I mentioned my dad, maybe for the first time on this blog, earlier this week. I mentioned his fondness for cookies, but I didn’t get much into his other eating preferences. My dad isn’t what you’d call an adventurous eater. He likes burgers, lasagna, cookies, but as far as healthy, vegetarian, global cuisine and the like, he’s not into it. He has put in a valiant effort during the last few years to try new things, mostly resulting from the encouragement (or coercion) of the rest of my immediate family.
For birthdays my family will usually meet up for dinner at a place chosen by the birthday boy or girl. My brother and frequently select the same Indian place near my parent’s house. The place has amazing food and my family has grown friendly with the owner over the years. On one recent birthday, Dad, trying to be a good sport, selected shrimp biryani from the menu. Rice and shrimp? He liked both of those things, so it seemed like a sure bet. It arrived, and despite his good intentions, Dad wasn’t a fan. A few minutes later, when the owner stopped by to check in, he scolded my dad for his ordering selection. “You should have asked me to help you pick something! That dish has twelve spices in it! Of course you were going to hate it!”
My version has a mere ten spices, if you count garlic and onions. Nevertheless, it lacks rice and shrimp that my dad was looking for in the dish, so I’m guessing he really wouldn’t be into my version. That’s okay. Today I’m going to give him the cookies that I posted earlier this week.
I should mention that Dad’s continued efforts to step out of his food comfort zone, did lead him to the discover that he is a fan of saag paneer, or Indian creamed spinach, much to the whole family’s delight :)
As far as the ten spices in my version of this dish are concerned, I’m hoping that won’t scare you away. These are all spices that, if you don’t already have them on hand and have to go out and purchase, I’m confident you will get good use out of, at least if you’re into global and particularly Indian cooking. I’ve also simplified this recipe as much as possible. Recipes for conventional biryani can call for all kinds of involved steps: roast this, sautee that…rinse, lather, repeat. I pared down the steps as much as I could, so once you’ve got your quinoa cooked, everything should come together rather quickly and easily in a single skillet.
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth + an additional 1/2 cup
- 1 tbsp. vegan margarine
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 3/4 cup diced carrots 1-2 carrots
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 8 cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 5 cloves
- 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. chili powder can add more for heat
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- Rinse quinoa under cold, running water for two minutes. Add to small saucepan with 3/4 cup vegetable broth.
- Bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-18 minutes. Allow to sit, covered for another five minutes, while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Melt margarine in large skillet. Add onion and sautee until softened, about five minutes.
- Add garlic, peas and carrots and sautee another five minutes, or until veggies begin to get tender.
- Add all other ingredients except for cilantro, including the additional 1/2 cup of broth. Simmer for about ten minutes, or until excess liquid is absorbed/evaporated.
- Add cilantro at the end, and then spoon into bowls and sprinkle some additional cilantro on top.