Friday, April 09, 2010

Of Lucky Escapes, Quinoa & The Past Week

The week started off with what was meant to be a spouse-pleasing biriyani, but the dustbin, not his stomach, became its receptacle instead.

Don't try to imitate the dum action by weighing down a light and unsteady lid with a heavy stone mortar and pestle. They will overturn the lid and fall inside the biriyani if you're lucky, otherwise spill the biriyani all over the stove and under the microwave, in which process you would burn your arms too.

I was lucky.

After fishing out the hot mortar and pestle from the hot biriyani and washing your arms to make sure the experience doesn't leave any scars, a most familiar fire and brimstone smell (well, not really, it smelt like well done kababs) tells you your biriyani is going going gone to hell anyway - that you should have trusted your gut instincts and added some water to the meat underneath the rice in the heavy-bottomed pan despite the instructions in the fancy cookbook.

Cook in its own steam? Hah!

It's a few days later and you remember having soaked some dried cranberries overnight a few days ago, forgotten that you drained and stored them in the fridge. You have an hour before work starts, why don't you set about making the salad as planned with quinoa, that wonder grain with all the eight essential amino acids, among other goodnesses?

Step 1: Retrieve the cranberries. Reach in, pluck that dish out and realise it was the milk after it spills all over the fridge and under. There's some on your feet too - rub it in for a free beauty treatment! Clean up the mess (the bonus is that the dust bunnies under the fridge come out).

Step 2: Set to making the salad on the dining table with the TV news on in front of you. Topple the basket of TV remotes over, fix all the loosened parts and leave it in the same precarious position.

Mince, chop, boil, grind.


The salad, that is.

Meanwhile, YOU can go have the third bath of the hot, humid summer's day that it is, sit under the fan a while to try and calm and cool the tortured spirit and flesh and give thanks that bigger misfortune hasn't befallen you.

Get through the day thinking of this new, never-before-in-your-experience salad.

Here's the original recipe, or is it from here? (And below is how I made do.)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
4 tbsp honey
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced green chillies
1/2 cup dry cranberries, soaked overnite, drained
Juice from 2 big limes
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
Salt to taste

Rinse quinoa several times. Boil water, add quinoa and simmer 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Let rest, cool a bit. Add some salt, fluff.

Meanwhile, combine half the honey, garlic and green chillies in a bowl.

Whiz the cranberries and remaining honey and lime juice in a mixer.

When quinoa has cooked and cooled a little, stir in both mixtures.

Add the mint, cilantro and red onion to the quinoa and mix thoroughly, but not with a heavy hand.


This goes off to The Cabinet of Prof Kitty who's hosting Kalyn's WHB this week, now administered by Haalo.


  1. Good tips on how to deal with that biryani. That quinoa does look good but somehow I can't get my spirits up for it.

  2. ohh thats a scary situation. the quinoa looks heavenly for these summer months.

  3. So this is the story behind the biryani pic. I was wondering why you threw it all away.

  4. Good tips on how to deal with that biryani. I was wondering why you threw it all away.
    baby cribs

  5. Oops a Biryani is not supposed to land in dustbin..sad !
    While making biryani, I tend to leave some water in the veggie mix, place the veggies and cooked rice in layers,cover the pan with aluminum foil, place a lid over it, and place the whole pan on griddle, and cook it on lowest flame.This way you can cook the biryani for about 15-20 minutes without worrying of it getting burnt.Hope thts the right way, but it do works for me and I end up with some real good tasting biryani in my plate ;-)
    The quina looks awesome, loved the recipe, wanna surely give it a shot !

  6. I'm sorry you had such a traumatic first experience! This dish looks delicious though. Love the ingredient combo. Cranberries, honey, and quinoa - I'm in.

  7. Some days the universe conspires they way you wish it wouldn't! :-)

  8. Sra,
    OK things doesn't go the way you have planned them to go ..but this is how sometimes I have made Pulao and keep the flame at low(mine was quite heavy though !!).Anyways that was hard luck :(.. I have some quinoa left ..I was wondering what should I do with them,looks like I have a soluion now :).
    hugs and smiles

  9. When I saw it on 365/FB, I wondered why, now I know :)

    I am yet to try quinoa, but the salad is a good way to start, may be I'll be the only one who will(have to) eat it:(

  10. I love quinoa - but haven't made many salads with it. Now that summer is coming I'll try this one - even planted coriander!
    As to your day.... At least you got the dust bunnies.....

  11. Hi, came onto your blog from the food story link. Then was checking other posts.

    Not the season for home made biriyanis huh?

  12. Glad you made it through all the accidents! The quinoa sounds very tasty!

  13. The Quinoa looks healthy. Just like Alka, I normally cover the utensil with Aluminium foil and place it in a huge pan filled with water and let it cook on a medium low flame. Biriyani comes out great for me.

  14. It is so frustrating when stuff like that happens.

    I have a box quinoa but haven't gotten around to doing anything with it. I like the idea of your salad.

  15. A real witty read Sra...I am imagining every scene u've described. I too once used a pestle as a weight on a lid of a vessel inside cooker and have fished it out later. thought nobody in this world would attempt such things but looks like I have a nice sweet company ;) And my where did u buy this quinoa ? The salad looks lovely.

  16. If I had to throw Biryni in a dustbin for whatever reason, I would be depressed for the rest of the week.
    Quinoa has become a very big part of my diet. Love it that u gave the cranberries a whiz along with the honey.. something new and will try it.


  17. Ha really make me laugh, I thought I am the only one' to mess up stuff' in the kitchen. A quick quinoa fix sounds wonderful:)

  18. so sorry abt the biryani, i too wondered why the biryani was trashed on the 365day project....never eaten quinoa...tho the idea of soaked cranberries in that salad is very tempting....i hope your day was much better than the morning sra...

  19. Ha, ha. I'm sorry that I'm laughing at your disastrous day, but you shouldn't write such funny stuff!
    At least you survived it all. :)

    That biryani and book the one we talked about?

    Never eaten (or seen) quinoa before so cannot say much about that except did you buy it here or bring it from across there?aprna00

  20. Oopsie on what happened to your dum biryani. I usually cover it in aluminium foil and a lid and pop it into the oven when I want to use dum... Must've been very disappointing.
    The quinoa salad sounds great though.

  21. isn't it most annoying when you spend time on a dish and it falls apart on you. I think the clean-up is the most painful!
    Btw. reminds me i need to make quinoa soon..the last time i made was when we met!

  22. I have never cooked quinoa. Doesn't the texture look similar to couscous?

  23. glad you escaped unscathed! quinoa salad looks like a relief :D

  24. Kudos to your patience, i would have thrown the towel in at the Biryano stage itself!!! glad you managed to come with the fab salad at the end of all that - sounds like you are just like me ;)

  25. sweet, sour and spicy? How does the garlic pair with the cranberries? i usually just make quinoa like a stirfry. still too cold here for a salad!

  26. hi sra,
    where did you get quinoa in it available at the ordinary grocers or in some fancy store..

    anyone know where to get this stuff in pune?

    Biryani is hilarious, and I am glad you didnt burn yourself..also glad you tried to do the authentic 'dum' thing. It is so difficult to get the actual biryani anywhere, at least in our neck of woods.. Most people fry rice in masala paste and dish it up as 'Biryani'..

    oh well!


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