Quinoa Pad Thai

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

QUINOA PAD THAI

 

Ingredients

  • 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.

Method

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.

Variations

  • Use any variety noodles instead and make it the traditional way.
Quinoa Pad Thai

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Kothu Roti: Stir-fried, Left-over Roti

Quite routinely, we end up having left-over roti(Indian flat-bread). And every so often they end up in the bin. (Who likes stale rotis?) But if we are able to turn them into a delicious, protein-packed meal, I am sure you will find reasons to leave some extra roti!

Kothu Roti
Kothu Roti

Kothu Roti’ is a very popular street food in South India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia; obviously each has its own style but the basic concept remains same. It is also referred to as ‘Kothu Parotta’. It is made on a broad, flat skillet, while stir-frying veggies, egg or meat along with the chopped up roti in an assortment of spices.  In the comfort of my kitchen, I use a regular wok to make this. This recipe tastes best when it goes from the skillet into the mouth.

Kothu Roti
IMG_20160803_204735
Kothu Roti

I came across this yummy dish in an Indian-Malaysian cafe in Melbourne and instantly fell in love with it. It is so customisable that you can whip it up with whatever ingredients you have on hand. There are no hard and fast rules. I usually like to incorporate eggs, so it amps up the protein in the meal. But it can very well be made vegan. In addition, if you have any grilled/shredded chicken lying around in the fridge, this is a good place to use it.

I generally like to have this as a big breakfast or brunch when I have left-over roti from previous day’s dinner. But again, Kotthu Roti tastes awesome for any meal of the day, as long as it is freshly made and served hot.

I would even say this is a very ‘bachelor friendly‘ recipe. You can use frozen parathas that are easily available. Just roast, chop and continue with this recipe. (Psst.. You can be a winner even if you do not possess the skill to actually prepare a roti/paratha!)

Not skilled to make rotis? Use store-bought frozen parathas in this Kotthu Roti recipe. Click To Tweet
Kotthu Roti
Kotthu Roti
IMG_20160803_204728
Kothu Roti

KOTHU ROTI: STIR-FRIED, LEFT-OVER ROTI

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large rotis or paratha
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 onion, chopped fine or lengthwise
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 capsicum, chopped fine or lengthwise (great if you can use different colours!)
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp curry powder OR garam masala
  • Pinch of ground turmeric
  • Red chilli powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil for cooking
  • Coriander for garnish
  • Lemon juice while serving.

Method

  • Chop the veggies and tear the roti into small pieces. The size of roti is completely upto you.
  • In a wok, heat some oil. Add the mustard seeds and wait for them to pop. Then add the curry leaves and allow them to sizzle.
  • Next add the onion and fry till golden.
  • Add the capsicum and other vegetables of choice. Fry till crisp.

 

Kotthu Roti
Kotthu Roti
  • Finely chop the tomato and add to the wok. Cook till it turns slightly mushy. Add little salt so the tomato can cook faster, followed by the other spices. You can adjust the spiciness of the dish depending on your taste buds.
  • Now push the above mixture to one side of the wok, or just make a well in between and add the eggs. I just broke the eggs directly into the wok, however, whisking them outside and then adding gives a better result.
  • Scramble the eggs and season with salt and pepper.

 

Getting the eggs scrambled
Getting the eggs scrambled
  • Lastly, add the bits of roti/paratha and saute till everything is well incorporated.
  • Garnish with coriander, lemon juice and dig in while it’s hot!

Variations:

  • Optional vegetables: Carrots, celery, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms
  • You may add shredded chicken, grilled meat of choice, minced meat, chopped sausages. (Just vary the cooking time accordingly.)
  • Try with pita or toasted bread and share your results. (Though I have always made with left-over home-made rotis or frozen paratha.)