Quinoa Tomato Pulav

Oh rice, how  I adore thee! Rice is soul food for South Indians.  Coconut rice, fried rice, pulav, curd rice, sambar rice, kootu sadam, thakkali sadam, lemon rice, dal-chaval, dosa, idli, idiyappam, aappam, oh yum! Rice generously drizzled with ghee and paired with my mother’s Pavakkai Pitlai or Mysore Rasam? It is simply heaven on earth. Thayir sadam, curd rice, Thachi Mammu, a veritable cultural institution in TamBrahm households, an emotional salve.

But with the advent of middle age and a serious health scare/crisis a couple of years ago, I have dramatically changed my eating habits. I minimize if not eliminate grain intake in general and try to substitute rice with healthier grains or legumes, especially ones with more protein in them. But I absolutely love all rice-based dishes from curd rice to fried rice. For all my favorite recipes, I just replace rice  with quinoa, steel cut oats or cauliflower rice which are all pretty good rice substitutes. I have even made Ven Pongal with quinoa and even cauliflower rice and it was quite yummy.


Dry roast spices and grind them into powder


Chop the tomatoes and slit the green chllies/peppers


Stir fry the sliced onions and minced garlic


Add tomatoes and stir fry


Add the spices


Add water and then quinoa


All done


Plated with Eggplant Raita and Pappadam


  • Tomatoes – 2-2.5 cups chopped
  • Onion – 1 cup chopped
  • Green chillies: 4-6
  • Garlic – optional – 2 cloves
  • Frozen Lima bean – 1 cup (if you use cooked lima beans, just add towards the end so it doesn’t get overcooked) You can also substitute with any other legume of your choice.
  • Quiona – 1 cup (of course you can substitute with rice if you want)
  • Cilantro – 0.5 cup chopped
  • Ghee or oil – 1.5 tbs
  • Bay leaf – 1

Dry Masala

  • Cilantro seeds – 1.5 tsp
  • Poppy seeds – 1. tsp
  • Peppercorn – 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1.5-2 inch stick
  • Cardamom – 3
  • Cloves – 2
  • Poppy seeds – 1 tbs
  • Flax seeds – 1 tsp (I try to add flax seeds to pretty much everything, but it is optional)


  • Dry roast the masala ingredients until they are fragrant but do not burn them. When burned, they taste bitter!
  • Grind them into powder.
  • Place a pot on medium-high and heat 1/2 tbs ghee or oil – reserve the rest.
  • Stirfry onions and garlic until onions become clear (3-4 minutes)
  • Add green chillies and stir fry for 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes and stir fry for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the ground dry masala and stir fry for about 20 seconds
  • Add the frozen lima beans and stir fry for 2 minutes
  • Now add 2 cups of water and wait for it to come to a boil.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add the quinoa
  • Close the pot and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes until you can see the quinoa cooked. Keep an eye and make sure that it doesn’t burn.
  • When done, add 1 tbsp of ghee and stir.
  • Serve hot with raita and pappad.
This entry was posted in Healthy eating, Recipes, vegetarian recipe and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Quinoa Tomato Pulav

  1. Pingback: A YEAR OF GARDENING IN SAN DIEGO: A RECAP | Next Step to Nirvana

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s