Quinoa Biryani

Quinoa Biryani
Quinoa Biryani

London has been hot this week, and I don't mean the bright sunshine, subtle breeze, eat your lunch in the park kinda hot, no, I mean the thick covering of cloud trapping the stale air and making you sweat at your desk kinda hot - yuk. Not the ideal weather for a curry I know, but I refuse to banish those warm spices just because it's not cold outside.

This recipe uses quinoa, mixed with spices, crisp green vegetables, nuts and sultanas, making it sweet and fresh, but with heat and depth of flavour.

Ingredients, serves 4:
1 cup quinoa
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp garam masala
1 tspn ground turmeric
1-2 red chilli peppers to suit your taste
2 garlic cloves
1 tspn grated ginger
1 onion
100g green beans, chopped
1 cup green peas
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sultanas
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Handful of mint leaves roughly chopped

First rinse the quinoa. Place in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. I find this amount serves 4, but feel free to adjust the quantities to suit you. Add a pinch of salt, put the lid on and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and leave for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the spices in a large frying pan on a medium heat and allow them to warm. Add the coconut oil, grated ginger and onions. Mix well and allow the onion to soften.

Add the chili and garlic mixing well. Add the green beans, peas, cashews, sultans and lemon juice with a big pinch of salt and ground black pepper and heat through. Combine the biryani mix with the cooked quinoa and throw in the mint.

This recipe makes the best leftovers and I love eating it cold for lunch the next day. A scattering of pomegranate seeds gives that extra burst of juice and sweetness - an ideal summer salad.