Five-Spice Quinoa with Toasted Almonds

  • Yield 4 to 6 servings

Five-spice powder is a seasoning that usually includes star anise, cinnamon, licorice root, fennel, and black or Sichuan pepper. It plays well against the slight nuttiness of quinoa, a grain that is rich in protein. Toasting the quinoa in a little oil adds a pleasing nuance of flavor. If the quinoa is sold in bulk or loose, I recommend rinsing it. If it’s in a package, you may omit this step.

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Photo by Romulo Yanes

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
3 tablespoons minced scallions
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
vegetarian broth
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Rinse the quinoa, if necessary, in a bowl, using your hand as a rake, and drain in a sieve.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat until very hot, about 20 seconds. Add the scallions, ginger, and five-spice powder and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the quinoa and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. The quinoa should be tender to the bite. Remove from the heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.
  3. If the almonds aren’t toasted, cook them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Let the quinoa cool slightly and then stir in the toasted almonds. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or soy sauce if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature as a staple dish instead of rice or couscous.
  4. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients including magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus.
Reprinted from: Simple Asian Meals © 2012 by Nina Simonds. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc. Available wherever books are sold.


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