Quinoa is a seed crop that everyone serves like a grain. According to Star-K (a REAL higher authority I consulted for a change), quinoa has been cultivated for thousands of years, yet only relatively recently (about 19 years) has it been imported to the US of A.
Quinoa is very healthy, high in protein and fiber, and is gluten-free. It's also Passover-friendly, although in this particular recipe it isn't. I made this to use up an opened package of quinoa (which by coincidence contained exactly 3/4 cup), pickled ginger, a tiny bit of bottled chopped garlic that languished in the fridge but was not tiny enough to simply toss, plus a few drops of soy sauce in each of two different bottles (don't ask).
Since I had planned to serve cucumber salad alongside, the English cucumber I had leftover was a happy bonus. English cuke is about 2X as long as American varieties. Unlike American varieties, it is not waxed; to preserve freshness, it comes wrapped in plastic so no peeling is necessary. Feel free to substitute American cucumber if you prefer; just be sure to peel off the waxed skin before chopping. Peeling after chopping is just so labor-intensive.
Oh, yeah, very important -- make sure you rinse the quinoa. Rinsing is a VERY important step. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating which most likely evolved as protection. Thorough rinsing will get rid of the nasty taste. The coating won't kill you, but it's not very pleasant.
adapted from: A Veggie Venture
Makes about 4-6 servings
1-1/2 cups water
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup quinoa
1 Tbl.. soy sauce (regular and/or low-sodium)
1 Tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled okay)
1 tsp. pickled ginger (or grated plain ginger; pickled preferred)
2 green onions
1/2 English cucumber (or 1 regular cuke, peeled)
8 ozs. surimi "crabmeat" (about 1/2 pkg.)
1 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)
Boil water over high heat in 2 qt. saucepan. Meanwhile, rinse qunoa in a fine sieve (the little dickens are teensy-tiny) under cold running water and drain. Add quinoa and salt to the boiling water; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 4-5 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
Transfer quinoa into a heat-safe 1-quart bowl. Fluff with a fork, then set aside to cool down.
Meanwhile, in a 1-cup bowl, mix together soy sauce ...
... cayenne pepper and garlic to create sauce. When the quinoa is cool, stir sauce in. Set aside.
Chop up cucumber.
Chop up (or scissor) the green onions.
Chop up the surimi as well.
Don't forget to chop the pickled ginger
Add all that chopped/scissored up stuff, along with sesame seeds, into the quinoa mixture.
Gently toss it around a bit until nicely combined. Serve immediately, or pop into fridge to completely chill.
... to really impress everyone, pack some mixture into a one-cup ramekin (cooking term meaning Pyrex cup).
Then unmold onto a plate. Repeat with remaining mixture. Doesn't this look fancy-schmancy? Remember kids, some people eat with their eyes. I prefer to use a fork. *rimshot*
Serve alongside something else. Here the sushi salad is served with cucumber salad.