Monday, July 30, 2012

Pork-Fried Quinoa – Oh Say Can You Seed?

Finally, after only five or six hundred requests, we’re posting a quinoa recipe! People love eating this “super food” for all the obvious nutritional reasons, but based on the emails I’ve received, they’re constantly searching for new and delicious ways to use it.

Well, this was so tasty, so fast, and so easy, I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t make it into the regular rotation. And don’t think for a minute that we’ve simply overwhelmed the quinoa with a bunch of high-calorie, unhealthy ingredients, because that’s not the case. Not that I’m above such culinary shenanigans; but it just wasn’t necessary.

I was really surprised how decadent and satisfying this seemed, and with only a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and a handful of very lean smoked ham. These tiny quinoa seeds (that’s right, now you can sound like a d-bag correcting your foodie friends at cocktail parties who call this a “grain”) really are sponges for flavor. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to experiment with other quinoa creations.

By the way, if you’re an experienced quinoa cooker, and have any great tips, please pass them along. I’m not sure how this would work with the other varieties/colors of quinoa. I assume it would, but have never used them. I also used less water than the directions call for, but wanted the seeds to be a little “al dente,” which seemed to work well here.

Anyway, whether you’re an experienced quinoaista or a newbie like me, I hope you give this delicious pork-fried quinoa a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large or 4 small servings:
1 cup quinoa
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup diced smoked ham
1/2 cup diced peppers
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 or 2 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
Sriracha, or any hot sauce to taste
toasted sesame seeds to taste
Bonus Quinoa Esoterica:

When my friend Tamar, from the always entertaining blog Starving Off the Land, heard I was doing a quinoa post, she sent me this photo. At first glace, this looks like some new variety of grey quinoa, but they're actually tiny oysters! Tamar farms oysters on Cape Cod, and you're looking at roughly 50,000 baby bivalves. Simply amazing. Thanks, Tamar!


Sandra from Montreal said...

Hi Chef! I can't wait to try this recipe! I've never really liked quinoa served hot (we often use the red or white in salads), but this sounds really good. In my opinion, there's little to no difference in taste or consistency using different colours. Thanks again! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for teaching this old dog some new tricks. Quinoa. Will try it soon.

Anne said...

Excellent recipe, I look forward to trying it. I have made pilaf using quinoa -- brown it gently as you would rice or barley and use a little less liquid than is generally necessary.

Cooked quinoa adds texture to whole grain breads. I use about a cup of cooked quinoa to a 4 cups of flour batch of bread.

Buying in bulk saves on the cost. a 25# bag was a little over $75 including shipping (I think we got it from Amazon but I can't remember).

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try this quinoa/water ratio! I've always done 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water and it seems 80% of the time I end up with cooked quinoa swimming in a little water. You think I would've been intelligent enough to fix this problem earlier, but I guess I sometimes feel I have to stick to what the instructions say. Are there any circumstances where you would do a 1 to 2 ratio when cooking quinoa?

Pantalone said...

Thanks for posting this! Love quinoa.

Katie Fox said...

Thank you thank you for posting a quinoa recipe! I just love quinoa! I also like to cook my quinoa in broth or stock or cook it straight into a soup. I have also heard that you can lightly toast the dry seeds in a skillet for a few minutes, and it will enhance the nutty flavor. It also makes a really tasty oatmeal. Or add more protein to a frittata... Can't wait to see what other ideas you can think up!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

You know, you've actually convinced me to give quinoa another try, and not just make fun of it by comparing it to a pile of baby oysters. You make it sound much better than I remember it!

And thanks for the link.

Blogggg said...

Hey Chef John!
I usually add a couple of drops of sesame oil to the water in which I cook rice.
Would it be possible to do the same for Quinoa as well instead of sesame seeds to add the flavour or not?

PH said...

That dish looks like fried rice and I can't wait to try this recipe. Have been wanting to try quinoa and this is just perfect!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
I truly enjoy quinoa and this is not a way I have made it. Thanks! My grandson bought a package of mixed quinoa "colors" for me to try. They seem to cook at different rates of speed. A nice combo. The fam likes it in a cold pasta salad that I make. Just simmered in soup is great. Quinoa "burgers" YES. Very easy seed to prapare in many ways. Fun stuff! Terra in Cripple Creek, CO

Anonymous said...

I had no idea Quinoa was a seed, guess I never gave it much thought. Having just started messing with flax meal, this is decidedly more normal :-) Thanks for taking that leap for us, so we can just take the baby step.


Anonymous said...

1. I almost always make quinoa in the microwave, because it works well and saves heating the kitchen and dirtying an extra dish.

