Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quinoa, Peanuts & Beet Greens Pilaf with a refreshing Summer Drink

This pilaf is inspired from one of my favourite tiffins - Sabudana khichdi. The simple combination of roasted peanuts and jeera makes the khichdi very yummy. I substituted Sabudana with Quinoa. Quinoa is getting popular as a supergrain these days. This in fact is my first quinoa experience. Check out quinoa facts & history and its nutritional profile here and here respectively.
I had fresh beets that I had bought yesterday. All pretty in purple and green, they were looking at me and smiling - I couldn't ignore them! I like to use the greens that come with the veggies - the cleaned and cut up stalks usually go in dals or sambar and the chopped up greens go in with veggie stirfries. For this reason, I look at both the veggie and its greens when I go vegetable shopping. If one or the other looks questionable, most likely I won't pick it up.
To keep us hydrated during summertime, we drink a lot of Sambharam which is essentially spiced up buttermilk. Sambharam is a very popular thirst quencher in Kerala (also called Neermor in Tamil). I paired this Pilaf with Sambharam and it was indeed a lovely combination.
Update on 7/10 - I forgot to mention when writing this post that I had used pre-rinsed quinoa. This means that the quinoa has already been soaked and is ready to be cooked. Presoaking and rinsing reportedly releases the saponins that make it bitter tasting. The brand I used is called Ancient Harvest Quinoa and is available in most grocery stores in the US. I would feel horrible if someone made this pilaf and it ended up tasting bitter because of incomplete information.

Quinoa, Peanuts & Beet Greens Pilaf
Quinoa - 1 cup uncooked (I used the traditional white variety)
Peanuts - 3/4 cup
Thai Green chillies sliced lengthwise - 8 or 10 - adjust according to your liking
Beet Greens - 7 or 8 leaves - I separated the vein in the center of the leaves for this dish so it didn't overpower the crunchy chewy nature of the quinoa.
Cumin seeds (Jeera) - 1 and 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - according to taste
  • To cook quinoa, I followed an energy saving method that was described in the box it came in. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup of quinoa, mix well. Bring it back to a boil. Remove from fire and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Leave it closed for 20 minutes.
  • After about 20 minutes, the quinoa would be cooked. Spread in a flat plate to cool it.
  • In another pan, add peanuts, toast to a golden yellow colour evenly without burning. No oil is required for this. Remove to a plate and cool. When cool to handle, peel them by rubbing between your palms, discard the peel. (If you are using store bought blanched peanuts that are already peeled, you can skip this peeling step).
  • Powder the peanuts in a spice grinder to make a coarse powder. Keep aside.
  • In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil. When it is sufficiently hot, add the jeera(cumin) seeds.
    After they splutter, add the chopped green chillies and curry leaves. Sauté for a couple minutes.
  • Add the chopped beet greens and a pinch of turmeric powder. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté for another 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the fire. Add the cooked quinoa, the powdered peanuts and mix evenly.
  • Check for salt and transfer to a serving bowl.
Sambharam (Buttermilk whipped with ginger, green chillies & curry leaves)
Traditionally this summer drink is made using buttermilk, I make this at home by blending together 1 part of plain curd(yoghurt) with 3 to 3 and 1/2 parts of water. If you have buttermilk, you can use it as well.
Yoghurt - 1 cup (Or alternatively, buttermilk - 1 cup)
Water - 3 to 3 1/2 cups (If using buttermilk, add about 2 to 2 and 1/2 cups of water)
Fresh curry leaves - 3 or 4 sprigs
Ginger - 2 inch piece, chopped coarsely
Lime juice - squeezed fresh from 2 limes
Thai green chillies - 1 or 2
Salt - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon

  • In a blender jar, add the curry leaves, ginger, green chillies and blend well with 1/2 cup of water.
  • Add the yoghurt, salt, lime juice and another cup of water, whip.
  • Pour it through a strainer, discard the waste. Add the remaining water to the strained buttermilk, check for salt.
  • Pour the whipped up spicy buttermilk into glasses and serve. Enjoy!
I am sending this to the July edition of No Croutons Required, hosted by Lisa this month.
Also sending this dish to JFI:Peanuts, conceptualized by Indira of Mahanandi and hosted by Pavani at Cook'sHideout. Since this is my own original recipe, I am also sending this to the Culinarty Original Recipes #13 hosted by Lore.


  1. Yummy pilaf. Great blog..! Do check mine..!

  2. Hi Vidya,

    First time here, nice blog. Your Pilaf souns great, I think i can substitute with sabhudhana , I don't know whether we get Quino In Chennai.

  3. Wow wow wow that very different quinoa dish, never heard of beet root greens? never knew we could eat them! a good one dear!

  4. looks soo delicious... yummmmmmm

  5. it looks delicious.never tried with peanuts and beet greens.

  6. Lovely one vidhya. A complete meal power packed with nutrition. Nice one.

  7. Pilaf sounds delicious...

  8. Nice combination of ingredients and a interesting way to cook Quinoa. Thanks for sending it over to JFI.

  9. Tasty,delicious n healthy treat!!
    Drop in sometime to my blog!!!

  10. I was wondering what to do with Quinoa since yesterday, Glad to get this recipe, looks yumm and too tempting. Pictures are awesome.

  11. Vidya you always use such great spices! This blend for quinoa sounds equally yummy. Thanks for sharing your dish with the Original Recipes Round-Up.

  12. This is a wonderful entry and quinoa is probably my favorite grain. Thanks so much for participating this month!

  13. Have to try your healthy Quinoa recipe.
    Thank you Vidya for your feedback, I am glad you liked the Arisim paruppu rice.

  14. You have a nice blog here... Love your dish with peanuts...

  15. Hi Vidya, Thanks for visiting my space. You have a lovely one with so many recipes. I would love to go thro'Thanks once again.

  16. Dish looks too good and sounds really creative. Keep it going.

    Thanks for visiting my site and I am really happy to find another blogging friend. :)

    Will keep visiting. You have a lovely blog. :)

  17. Amazing coincidence Vidya, I have been thinking that I should try mixing in some quinoa the next time I try sabudana khichdi and here you made it entirely with quinoa, loved it....definitely going to try this one :-)


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