Gluten-free Indian Quinoa Masala Recipe


Ever since I embarked on a special allergen-free diet for Baby Yum, I have been experimenting with some of the more exotic gluten-free “grains” or pseudo grains. Some of these have been a trial (amaranth, anyone?) and others have been a true pleasure to work with (quinoa, sorghum, millet). Quinoa is a grain that I long thought bothered my tummy, but it turns out other grains may have actually been the culprit. I’ve been enjoying tons of this cute little seed ever since I started my crazy-grain rotation diet, and am regularly amazed at its versatility. It makes a mean, if somewhat delicate, allergen-free muffin. But in its whole seed form, quinoa can also stand in for rice with amazing success. I’ve used it to make sushi, chirashi, fried rice, and lately, I’ve even been experimenting with it in Indian dishes. The last two weeks I’ve been obsessed with Indian recipes. My taste buds rebelled against plain-Jane allergen fare and begged for spices, spices, and more spices. And of course, Indian recipes are very good at presenting a rich array of flavors for the palate through the generous use of spices. I’ve been using coriander by the tablespoon, and cumin like it is going out of style. Good thing my local Costco caters to the Indian community here and sells it in quantity! Of course I could also buy spices from Indian markets, but I do have some concerns that the ground spices may be cross contaminated by flour milling and packaging. I’ve made scrumptious toor dal made by the Indian culinary goddess Manjula and an assortment of recipes from my favorite Indian cookbooks. Pictured above is a modified version of “Supreme Okra” from The Best of Lord Krishna’s Cuisine recipes. The original had enough salt to qualify as a cow-lick, but with some modification made plain old okra plate-lickingly delicious. For now, though, I’d like to share the recipe for the accompanying Masala Quinoa, a dish that was inspired by a recipe for rice but modified for pre-cooked quinoa with amazing results. I can safely say this is hands-down the tastiest quinoa I’ve ever had. I liked it so much that I made this recipe twice in one week; the second time I made it, it was for a long plane ride and it traveled beautifully. This is only the beginning. I’ve been experimenting with quinoa as a stand-in for rice in many Chinese and Japanese dishes, but now I see how well it works in Indian rice dishes, I have a feeling I’ll be trying quite a few more recipes in the future. I hope you enjoy this one!

Indian Masala Quinoa Recipe
Ingredients
2 or 2 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3 tbsp mustard or canola oil
1 tsp black mustard seed
3 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 piece ginger (peeled, julienned)
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
Directions
Heat oil in a large skillet (nonstick ok) with a lid on medium or medium high. Add your mustard seed and bay leaf to the oil and let it sizzle. Add your cumin seeds and wait a few seconds before adding the onion. Saute onions until they start to soften and turn brown. Add ginger, tomatoes, and turmeric. Let soften and then add your quinoa, stirring it in gently and sprinkling with salt. Reduce heat and cover, cooking for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir once, sprinkle with cilantro, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.
Notes
*To prepare quinoa, rinse 1 1/2 cups quinoa and cook in rice cooker with 3 cups water, or bring same amounts to boil in pot, turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes. fluff and let sit, covered until you use. You can also freeze quinoa, defrost in microwave and use in recipes*

The most delicious quinoa I’ve ever had.


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19 Responses to “Gluten-free Indian Quinoa Masala Recipe”

  1. Melissa Carter Says:

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with CD and am embarking on a GF lifestyle. I’ve really loved your blog/website and it has truly saved my life! I am a foodie at heart so learning to rework recipes is like a hobby for me. I wonder what you would substitute for the ginger if you couldn’t use it. I am allergic to ginger. I haven’t found anything that can replace that flavor…any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Melissa
    (Houston, TX)

  2. Valerie (m.) Says:

    That looks gorgeous!!

  3. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for coming by! I’m glad my blog has been helpful for you. :D I don’t know how severe your allergy is to ginger, but have you tried galangal? It is in the same family as ginger so if you have a severe reaction to ginger you would want to proceed cautiously and maybe consult with your allergist.

    http://aww.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=785477

    Lemongrass, fresh horseradish, minced chilies, any citrus zest or fresh garlic might be other options. You can always just leave it out- the onions really add a lot of flavor to the dish.

    Let me know how it goes!
    -Sea

  4. I, too, adoooooore quinoa AND Indian food! I think I could eat Indian food 3-5x a week without getting tired of it. So many different spices and flavors, but all warming and comforting. One of my favorite books of late is “Indian Vegan Kitchen” because it has a huge variety of dishes, and many are marked gluten-free, or easily adaptable: http://www.amazon.com/Indian-Vegan-Kitchen-Healthy-Homestyle/dp/0399535306

    Anyway, I will surely be making this quinoa masala…might even try it with millet too, since my husband actually prefers millet over quinoa (blasphemy). Oh, and I’ve had good luck using amaranth in soups…adds some protein and fiber, without being too conspicuous.

