Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Quinoa and millet pilaf

Yes, millet is birdseed.

Now you know that, you should also know that it is nutty in flavour, high in B vitamins, delicious and really low in calories. Perfect gluten-free food. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), an ancient grain native to South America, is similarly nutty and and is one of the most nutrient-rich, gluten-free grains available. In fact there is more and better quality protein in this dish than in your average meat-and-two-veg diet! Too many people, especially vegetarians, rely solely on pasta, bread and dairy products as their main source of food. By varying the grains you eat, your digestive system will improve and your taste buds will thank you. This is so yum, so simple, that I plan to make it again tonight with some slices of haloumi cheese pan-fried and some sautéed zucchini, left over from last fortnights' organic box...

Quinoa and millet pilaf

Serves 3-4

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 smallish onion, peeled and finely diced (the smaller the dice, the better)

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bashed with a knife

1 small carrot, diced

½ teaspoon of ground cumin

½ teaspoon of ground coriander

½ cup of hulled millet (most health food shops should sell this)

½ cup of quinoa (again, from health food shops)

2 cups of water

½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

½ teaspoon of sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a lidded saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until soft, but not coloured. Add the garlic and carrot and sauté for another 4-5 minutes.

Add the spices, stirring constantly to stop them from burning, for 1 minute. Add the millet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the quinoa and sauté for 2 minutes more.

Add the water, orange juice and sea salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, clamp the lid on tightly and simmer very gently (a simmer pad beneath the saucepan is really useful here), for 35-40 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Take off the heat, leaving the lid on and rest for 5 minutes before fluffing up with a fork and serving.

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