(Update: Check out my TV cooking segment for this recipe.)
It was many years ago when my mum first set a bowl of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) in front of me. It didn’t look like rice; in fact, to my teenaged self, it resembled something straight out of a hippie-infested Woodstock-ian field. Quinoa is, in fact, a grain that originated in South America and was once known as “the gold of the Incas”. It became a sustaining grain for the people of the Andean region about 6000 years before Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin performed before the long-tressed flower-carrying children of the sixties.
If you are attempting to increase your fiber and low-fat protein intake by consuming more whole-grain foods, quinoa is your ticket to success. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 5.2 grams and 8.1 grams of dietary fiber and protein, respectively. In addition, it contains high levels of folate. As much as I enjoy brown rice dishes such as Toasted Brown Rice with Mixed Mushrooms, Spinach & Thyme and Ginger, Jalapeño & Coconut Brown Rice with Cauliflower, I don’t always have time to wait 45 minutes while the brown rice cooks. Quinoa, on the other hand, takes a mere 20 minutes to reach a stage where the tender, nutty grain is ready to serve.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger and 2 cloves garlic, minced.
Add 1 cup quinoa and stir to combine with the ginger and garlic.
While the quinoa is cooking, slice 8 ounces crimini mushrooms.
The trick with mushrooms is to cook them in a skillet that is big enough to give the mushrooms to room. If they are too crowded, the mushrooms will begin to release all of their liquid and steam, rather than brown. To optimize the caramelization, do not stir too often.
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Quinoa with Caramelized Crimini Mushrooms, Soy Sauce & Ginger
2 tsp canola oil, divided
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic. Sauté, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add quinoa and stir to combine with the ginger and garlic. Add vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook all of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft and brown in spots, stirring occasionally. The trick with mushrooms is to cook them in a skillet that is big enough to give the mushrooms to room. If they are too crowded, the mushrooms will begin to release all of their liquid and steam, rather than brown. To optimize the caramelization, do not stir too often.
Stir the mushrooms into the cooked quinoa, along with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Garnish with diced red bell pepper and serve.