Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quinoa with Lentils


I walked in to the kitchen and surveyed the mess piling up on the counter. I felt I waited long enough for the clutter to disappear on its own and it’s time for me to start acting like an adult and cleanup. I am a stickler for clean counters, however there are days when I feel unmotivated, reluctant and just walk away from the whole mess. Days like this I do wish I was a witch, with some control over the things in my life. May be I can twitch my nose or blink my eyes and things will fall in place. Oh well, it never hurts to have little fun with your imagination. 

I decided to get my act together and started putting things away one at a time and within minutes the clutter was all gone except for the last few morsels of some red Quinoa. It was about half a cup and I was confident that if I put it back, I will completely forget about it and may be in a couple of months it will turn in to something weird that I won’t be able to recognize and eventually see the light of the day in the trash can. 


I was planning on cooking lentils for dinner and without a second thought dumped the quinoa with the lentils. As soon as I did that, I realized I never cooked them together and had no clue how it would taste. Lentils are the quintessential ingredients of Indian cuisine. There are umpteen different kinds of lentils, in different colors and with different names. The one I was tinkering with Quinoa is called the Toor dal. The quickest way to cook them is to pressure cook the lentils with water. They can also be cooked on a stove top, by soaking the lentils in warm water for about an hour and boiling them with water. Add about 2 cups of water to 1 cup of lentils. 





1 cup of Toor dal 

1/2 cup of Quinoa 

Pressure cook them with about 2 cups of water. 
If using a stove top to cook the lentils, I would suggest to boil the lentils and Quinoa separately and mix them together. The Quinoa will cook faster than the lentils. 

1 tsp of red curry paste

1 tsp of cumin powder 

1 tsp of red chili powder 

1 tsp of black pepper 

1 tsp of dried Fenugreek leaves 

1 medium onion chopped 

2 cloves of garlic 

1 tsp of chopped or grated ginger

1/2 cup of water

salt 



Heat a pan with a tsp of olive oil. 

To the hot oil add the onion, garlic, ginger  and red curry paste.

Fry them for about a minute and add all the spices - cumin, chili powder and black pepper. 

Let them cook for a minute and add the cooked lentil and Quinoa mixture. 

Add the half cup of water, salt and cover the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes. 

Turn off the heat and add the Fenugreek leaves. Serve it with rice, bread or just on its own like a soup. 




The dish was serendipitous, it stopped the Quinoa from future misery and I made peace with the fact that a little clutter now and then is good thing. The Toor dal has a a very subtle creamy texture when its cooked and the Quinoa with its nutty flavor mingled effortlessly in to the dish. The spices added the final magical touch. I may not clean the clutter with my magical powers, but I sure can create some serendipitous magic with my ingredients.