Sunny winter greens,colour and Quinoa – The Star “Grain” of 2013 – Quinoa Salad with an Asian flair -a recipe

Varieties of Quinoa- white, red, black (not shown) and mixed.

Varieties of Quinoa- white, red, black (not shown) and mixed

Young lettuces and herbs in good company with winter pansies!

Young lettuces and herbs in good company with winter pansies!

Quinoa, commonly thought of as a grain is in fact a seed like substance that grows on a leafy green vegetable, rather like spinach and swiss chard. Although cultivated some 3,000 years ago by the Andean race in South America, it has recently been proclaimed as a “Superfood” and this year has reached fame as the United Nation’s star  featured for 2013 “YEAR OF QUINOA”.

This has delighted me, as for many years I have been expounding Her virtues and encouraging  cooking class enthusiasts to enjoy the light, fluffy slightly nutty flavour and the myriad of health benefits that She brings to our body.

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Here is cooked Quinoa.  I have used 1/2 of the white variety and 1/2 of the red.

To the Incas Quinoa was considered a sacred food.  They called it “The Gold of the Incas” and recognised it as valuable in increasing the stamina of their warriors.

They were right!  Today, it has been shown that not only is it high in protein , the protein it supplies is a “Complete Protein”meaning that it includes all 9 essential amino acids, and all are well balanced. It is especially rich with the amino acid “Lysine” vital for tissue repair and growth.

This “Star” also has many other health building nutrients, including manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, vitamins C and B. Considered most beneficial for those suffering migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Along with all these benefits, Quinoa is a good source of dietary fibre and calcium. It is gluten free, easy to digest and helpful for Vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.

So, it is little wonder that this excellent small, yet powerful seed has taken the world’s attention and been proclaimed by the United Nation as it’s star- making 2013 “The Year Of Quinoa”.

I hope you will enjoy this scrumptious high nutrient dense Quinoa salad, a perfect repairing and restoring dish!

QUINOA SALAD with an ASIAN FLAIR – A Recipe

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wonderful refreshing salad rich in protein, vitamin and minerals.

To cook the Quinoa:    1 cup quinoa (organic is best)
2 cups best quality water

Wash the quinoa three times. Drain, cover with the water, bring to the boil. Next cover with a lid, reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for another 12 minutes. It should be light and fluffy. Set aside until it cools  to warm. Now ready to make the salad.

  • ½ organic carrot julienned
  • 1 cup frozen soya beans lightly blanched
  • 1 cup diced snow peas
  • 1 Tbs celery tops
  • 2-3 small red radishes julienned
  • ½ small red capsicum finely julienned
  • 3  finely julienned  spring onions
  • 2 handfuls mint leaves torn into small pieces (variation coriander leaves can replace mint)
  • ½ red onion  finely diced
  • ½ cup dry roasted  peanuts
  • 3 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the Dressing:

  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 ½ limes juiced
  • 1 tsp wheat free Tamari
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp very finely chopped green chili

Into a beautiful bowl place the Quinoa and all the vegetables leaving the peanuts aside till the end. In a separate small bowl mix all of the dressing ingredients except the honey. Make sure the honey is a raw variety, put it into a small cup and stand the cup in very hot water for a few seconds to loosen the honey. Make sure that the water does not contact the honey directly.  When the honey has melted a little add to the dressing and then drizzle over the salad. Now add the peanuts and lightly stir through. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds  and if desired garnish With some more mint leaves (or coriander if these have been used instead of mint). Scrumptious satisfying any time of the year!

Exquisite Orchid!
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“Orchids” Poem by Shi Tao (c 1642-1707)

Words from a sympathetic heart,
are as fragrant as Orchids;
Like orchids in feeling,
They are agreeable and always joyous;
You should wear these orchids
To protect yourself from the spring chill;
When the spring winds are cold,
Who can say you are safe?

Reference for this poem. Wen Fong (1976) “Returning Home” – New York , NY, USA: George Braziller.  Translation is due to Wen Fong.

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