Ladies and ladies, the quinua ship has landed.
Was thinking stir-fry as my veggie sense has been tingling all weekend, but then the magic of parsley and lemon juice won me over. Traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur, but who wants that when you have Peru’s finest goosefoot seeds lying around?
Quinua, dry, looks like this (p.s. now you all know the secret of how I “measure” cups n’ such). In its natural state, it generates a coating of bitter-tasting saponins, which ought to be removed by commerical processing, but it’s recommended that you rinse the buggers for a minute or so in a mesh strainer. I acquired one today at my favorite Asian mart for just this purpose.
Voila! Quinua, cooked. Just like most rice grains, you’ll want to boil twice the amount of water as quinua, then let it steam for 10-15 minutes or so. It will be exceedingly obvious when it’s done, since the germ inside the shell emerges and makes the whole thing translucent and kind of golden. It will also make your kitchen smell nutty, which continually had me thinking I was burning the beasties. Not so.
While the quinua was steaming, I threw together chopped cherry tomatoes, a carrots, a cucumber, a red bell pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, S&P, and a whole lotta parsley. I also roasted a chicken thigh in the oven, diced it, and threw it in for extra protein. 2/3 cup or so of the completed quinua was then distributed throughout.
The recipe suggests that tabbouleh improves as it sits, but this will require further investigation – no WAY was any of this leftover. Tabbouleh is often served room temp or even cold in restaurants, but this warm lemony version of the crunchy, colorful Lebanese salad was exactly what the doctor ordered for a nutrient-starved February afternoon.
Unquestionably, this is something I will be bringing to potlucks in the near future.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 1/3 cups water
2/3 cup quinua
4-6 cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, grated
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, grated
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cooked chicken thigh, diced (or breast, or whatever)
olive oil to taste
a big ole squeeze of lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add quinua and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine everything else. Stir in cooled quinua. Stick in fridge if you’d like it cold and have more patience than me.
NOTE: although most English sources spell this magic seed “Q-U-I-N-O-A,” I’ve been informed by none other than our very own Aldo (!!!!) that true blue Peruanos go “Q-U-I-N-U-A,” much like it, uh, says on the package I bought. Noted and corrected.