Have you ever hated a dish without even trying it? I dreaded quinoa mehnnnn! I can’t even tell you why. I had read a lot about this superfood (foods that offer multiple benefits for the body without a high amount of fat and calories accompanying them), being a high protein alternative, a weapon to fight hypertension and obesity, an appetit surpressant and a miracle worker that slows down the aging process but I still thought it can’t taste great. I tried it out once at a friend’s in a salad and thought oh well, it’s not super (tasty) after all.
But here’s what you need to know about this superfood: Though considered a grain, quinoa is in fact a seed from a vegetable linked to Swiss chard, spinach and beets and it is considered gluten-free. Quinoa is pronounced as “keen-wah,”. It comes is several colors, the white, red, black, purple, orange, pink, grey, green, red and the rainbow quinoa which is a mixture of all the different colors (what I used for this recipe) and slightly different taste and textures ranging from mild (white quinoa) to slightly chewy and nutty (red quinoa) to earthy and lightly sweet (black quinoa).
Don’t get me wrong I love to try new things, especially in the kitchen. I play with food a lot, all the time, but this was one food I was not willing to play with at all. Just the name frightened me. Coupled with the fact it tasted bitter the first time I tried it. Yikes! But as they say, we have to face our fears. So I started looking for ways to make it taste more like the food I love most – African food – and what better way to cook it than make jellof out of it? So this is my healthy jellof quinoa guys.
Have you ever tried quinoa? We would love your feedback in the comments area below.
- 1 cup quinoa (I used rainbow quinoa)
- 1 cup mixed veggies of choice
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, püréed
- 1 Tbsp. tin tomato (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh prawns
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp.curry
- 1 tsp. garlic, crushed
- 1 Habanero pepper, crushed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (any other vegetable oil will do)
- Salt and veggie broth to taste
- Quinoa has a coating on the outside of it that gives it a bitter taste if not rinsed well before cooking. So rinse your quinoa under running water using a sieve.
- Pour oil in a non-stick pan, add onions and sautée for 2 minutes.
- If you are using tin tomato, add it next and let it fry for a while to reduce sweetness. I purposefully did not use it for this recipe because I am trying to eat whole fresh foods as much as I can.
- Next, add fresh tomatoes and all other ingredients. Let it simmer for 5mins untill the tomato thickens.
- Now add your quinoa and cover with aluminium foil. Remember that jollof rice needs steam to cook not water so we are applying the same principle here.
- Cook for about 15mins under medium heat while checking from time to see to make sure that your jollof is not burning.
- If you are not using a non-stick pan, then your jollof is lightly to burn so make sure to reduce heat and add water drop-wise.
- After 15 mins, your jollof will be almost cooked, now is the best time to add your mixed veggies. We don't want them over cooked so simmer for a minute or two and serve.
- You can use any quinoa variaty you chose. Just take note that some like the white cooks faster than others for example black quinoa.
- To know check if quinoa is properly cooked, you can see little curled “tails” emerged from the grains.