Quinoa dish with taste of summer

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Quinoa (pro­nounced "Keen­wah") is gluten free, high in pro­tein and known as a ‘‘su­per grain’’ for its many nu­tri­tional qual­i­ties and health ben­e­fits.

Orig­i­nally a staple of the An­dean re­gion, it is now be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in western so­ci­ety as we recog­nise the ben­e­fits of con­sum­ing it.

Although we cook quinoa like many other grains, it is in fact a rel­a­tive of spinach, beets and chard and the part we eat is the seed. I have to say, back­pack­ing through South Amer­ica back in my 20s I don’t specif­i­cally re­mem­ber quinoa. I guess the more mem­o­rable meals were found in street stalls such as bar­be­cued guinea pig and in­sects we couldn’t name!

Of­ten in these cold months, we tend to dine on end­less slow cooked meals, stews, roasts, cur­ries, soups. Any­thing that can pro­vide us com­fort over win­ter.

I some­times tire of these and dream of those lovely fresh meals we eat in spring and summer. The meal below em­u­lates this de­sire. It’s sim­ple, healthy, fast, full of flavour and thor­oughly re­fresh­ing. You can serve it warm or cold and it looks so bright and invit­ing on the plate. I have used Si­mon Gault’s stock in this recipe. I per­son­ally find it one of the best stocks on the mar­ket, be­ing gluten free and ac­tu­ally made from real chicken. En­joy a taste of spring!

Peri Peri Chicken with Quinoa Salad In­gre­di­ents Rub

2 tsp pa­prika 1 tsp ginger pow­der 1.5 tsp ground car­da­mon 1.5 tsp gar­lic salt 1.5 tsp oregano 1 tsp cayenne pep­per 4 free range chicken breasts-skin off 1-2 tbl Olive oil

Quinoa Salad

2 cups quinoa 4 cups wa­ter with Si­mon Gault chicken stock added to taste 5-6 toma­toes chopped 2 hand­fuls fresh French beans, top and tailed 2 large hand­fuls of co­rian­der chopped Juice of a lemon Salt to sea­son

Yo­ghurt Sauce

250ml nat­u­ral yo­ghurt 1 hand­ful of mint chopped Juice of half a lemon


1. Mix all in­gre­di­ents in the rub to­gether and roll the chicken breasts in it. Cover and set aside in fridge till ready to cook. The longer you leave it, the more flavour will de­velop in the chicken. 2. Rinse the quinoa un­der the tap thor­oughly to en­sure it will not have a bit­ter flavour when cooked. 3. Bring the wa­ter and stock to boil in a pot and cook the quinoa as per cook­ing in­struc­tions on pack, usu­ally 15-20 mins. I do it in my rice cooker, it de­liv­ers light fluffy quinoa with­out fail each time. Fluff with a fork once cooked. Cool or leave warm de­pend­ing on method. 4. Top and tail the beans and blanch in boil­ing wa­ter for 2-3 mins then run un­der cold wa­ter. Chop up the toma­toes. 5. Heat 1-2 tbl olive oil in a fry pan and when medium hot, cook the chicken on each side for 4-5 mins, be care­ful not to over­cook else will dry out. Rest when ready for 5 mins then slice. 6. Mix the in­gre­di­ents for the yo­ghurt dress­ing to­gether in a bowl and place in fridge till ready to serve. 7. Mix all the vegeta­bles in­clud­ing the chopped co­rian­der through the quinoa , and squeeze over the lemon juice. Place sliced chicken on top and serve with the dress­ing. Note to add in the co­rian­der at the very end if serv­ing warm else it will dis­colour and wilt.

Serves 4

Please note you can add in any other vegeta­bles your kids en­joy and use less cayenne to make it a more fam­ily friendly din­ner. Vege­tar­i­ans can dine on this sump­tu­ous salad, ob­vi­ously ex­chang­ing the chicken stock for vege stock.

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