2. I don't think I tried this myself, but a friend was making her quinoa with pom juice. Meaning, unlike rice, you can cook it with acids. Or stock, like a risotto, or with the veg/pork like a paella.

Anonymous said...

Just made this for dinner and it was fabulous! It was a little strong on the soy (I doubled the recipe and did 3 Tbl. soy). I think next time I double it I'll just do 2 Tablepoons. I didn't have seasoned rice vinegar so I used 1/2 Tbl. of regular rice vinegar.
This one is definitely a keeper!

Bond Tr4der said...

Yo Chef John!

I do something like this with cous-cous when I need a quick and easy stomach filler.

I have Quinoa (I say "kwinowa"), and have tried the same idea with good results, but the cous-cous equivalent takes arnd 7-8 mins instead of 20.

Simple example would be a whole chilli, handful of cherry tomatoes, and a can of mackerel fillets, with cous-cous soaked in hot stock for 5 mins. Throw in an egg and some freshly chopped herbs at the end :-)

Chris K. said...

You can put lipstick on a pig, but at least it's not quinoa.

Vincent said...

I thought you pronounced quinoa 'Kwee-noah'.

It's such a shame that there's absolutely no market for a lot of things in the Netherlands which (seemingly) every supermarket in the US carries. Dried chillies and liquid smoke for one, but I've never seen this stuff anywhere either (as in: this is the first time I've ever seen it, or remember seeing it).

Sarah said...

Quinoa cooks beautifully in a rice cooker! My favourite at the moment is to cook half a cup of red or black quinoa to one cup of brown rice. Use a grain/water ratio of 1:2 and half a teaspoon of salt. It comes out beautifully fluffy, and it looks beautiful. The rice also takes away some of the "grassy" flavour of the quinoa (you know what I mean, it smells a bit odd).

Anonymous said...

I cook alot of quinoa, and have tried cooking it in many ways including microwaving, rice method, etc. My favorite way to prepare it is similar to couscous. I use 1 cup quinoa, and toast the seeds in the dry pot---this seems to minimize that funky grassy taste. After adding 2 cups of water, cover and bring it to a full rolling boil for 5 minutes. Then take it off the heat for 12 minutes, still covered. Remove the lid, drape a tea towel over the pot, and replace the lid for another 5 minutes. This last steaming step really ensures a lovely fluffy texture. Deni

Axel14222 said...

This was my 1st time cooking or eating quinoa and probably my 1st time cooking with a product from Bolivia. It was a delicious substitute for the brown rice that I usually make. I served it with pan seared and oven roasted salmon with a lemon-ginger-chive butter. Two super foods on one plate.

Jen said...

I love you, man! We cook up big batches in the rice cooker and freeze in zipper bags. I make "rice" salads to take to work. Almost any recipe will transfer. I will definitely try this recipe- I love fried rice and don't eat it often enough.

Lou said...

Try it in Taboleh

Anonymous said...

My wife and I made this a couple weeks ago, and are planning to make it again this week, with a few minor alterations.

I love garlic but don't usually put it in my fried rice, so that was a little off for me -- not bad, but just not where my head was at. It turned out very nicely, and we liked it, obviously, or else we wouldn't be trying it again! The only thing we did differently the first time was to cook the quinoa well in advance so that we could refrigerate it before using.

This time I'm going to try and make it a bit more like jambalaya and use kielbasa instead of ham, throw in a jalapeno, and if I can figure out an appropriate substitute, swap out the soy sauce(maybe a splash of chicken stock and a tablespoon of tomato paste).

In actuality, what I _really_ want to make is the cajun ragout recipe you just posted, but I haven't sold that one to my wife yet.

Anyway, thanks for another great recipe Chef John!

Unknown said...

Tried the recipe, very good indeed. I may have to add more Sriracha for some kick than I did last time, but it's A+ quick/delicious.

Lindsay said...

I plan to try this! I like quinoa but find many people's versions are very bland.

By the way, as a seed researcher, I feel I should go all geeky and point out that your comment about 'seeds' vs 'grains' is kind of incorrect. In botany a 'grain' in strictly from the true grass family. But in agriculture, a 'grain' is any seed that can be dried and used as a food stuff, e.g. wheat, corn, peas, rice etc. It's just like many people think they are being d-bags when they spew the annoying 'tomatoes are fruit, not vegetables'. In actual fact, 'vegetable' is a culinary term only. There is no such thing as a 'vegetable' in botany. Peppers are also 'fruit' if you want to be a real d-bag!

And now you can amaze and bore your friends!

Unknown said...

I so appreciate your recipes and videos, just wanted to say thank you!

Espyw said...

Love this recipe, so easy to make, so good to eat! It was a big hit with our family.