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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Kachhi Dabeli – Popular Indian Street Food

Kachhi Dabeli is an extremely drool-worthy, highly popular snack. It is very commonly found on the streets of Mumbai. Kachhi Dabeli consists of a potato filling that is stuffed inside a bun, garnished with spicy peanuts, onion and pomegranate seeds. It is spicy, tangy, sweet, crunchy, buttery; each bite is an explosion of flavour!

This recipe does not feature high on any health food meter, infact, it is indulgent. But with the holidays upon us, let’s pamper our taste buds and burn it off in the new year 😀

It has several components which need to be assembled and eaten. I have shared a how-to video on my Facebook page.

 

Kachhi Dabeli
Kachhi Dabeli

Most important in making the potato stuffing is the unique masala for the Kachhi Dabeli. It is available in Indian stores, but not readily. I prefer to make my own, this way it is on hand whenever I need it and the magic of freshly ground spices is beyond words. Of course I will be sharing the recipe with you 🙂

In Melbourne, pomegranate is not easy to find in the markets, or it is not always of a great quality. So when I do find the sweet ones, they are certainly precious like rubies, and Dabeli is always on the menu. If you cannot find it though, replace with grapes, cherries or raisins.

Kachhi Dabeli
A drool-worthy plate!

 

Ingredients

  1. For the stuffing :
  • 2 potatoes – boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • Date and tamarind chutney (found in Indian stores)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dabeli masala * (recipe given below)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder or to taste
  • 2 tsp chat masala/ dry mango powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Chopped coriander for garnish
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Dabeli masala (makes about a cup)
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 10-12 cloves
  • 10-12 dry red chillies
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chili powder
  1. Spicy peanuts
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts, with their skins removed
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chat masala or dry mango powder (optional)
  1. For garnish:
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped coriander
  • Sev or bhujia (these are made of chickpea flour and very commonly used in Indian snacks. They resemble sprinkles but yellow in colour. Find them in the Indian aisle of your supermarket or in the Indian stores.)
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Date and tamarind chutney

Other ingredients:

  • Bun or pao
  • Butter for roasting
Kachhi Dabeli
Layers of garnish

Method

  • First let’s prepare the Dabeli masala. I found the recipe for masala on the internet, sadly I do not remember the source.

In a pan, dry roast all the spices one after the other. Cool them and grind together to a coarse powder. Store in an airtight container. It stays put for over a year.

  • For the spicy peanuts, heat oil in the same pan. Add the peanuts and all the spices. Coat them well.
  • In another pan, heat oil to prepare the stuffing.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute well.
  • Then add the Dabeli masala, and immediately add the onions. Add a little bit of the chopped coriander as well.
  • Add salt, date-tamarind chutney, and rest of the spices. Mix well.
  • Mash or grate the boiled potatoes and add. Mix well. Add half cup water and stir everything together.
  • Check the seasoning and adjust as per your liking.
  • Lastly, garnish with the remaining coriander and lemon juice.
Kachhi Dabeli
Who wouldn’t want to dive into this?

Assembling the Kachhi Dabeli

  • In a deep dish, add the potato stuffing and smoothen it. Now garnish with the peanuts, pomegranate, onion, coriander and sev.
  • Put a skillet on medium heat.
  • Take a bun and make a slit, cutting it three quarters such that there is a pocket.
  • Smear the date and tamarind chutney on both sides.
  • Now add the stuffing, be generous with it but not so much that it spills out.
  • Again, top with some onion, coriander, pomegranate seeds and peanuts.
  • Put some butter on the skillet and roast the bun on both sides, while pressing it down.
  • Now just coat the filling that is oozing out, with more sev!

You can view the video for assembling the Dabeli on my Facebook page.

All packed and ready
All packed and ready

 

Don’t forget to save for later

Kachhi Dabeli - Popular Indian Street Food
Kachhi Dabeli – Popular Indian Street Food

 

Make this recipe ASAP and share your experience in the comments section below.

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