Monday, December 16, 2013

My Cooking Attempts: Thai Quinoa

I truly believe in eating healthy. I don't eat healthy to be skinny, TRUST me that ain't gonna happen. I eat healthy to feel good about what's going into my body.  I also believe in delicious food. When people think of eating healthy their minds usually go to bland, boiled chicken breast and flavorless steamed veggies. I think healthy food can and should be flavorful. If done right, healthy food tastes scrumpdillyicious! This Thai quinoa recipe (a play on Pad Thai) most definitely fills those requirements: healthy and delicious.
For those of you who have yet to get on the quinoa bandwagon here's a quinoa infomercial for you:
Quinoa is one of the world's healthiest foods. I've read that if you're going to get stranded on a deserted island, quinoa is the grain you want to be stranded with. Quinoa is a protein and fiber rich, complex carbohydrate that contains iron, antioxidants, B-vitamins and so much more. It's oh so versatile, you can use it in sweet or savory recipes, and it's easy to work with. Just take a look a this recipe:

1 cup of uncooked quinoa
2 1/4 cups of unsalted chicken broth (you can use water as well)
3/4 tsp salt

Veggies and more
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups snow peas or sugar snap peas
1 cup sprouts
1 red bell pepper
1 garlic clove
Coconut oil

1 lb uncooked shrimp
2 tsp Ground ginger
2 tsp Powdered garlic
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp coconut milk
2 tsp Srircha
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 garlic clove
1 lime
2 tsp grated ginger

Sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 bunch green onion

Start off with the quinoa.

Measure your quinoa and place it in a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cold water until the water runs clear.

Although most quinoa is pre-washed it's always a good idea to rinse it off.
Add chicken broth, salt (if broth is unsalted), and rinsed quinoa in a small pot or saucepan, bring to a boil. Lower heat to a low simmer, cover, and allow quinoa to cook as water evaporates. Usually around 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa gently with a fork. Set aside.

Prepare your dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to your food processor or blender.

Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Prepare you veggies. Shred your carrots. Rinse the sugar snap peas and sprouts. Julienne your bell pepper. Dice your garlic.

Add a little coconut oil to a pan, medium high heat. Add garlic, stir. Add all other veggies. Cook 3-4 minutes, until veggies are crisp, yet tender. Remove from heat.

Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl and mix with cooked veggies. Mix in dressing, incorporate well. Set aside.

Heat pan to medium high heat, add a teaspoon or so of coconut oil. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and ground ginger. Add shrimp to warmed pan. As soon as they start to turn a little pink and curl, turn to the other side. Cook for another 30 seconds to one minute.

Remove from heat. Do not overcook!

Roughly chop the cilantro, thinly slice the green onion. Now just put it all together. Add about 1 cup (or whatever you consider a normal serving size) of the quinoa/ veggie mix to a bowl. Top with shrimp and a dash green onion, cilantro, and slivered almonds. FYI I forgot to add the cilantro and green onion, but it was delicious anyways! Enjoy!

Note: The protein in pretty flexible, instead of shrimp I have also used chicken or salmon. Quinoa is so healthy you could even skip the protein and enjoy as is. The salad can be eaten warm or cold.
David's only feedback: Slice the sugar snap peas or snow peas into smaller bite-sized portions. I will keep that in mind for next time!

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