Health fads always take the world by a storm. While some poor fellows get frowned upon, few lucky ones, like quinoa, get the crown.
Quinoa (pronounced as keen-wah) is a humble grain cultivated by the South Americans since ages and remained quite unknown. When it crossed the equator, it gained celebrity status with the revelation of its high protein content, thus bringing good news for the herbivores. From there, quinoa has become a global sensation.
When I first tried quinoa I truly hated it. But I couldn’t let the expensive bag of this over-rated seed just lie there. Then started the experiments; all had one common outcome, I still didn’t like it.
I conjured up this particular recipe plainly out of love for Thai cuisine, lack of noodles and desperation to use the quinoa as it neared its ‘best before’ date. And it finally gave me the “EUREKA” moment. YAY! I had found a way to love quinoa! In fact, I like this version more than the ‘noodle’ Pad Thai made by me.
I mostly like to keep it vegetarian and make it about the veggies. The flavour of the Pad Thai comes from the smokey sesame oil, the sweet-tangy sauce and of course the toasted peanuts. If you cannot catch hold of quinoa, just go the traditional way and use noodles or even ‘zoodles’!! So now let’s dive into the wok…
QUINOA PAD THAI
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup carrot matchsticks
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 whisked eggs (optional)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3-4 spring onions, sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts, optional
- green beans, optional
- Salt as per taste
- For the sauce
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1-2 tbsp
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce (I used a vegan ‘fish’ sauce)
- For garnish
- Sesame seeds
- unsalted peanuts, toasted and roughly crushed
- Coriander leaves or Thai basil or mint.
How to cook quinoa:
Wash and drain the quinoa. Add to a saucepan and cover with water or stock of choice. I always prefer using chicken stock for the extra punch of flavour. The proportion of quinoa to liquid is 1:2. However, for this recipe, I like to use one and a half cup of stock.
1 cup of uncooked quinoa will yield 2 cups of cooked quinoa.
- Before you fire up the wok, slice and dice the veggies and keep all ingredients ready.
- Add the sesame oil and the ginger, garlic, onions and white part of the spring onion. Fry well.
- Season with little salt. Add the rest of the veggies and fry well.
- Once half-cooked, push the veggies to the side and add the eggs. Work quickly to scramble them. If you wish to add cooked chicken shreds, then this is the time to do that.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and add to the wok. Add the quinoa, bean sprouts and some peanuts and toast everything together such that the sauce coats everything well.
- To serve: Garnish the quinoa pad Thai with herbs, toasted peanuts, sesame seeds and a wedge of lime.
- Use any variety noodles instead and make it the traditional way.
If you try this recipe share on Instagram and tag me #smitasfoodcharm.
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