Angela Day. 597 Picture: Matthews Baloyi 2/6/2013

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is an ancient seed but is referred to as a grain and was eaten by the Incas thousands of years ago. Lately it has developed a reputation as a superfood, because it is the only grain to contain high quantities of complete protein, large amounts of fibre and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa is also gluten-free, easy to prepare and extremely versatile.

It is interesting to note that the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO) has officially declared that this year be recognised as the International Year of Quinoa.

To cook quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the quantity.

Once cooked the grains will become translucent, and the white germ will partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiralled tail also referred to as the halo.

Quinoa will have a nuttier flavour if you dry roast it in the pot for about 3-4 minutes before cooking.


Makes 8

30ml olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 small red pepper, seeded and finely chopped

10ml chopped garlic

5ml ground coriander

5ml ground cumin

5ml paprika

500ml cooked quinoa

400g can of chickpeas, drained

1 egg

60ml sweet chilli sauce

125ml chopped coriander

oil for frying

buns for serving


sliced tomato

sliced red onion

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion, celery, carrot, pepper and garlic until soft. Add the spices and fry until fragrant. Remove and cool.

Tip the mixture into a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the quinoa, chickpeas, egg, sweet chilli sauce and coriander and process until well blended. Remove the mixture from the processor and shape it into patties. Refrigerate the patties for a few hours.

When ready to cook, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the patties on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Serve on buttered buns with rocket, tomato and onion.

The patties are also delicious served with a side salad.


Serves 4-6

375ml water

a pinch of salt

250ml quinoa

½ English cucumber, seeded and diced

125g baby tomatoes, halved

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

1 avocado pear, diced

60ml chopped parsley

60ml chopped mint.


60ml lemon juice

45ml olive oil

5ml chopped garlic

salt and pepper

Put the water and salt into a pot. Rinse the quinoa well under running water in a sieve. Add to the pot and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, until the quinoa is cooked. Drain through a sieve and spread the quinoa out on to a tray to cool.

Combine with the cucumber, tomatoes, pepper, avocado and herbs and toss well to combine. Pour the dressing over and serve.

DRESSING: Combine all the ingredients and mix well.


Serves 6

125g bacon, chopped

30ml oil

1 red onion, sliced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1 carrot, julienned

125g baby corn, halved

125g mange tout, halved

1 small red pepper, sliced

10ml chopped garlic

10ml chopped ginger

5ml mustard seeds

5ml ground cumin

5ml ground coriander

500ml cooked quinoa

125ml frozen peas

45ml soy sauce

salt and pepper

60ml chopped coriander

Put the bacon in a frying pan or wok and cook until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Add the oil to the pan and fry the onion, celery, carrot, corn, mange tout and pepper until just soft. Add the ginger, garlic and spices and fry until fragrant.

Add the quinoa and peas and fry until coated with the spices.

Return the bacon to the pan. Add the soy sauce and season to taste. Serve sprinkled with coriander.


Serves 4-6

500ml quinoa, well rinsed

200ml coconut milk

125ml water

A pinch of salt


160ml roughly chopped coriander

125ml peanuts or cashew nuts

125ml plum sauce

45ml sweet chilli sauce

60ml lime juice

25ml fish sauce

15ml sesame oil

10ml chopped garlic

15ml honey


25ml oil

250g firm tofu, cut into cubes and drained on paper towel

2 carrots, peeled and julienned

200g broccoli

Put the quinoa in a pot with the coconut milk, water and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until the quinoa is cooked.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until well blended and nuts are finely chopped. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu until nicely browned. Drain on paper towel, then combine with about 45ml of the dressing while still warm. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the carrots until soft. Remove and set aside. Blanch the broccoli in the same pot, remove and set aside.

When the quinoa is cooked combine it with the tofu, carrots, broccoli and remaining dressing.

Mix well and serve warm.

* This dish is also delicious served cold. - The Star