This beloved pride-and-joy meal was one of my first creations for Hungry for Raw.
It was our gluten-free, warm, cooked meal. I would make a large pot of the stuff and garnish it onsite for customers. It’s also a regular dish in my home inspired by a friend who called her version of the base “nut and seed mush”. With that in mind it should not be mushy!
This is an excellent everyday meal, or when garnished with flowers a handsome meal for guests and holiday celebrations.
I prefer using red or black quinoa as it seems to hold together firmer and maintain its shape. The trick with quinoa is to cook it until it still has a light, nutty texture and still retains some form.
This recipe is resilient, the quantities and ingredients are flexible and you can adjust them to suit your tastes. For example, perhaps your soy sauce is stronger than mine! In that case dial back the volume. My golden rule is to taste, taste, taste. Taste as you go and make sure ensure each element is very yummy, then you know the final product will be bombastic.
It is served with baby tomatoes, smoky tofu, coconut raita and toasted nuts and seeds and with guests it looks beautiful with a side of greens and some marigolds as garnish.
There are a few steps – but it’s so worth it – most elements only take a few minutes to prepare, so you can usually do it all while you’re cooking the quinoa – within 25 minutes.
2 cups red or black quinoa (I prefer absorption method for quinoa)
4 cups boiling water
2-3 tins of chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup of sunflower seeds
Any other nuts and seeds you like, from sesame to pumpkin seeds (but don’t use anything like flaxseed or chia that will change the texture)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pack of extra-firm tofu
Liquid smoke (available from Countdown supermarkets, specialty shops, or online)
Finely chopped cucumber
Optional: lime & mint
Toasted nuts and seeds
A selection of nuts and seeds; pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and more
Cook the quinoa using the absorption method
My advice is that you don’t just put quinoa on the stove in water and hope for the best.
Add a little oil and a teaspoon of cumin seeds to a pot and lightly fry the dry quinoa until its aroma is released. Next, add a few pinches of salt and four cups of boiling water to the pot, stir and bring to the boil with an airtight lid on the pot. Reduce the temperature to simmer for 20 minutes or until all visible water has disappeared. You will notice the quinoa change shape and you’ll see little tails burst forth from the quinoa. At this stage turn off the heat and leave the lid on for a further 5 minutes to allow the quinoa to finish cooking.
While the quinoa is cooking prepare the tofu, nuts and seeds, raita and baby tomatoes.
Cut baby tomatoes into halves and set aside
In a frying pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/2 a teaspoon of liquid smoke. Add the tofu to the heated mixture and fry – moving and turning the tofu frequently – until it is coated. I consider this a dry fry, so I’m not burning the tofu, I’m simply cooking it until there is a flavoursome coating on the outside and all liquids seem reduced or gone.
Nuts & Seeds
Add 2 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce to a pan and heat. Add a fist or two of each kind of nut or seed that you like and add a generous amount of fresh rosemary leaves. I make lots because I like to store it for later. Fry – like the tofu – stirring frequently until the nuts are coated and crunchy.
Mix a cup – or so – of coconut yoghurt and finely chopped cucumber. You can also add lime and/or mint for an extra punch of flavour!
By now your quinoa should have finished cooking. Next you’ll want to mix the quinoa, tomatoes, sunflower seeds and a couple of pinches of salt in a large pot and cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes are cooked into the quinoa.
Then simply assemble
Stir through the baby tomatoes
Put the tofu on top
Put a dollop of raita on top
& finish with nuts and seeds
Serve with mesclun greens.
Because I like my meals to be handsome and well proportioned, I tend to put extra raita, tofu, nuts, seeds and baby tomatoes to the side so I don’t overload the dish visually and guests or family can dip in for extras as they need. It’s also lovely with fresh cucumber.
Let me know how you go!