Although I like great tasting food as much as the next guy, I do tend to pay attention to my health and diet. All of those college biology courses might be to blame, but I I have also had an innate interest in health since I was just a little tike. Recently I have been on a workout routine that requires me to have a large amount of good quality protein in my diet. As I don’t want to overload myself with too much saturated fat, I began considering adding some plant sources to meet my protein needs and lo and behold I came across Quinoa.
Quinoa is a small, round grain-like seed originally from South America, that can supposedly be used in the place of rice in most dishes. It is one of the rare plant-derived foods that contain complete protein (one with significant amounts of all essential amino acids). It also contains numerous vitamins and minerals, making it a very nutritionally dense food choice in comparison to potatoes, rice, and wheat.
The dish I made with the quinoa was delicious and my family now prefers it to rice after having it for dinner. I decided to make a Mandarin stir fry with my quinoa with a twist similar to fried rice. Confused? Just read the following recipe I conjured up to understand and enjoy!:
1) Add 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa and 1/4 tsp of salt to 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a small pot. Bring to a boil, cover, then turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. When the time is up, fluff the quinoa with a fork (like you might do for rice).
2) Add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil to a large pan or wok. Heat on med/high heat till the oil is hot, then add stir fry vegetables. I used a vegetable stir fry blend with a mix of broccoli, green beans, snow peas, carrots, red bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, baby corn, and yellow onion. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp red pepper to the vegetables and stir fry them until at the desired tenderness (about 5 minutes). Put them aside.
3) Dice a chicken breast into small pieces and fry in a pan with a small amount of oil until cooked. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl, then add to the chicken in the pan and scramble until the eggs are cooked.
4) Now add the quinoa to the pan and mix in 2 Tbsp of Mandarin-style stir fry sauce (you can also use soy sauce or teriyaki sauce for this). After the sauce is mixed through, add the vegetables to the pan and stir fry for about 1 more minute. The dish is ready to be served.