Quinoa with Lentils- Protein Powerhouse.

Hello Dearies!!!! Hope you are all sticking to your new years resolutions as February is nearing and this is the time when most if not all of our resolutions go flying out of the window. I for this year, did not make any resolutions. I planned on changing my eating habits for my family's health and benefit and include some if not all of the healthy options. While chatting with some friends, we had an healthy discussion of how vegetarians who eat eggs still lack amounts of good protein that is so essential in the growth of young boys. This got me worried, as my boys are self declared vegetarians. We did not force our eating habits on our kids. They are and will always be free to eat whatever their heart desires. I myself was a hardcore meat and fish eater, but age and influences made a big difference and I turned a vegetarian. But the questions came back to me; really am I not giving the right food, am I hindering their growth?? such questions kind of haunted me pushing me into a guilt mode. I kept reading about Super-food Quinoa since some time. My SIL  praised on how easy it was to really cook it and how versatile it is to eat with salad, curry or even on its own. I was hooked. I went to whole foods to buy some, but being new to this food and the choices available there kind of overwhelmed me. Also the price was not for me for trial and error. I am frugal when it comes to spending. If we use it I do not think twice on the cost. But new food and  price around 12-15$ was  not for me. My search continued until one day I saw it in our wholesale club. The price was less than $7, which works for me for trial and error. I got the packet home and stared at it for a good 3 weeks before it hit me to do some search on the recipes on how to cook with it. I had initially planned on cooking it and mixing in some corn chat as nothing I believe nothing tastes bad with a little chat masala and salt. But my views changed then first time I cooked it with some garlic and rosemary, I had it as is with some flax seed chutney. Even Mr. Ash  gave it a try and he sort of liked it. He still prefers his rice  at dinner. Then we tried in an instant handvo, a famous gujrati snack, which he liked very well. My confidence in this super food is growing now. I am planning on using it in many more varieties which essentially ask for rava or rice. Join me in my search of some quick and easy quinoa recipes. Lets create some Quinoa magic all around us in year 2013.

To Make the Lentils in a slow cooker;

Makes around 3 cups of  Lentils;

You will need;
1.5 cup Lentils/I used Red Lentils/Masoor whole.
Salt to taste
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 inch piece Ginger,chopped
1 tbspn Oil
1 tsp ghee
1 tspn Cumin seeds
3 cloves Garlic,chopped
1 Large Onion chopped
Green chillies,slit 2
2 medium Tomatoes,chopped
1 Tspn Garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Wash and soak the lentils in the same vessel of the slow cooker for approx 8 hours. After the dal is well soaked, drain and prepare the tomato-onion masala.

In a wok, take the oil and the ghee, add the cumin, let it sizzle, then add the ginger and the garlic, add the onions and dash of salt. Let the mixture cook for 2 minutes, then ad the tomatoes and cook till the onion and tomato gets mashed well and oil starts separating from the sides. Add this to the soaked dal. Adjust the amount of water. I added water till an inch above the mixture, adjust the salt. add in the red chili powder, Green chillies and the garam masala. Cover with the lid and start the Slow cooker on High for 2 hours. After it boils, set it on Low and forget about it for a good 6-8 hours.
To Make Quinoa;

You will need;
1/2 Cup Quinoa- I have Organic Qunioa which I got from BJ's.
1 cup water
1/2 tsp Ghee/Clarified butter
1 clove garlic
3-5 curry leaves
1 tsp Cumin seeds/Jeera
Salt to taste

Wash and drain the quinoa in multiple changes of water. This is important as the Quinoa has skin which is bitter and multiple washes help in removing the  bitterness. I changed water 3 times. Keep aside the washed Quinoa to drain.

In a pan, heat the ghee, add the Cumin/jeera seeds, let them sizzle, then add the garlic, and then the curry leaves. When they get fried, add the washed Quinoa and roast for few minutes, Then last add water and salt to taste. Cover with a lid and let cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Take off the stove but keep covered. Fluff after 5 minutes. Its ready to eat. The quinoa tripled in size and after cooking. I ended up with close to 1.5 cups of cooked Quinoa.

 If you like Dalia or cracked wheat, this is similar to that after cooking but nuttier and fuller. The Half cup Quinoa with one cup of lentil soup filled me up and I did not have any other cravings. I had it for lunch and did not mind skipping the mid afternoon snack as I was really not very hungry. So if you trying to eat healthy and also watching your weight, This is a perfect meal in acceptable portion and also healthier than most fad foods which we run to get in health stores.

Donut liked it and is willing to try it in his lunch box,. Munchkin did not care less, he still prefers his rice like Mr. Ash. Phew!!!!! Am I tired or what, pleasing all 3 boys with their choice of dinner.

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