Quinoa has gained a lot of attention in recent years due to its potent antioxidant properties and superior nutrient profile. It is also the highest protein grain known to man. This delicately textured and nutty-tasting seed can be used in a wide array of dishes, one of the tastiest of which is quinoa fried rice. Although quinoa hails from South America, it mingles surprisingly well with the Asian influence of the fried rice. The next time your family is craving Chinese takeout, whip this up instead.
First prepare your quinoa rice
Place your 1cup of quinoa in the sieve and rinse it under cold water for a few minutes to eliminate any bitterness. You may also soak your quinoa, but this is no more effective. It helps to agitate it with your fingers while you’re rinsing. Let it drain, add it to the pot and pour in two cups of water and oil. Allow it to come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook it for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to stand for five minutes with the lid on. Fluff the final product with a fork and set it aside.
You are now ready to move onto the quinoa fried rice recipe.
- ½ c. of dry rice
- 1½ c. water or stock
- 1 med. carrot
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ small onion
- ½ cup vegetable such as snow peas, kale or broccoli
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- 3 tbsp. oil for frying
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- Sea salt or Thai fish sauce to taste
- Place the rice and water into a small pot and bring it to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and let it cook for 20 minutes with the lid left partially off. When it’s done, remove the lid and set the pot aside.
- Shred or julienne your carrots and thinly slice your onions and garlic. The bean sprouts and peas can be left whole, and other green veggies can be cut into large pieces. Set these aside for now.
- A wok works best for frying, but your can also use a stainless steel, non-stick or cast iron skillet. Of all the skillet options, cast iron works the best for fried rice. Add your sesame oil and turn the heat to medium-high. After it’s hot, add your vegetables and stir them around in the oil. Sprinkle with salt or a few dashes of fish sauce. Cook the vegetables until they’re just barely starting to get tender, then remove them from the pan and set them aside.
- Put your two tablespoons of cooking oil in the pan, turn the heat to high and add your rice. Break up any lumps with a spatula until it’s evenly distributed across the pan, then press it down. This is key to getting good results. Allow it to fry for a few minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Before you stir, you may want to add a little more fish sauce or another pinch of salt for the best results. Stir the rice every couple of minutes until it’s somewhat toasty. Take it out and add it to your vegetable mixture.
- Reduce the heat to medium and repeat this same process with the quinoa. However, don’t go as long between stirrings since the small grains will burn easily. Once it’s cooked to your satisfaction, mix it with the rest of your ingredients to get delicious quinoa fried rice.
Brown rice absorbs more oil than white varieties, so if you’re using this, more oil may be necessary for proper frying.
This recipe may sound like a lot of work, but it’s deceptively fast and simple to make. Before serving, consider sprinkling your quinoa fried rice with crispy Chinese noodles, water chestnuts, cayenne pepper or sesame seeds. This super-healthy twist on an old favorite is sure to go over well with your whole family.
- Don’t be alarmed by little coily bits in your quinoa. This is a natural part of the seed.
- For fried rice, chilled quinoa works better.
- Adding oil during boiling prevents the grains from sticking together, resulting in a fluffier end product.