaves. Make sure they don’t burn.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and shredded coconut. Cook for 5 minutes, until tomatoes break down a bit.
  • Add coconut milk and some water. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  • Add quinoa. Stir, then turn heat down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes until almost cooked, but still a little soupy.
  • Add broccoli in one layer over the top of the quinoa. Add more water if it’s too dry. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until broccoli is tender but still bright green.
  • Eat!

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