Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir Fry

This recipe is from Veganomicon, my new favorite cookbook. If you make the quinoa in advance this is very fast to put together. Have all your stir fry elements prepped in advance. This is a filling, high protein, refreshing dish!

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir Fry

1 c. quinoa (I used 1/2 c. white, 1/2 red for color contrast)
1 c. pineapple juice
1 c. water
1/4 tsp. tamari

Stir Fry
4 oz. raw cashews
3 T. peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 hot red chili pepper, sliced into thin rounds
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 c. edamame
1/2 c. fresh basil, sliced into thin shreads
2 T. fresh mint, finely chopped
2 c. fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 T. tamari
3 T. vegetable stock
1 T. mirin
Lime wedges to garnish

1. Prepare the quinoa first. (If you haven't used quinoa much, check out some tips below.) Combine the quinoa, juice, water, and tamari in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is plumped and translucent, about 12-14 minutes. It is best if you make this in advance and chill overnight, but otherwise, chill for one hour.

2. Toast cashew nuts and set aside.

3. Combine tamari, mirin, and vegetable stock and set aside.

4. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Add scallions, garlic, chili pepper, and ginger. Stir fry for 2 minutes.

5. Add red pepper and edamame. Stir fry for 3 minutes.

6. Add basil and mint. Stir fry for 1 minute.

7. Add pineapple and quinoa. Add tamari, mirin, vegetable stock mixture and stir to coat.

8. Continue to stir-fry for 10 more minutes, or until quinoa is hot.

Serve with lime wedges and additional tamari.

Quinoa Info:

~Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter coating, called saponin. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use to remove any of the powdery residue that may remain on the seeds. The presence of saponin is obvious by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water. In nature this coating acts as a natural insect repellent.

~The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids.

~Quinoa thrives here in the San Luis Valley at 7500+ feet. Buy it locally from White Mountain Farm.

~Quinoa has been cultivated in South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C.

Chickpea and Mango Curry

I experiment
ed with a new recipe, one that Jim picked out from Mollie Katzen's (of Moosewood fame) new cookbook, Get Cooking. This was a recipe that wouldn't have caught my eye, but I'm glad it caught his because it was delicious and very easy! I have modified the recipe to make it vegan, and also added spinach for nutrition and color.

Mollie has a great website with a ton of recipes worth checking out:

Chickpea and Mango Curry

1 T. canola or peanut oil
1 tsp. non-dairy margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1 medium onion, diced
1 heaping T. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Three cups or two 15 oz. cans of chickpeas
2 heaping cups of frozen mango chunks (about 12 oz.)
A few handfuls of baby spinach
Light coconut milk (optional)
A few dashes of cayenne pepper

1. Heat oil and Earth Balance in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, curry powder, and salt. Cook for about 5 min. until onion begins to soften.

2. Add rinsed and drained chickpeas to skillet, stirring until coated with curry-onion mixture. Turn heat to medium low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the mango, cover and let cook for 5 more minutes. Check to see if the curry needs more liquid to create a sauce. If so add 1/2 cup of water, or coconut milk. Add baby spinach. Cover again and cook for 10 minutes.

4. If you have the patience and time, let it sit off the heat for 10 more minutes for the flavors to develop. If not (and I didn't) serve over basmati rice with a dusting of cayenne on top.

Some variations: Substitute peaches for the mangos, serve with lime wedges on the side, garnish with finely diced shallot, onion, or cilantro, top with toasted cashews or roasted peanuts.

Notes: I added more curry powder and salt. The original recipe doesn't call for spinach, but I added it to incorporate a vegetable and add color contrast. I did not use the coconut milk, but I think it would really be a nice addition. I cook extra rice and freeze it so that a recipe like this is very fast to make on a weeknight.