Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Quinoa and curry

My initation to the pleasures of curry cuisine happened via the great Indian buffet joints in downtown Berkeley, where students swarm the streets near campus for cheap and hearty meals day in and day out. Also, for six years the super-spouse and I lived just two blocks from Ajanta, the award-winning Indian restaurant on Solano Avenue, where we came to know some traditional dishes we hadn't encountered before, such as biryani, a baked rice dish with spices, fruits, and nuts.

When it's cold outside, curry always comes to mind. It warms us up from the inside out and fills the house with great aromas. And since it's been raining practically every day for weeks in "sunny" California, I'm house-bound a lot and want it to be aromatic and cozy and tasty in here!

Here's a recipe from my latest book, 15-Minute Vegetarian. It makes delicious use of quinoa, that ancient protein-rich grain originally cultivated by the Aztecs. It's available at natural food stores and probably some regular supermarkets, too. If you haven't tried it, I hope this inspires you to buy some and experiment.

Keep in mind that spices lose their potency over time. If your curry powder has been in your cupboard for months, toss it out and get some fresh. Or better yet, make up a batch by mixing together some ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and cayenne, in proportions that suit your own taste. (The above mentioned book gives an actual recipe, or you can find one somewhere in the blogosphere, I imagine.)

Blessings and bon appetit!


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cups finely diced green cabbage
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup frozen shelled peas
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly. Combine it in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat and add the onion, bell pepper, cabbage, curry powder, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and saute for 3 minutes, then add the peas and broth, cover the pan tightly, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables, including any cooking liquid that remains in the saucepan. Stir to combine well and cover the pan. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for 1 or 2 minutes before serving, to infuse the quinoa with flavor.



At 11:27 AM, Blogger Fiber said...

This sounds great, and I love quinoa with anything.
I'll have to give it a try!

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Mindy T. said...

Hey, Fiber. I hope to have a photo of this dish posted by the end of the day, cuz it's so pretty... Thanks for stopping by.


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