Quinoa Vegetable Biryani/Pilaf is my healthy twist on a popular Indian classic, Vegetable Biryani! This recipe is an adaptation of my go-to Biryani recipe. Biryani is a popular Indian rice casserole, where long grain basmati rice is cooked with meat or vegetables in Indian spices. I use the same recipe, but replace Basmati rice with Quinoa. I add vegetables and paneer (Indian cottage cheese), adding more protein and vitamins to this dish. Fresh herbs like mint and cilantro add a fresh and floral contrast to the earthy flavors of Biryani Masala. Nuts like almonds and cashews add richness and texture to the rice. I serve it with a side of Cucumber Raita (Yogurt dip), and enjoy a healthy and complete meal in less than 20 minutes.
Even though my family’s love for the classic biryani stands intact, this dish is my effort to introduce a healthier Biryani recipe, so we can enjoy is more often. And the result is simply delicious. It’s quick to make, cooks at lightning speed in my Instant Pot, so a big one-pot weeknight hit in my family!
Sweet, spicy, lemony and hearty, that’s how I would describe this Quinoa Poha!Poha is a popular Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack recipe. This breakfast staple from the state of Maharashtra (western India), is traditionally made with flattened dry rice, called Poha. The flattened rice is rinsed with water a few times to rehydrate it and then cooked with potatoes, plenty of onions, peanuts and warn Indian spices.
Using Quinoa instead of Flattened Rice:
In this recipe, I have substituted flattened rice with Quinoa, adding protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish. A simple seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and a few basic Indian spices, makes it ideal for breakfast or a quick snack. I personally prefer cashews in this recipe , but you can add peanuts or almonds too. I finish this dish with chopped cilantro, a dash of sugar and a squeeze of lime. My kids are huge Poha fans, so the real test in my house was when I served the Quinoa Poha to them. They absolutely loved it and took it for lunch the next day!
In this video, I have adapted this recipe to the Instant Pot, but you can easily make it on the stove-top as well.
Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads.
Heat a sauce pan on medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute. Add cashews, all dry spices, quinoa, water as per your quinoa brand directions, and ketchup. (I usually add 1 cup water for 1/2 cup quinoa). Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Open lid and add peas, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Fluff with a fork. Garnish with cilantro, sugar and lime. Serve warm. (You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your brand of quinoa.)
1 teaspoon ketchup (optional, but highly recommended)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sugar
juice of half a lime
Prep the ingredients. Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads. Turn Instant Pot on Sauté. When it's hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute.
Add cashews, all dry spices, frozen peas, quinoa, water and ketchup. Stir well. Close lid. Set valve to 'Sealing' mode. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 1 minute. For a softer quinoa, cook for 2 minutes on the same setting.
Open lid after natural pressure release or quick release after 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add chopped cilantro, sugar (optional) and lime juice. Stir with the fork and serve warm.