    Lastly, would it be OK to use one of these images on my new site, glutenfreefeed.com? It is kind of like a gluten-free Tastespotting. Thanks :)

  5. looks great, I’m excited to try it.

  6. Hi Jenn, Thanks for your fun comments! I will have to check out that cookbook. Woah- preferring millet over quinoa. That IS blasphemy! Interesting idea about amaranth in soup. Trying to use it as my “Starch” means I have to eat it in quantity. Ugh. I do have a good flatbread recipe with it, though.

    Yes, you may use one of the images from this post on your site. I like your idea. I do kind of wish that when you clicked on the image, you went straight to the post (like on Tastespotting). I say this because I wanted to look at a lot of those recipes and found myself spending more time clicking than strictly ideal. :) Anyways, good idea and one I’d thought of as something we needed in the GF community. I have my “yumpics” browser tab for that very reason.

    All my best,
    Sea

    Thanks Cheryl!!!
    -Sea

  7. Yum! This sounds delish.

  8. Yummy!!! I love quinoa and Indian food too! And that okra. I have the Lord Krishna’s cookbook too – awesome. We haven’t made the Supreme Okra, only the Spicy Okra with Coconut. We will have to try it too.

    And thanks for introducing me to Anjula! :-)

  9. Hi Sea, I wanted to let you know that I added this quinoa awesomeness to my favorite recipes from last week. Thanks!

    ~Aubree Cherie

  10. This looks incredible and your recommendation of it being the best quinoa dish you’ve ever had definitely makes me want to try it out asap! I’m always making too much quinoa and ending up with leftovers which go bad because plain, cold quinoa just never tempts me. But now I have a glorious-sounding way to use up those leftovers!

  11. Aubree- Thanks!
    Scrumptious- quinoa freezes really well. I actually used defrosted frozen rice the first time I made this. ;) It has helped me avoid wasting any…
    Hope you enjoy!
    -Sea

  12. This was really yum, we had it a few days ago for dinner. And crazy easy! Thank for the recipe and general concept which shall perhaps now be taken in some other tasty directions. :)

  13. Sea, just got your reply here, so I’ll definitely use one of these pics, thanks! Yes, I agree about the direct link instead of clicking. I’m working on a few major changes that should make reading/viewing much better (eg a way to filter all recipes that are vegan/egg-free/dairy-free/etc.). I do appreciate the feedback, and hope I can incorporate that change soon! Haha, I always have to work up my courage before I go poking around vast amounts of code and CSS. :)

  14. I have been drooling over this recipe since you posted it and just made a facsimile of it for dinner. Even with my lame substitutions for the spices it was a great version of quinoa! When I get a chance I will write it up on my blog and link back here. Quinoa is a super food and it needs to have a place in every pantry along with other basic staples. Thanks for sharing your creations.

  15. [...] of you will have seen my earlier recipe where I discovered quinoa is wonderful in Indian rice recipes. That easy-to-transport Indian quinoa recipe is still a winner in my book, and I make [...]

  16. [...] I’ve been eating more quinoa than rice, and so a quinoa dish was a given. I could have packed my favorite quinoa masala recipe, but this time I thought I’d make a more basic recipe that would be the base note for the [...]

  17. I, too am a quinoa fan – & this looks/sounds heavenly!! Some of my favorite spices, & I even have a true bay tree in my yard – fresh bay leaves!
    Unlike *Scrumptious* I can eat quinoa any way, any time of day! I cook a batch (just did one a few hours ago) every few days – for breakfast, I mix it with my coconut milk kefir (homemade) & sprinkle on a bit of cinnamon, maybe a touch of maple syrup :) Lunch or dinner, I may mix it with my salad or add it to veggies I’m heating . . .
    Gluten free RN suggests adding the tiny ‘nutrient dense’ seeds to larger ones – so to 1/2 C uncooked quinoa, I add 1-2 Tbsp teff (African millet) & 1-2 Tbsp amaranth! It adds nutrition (both are so tiny they’re mostly germ & bran, & protein) & they just blend into the quinoa, without affecting the taste :) GF RN also recommends using Montina (a seed used by the NA in Montana) this way – I haven’t tried it yet, but want to.
    For awhile I cooked quinoa & millet together – but I think millet may bother me, teff never seems to :)

  18. Yummy! Would, say, 1/2 of a can, of diced tomatoes work? I don’t want to wait until next summer (the only time I can tolerate fresh tomatoes).

  19. [...] bento (or tiffin, in this case) and do a pre-school friendly version. Here’s my tiffin: Indian Quinoa Masala, Carrot Sticks, 1 boiled egg and some fried tofu cubes. And Kid Yum’s bento, made the same [...]

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