...than the previous post, I bring you a delightful recipe for summer. In honor of the Wizard Chimp, my wonderful vegan friend who will be visiting me for a few days, the recipe is meat- and dairy-free. But in case you think that vegan = flavorless and unappealing, feast your eyes on this (click photo for a close-up):
Look like something you might want to try after all? Okay, here we go...
Truly Excellent Curried Quinoa Salad
1. Get a cup of dry quinoa, rinse well,* and cook.**
2. Mix 2 peeled, chopped mangoes (or 1 if they're large) with 2 tsp. light-flavored oil (I use sunflower or safflower), 1 generous tsp. sweet curry powder, a little bit of salt, a teensy pinch of sugar (this is just to round out the flavor, not to make it "sweet," per se), a dab of chili-garlic paste (if you like spicy, but just a dab, okay? Some of the other flavors could get lost), and the juice of 1-2 limes.***
3. Mix together mango mixture, cooked (and mostly cooled) quinoa, about 2 cups of cooked black beans,**** and 3-4 Tbsp. each of chopped cilantro and scallions (the green part) until the colors look to be in about the right proportions to your discerning eye. Refrigerate for an hour to let the flavors blend. Adjust the seasonings if you need to.
So. Much. Yum. And perfect for a summer potluck, or perhaps as a side dish for a Caribbean meal.
*DO NOT skip or skimp on the rinse, or your quinoa (which has a very bitter natural coating) will be disgusting. My foolproof method for getting all that ick off is to place the quinoa in a really large bowl, mostly fill the bowl with water, let it soak for a few minutes, then get in that bowl and repeatedly rub handfuls of quinoa between your palms. Then drain the water (which should be quite cloudy), refill, and repeat 3-5 times, allowing the quinoa to soak for a few minutes each time, and draining off as much of the old water as possible without losing the quinoa. Be warned that quinoa is tiny and will go through (or get stuck in) all but the very finest strainers, so I find that draining with my hands works out just fine. Sounds awfully high-maintenance, but it's worth the effort: quinoa is high-protien, high-fiber, highly nutrient-dense, not to mention super-tasty when you get the hang of preparation, so you don't want to miss out.
**Most cookbooks recommend a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water, cooked for 15 minutes. I find this results in mooshy quinoa. I recommend 1 1/4 cups water for every 1 cup quinoa. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover tightly, and simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit, covered (no peeking!), for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff with fork. You can add salt at the beginning, or experiment with using stock in place of water, or whatever, depending on your particular recipe.
***If you're not vegan, this is the point where you can, if you choose, add a little bit of plain yogurt. Not too much, though: mooshiness is your enemy. In fact, if you go for the yogurt option, I'd skip the oil, or use only a very small amount.
****If you must use canned beans, then make sure they're well-drained, and give 'em at least one good (though gentle) rinse to get off any excess starchy goo.