Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has gained its great popularity over the past 5 to 6 years owing to its health benefits. It is known as an “ancient grain” with a history of 5000-7000 years. Quinoa has a very subtle unique nutty flavour that goes well with all sorts of ingredients, you can enjoy it as a cold or warm quinoa salad by pairing it with some fresh veggies and lean protein, or as a staple to alternate with rice or other grains. For more quinoa recipes idea, you can check out here and here. There are several varieties of quinoa, but the most commonly available in the market are white, red and black quinoa. To learn more about the different types and forms of quinoa, click here.
Nutritionally, quinoa has a complete protein profile, offering all the essential amino acids that are important for health. Not only that, it also has a high protein to carbohydrate ratio. Let’s make a comparison with brown rice, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of cooked quinoa and one cup of cooked medium-grain brown rice both contain similar ~4.5g of protein, however, the amount of carbohydrate is lesser in quinoa, 21.3g compared to 45.8g in brown rice. This could be useful for people who are looking after their carbohydrate portion in a meal, for instance, people with diabetes to take care of their blood sugar level.
Quinoa is also a great source of fibre as 100g of uncooked quinoa has 7.0g fibre which is 2 times more than brown rice and 5 times more than white rice! High fibre food can help you feel fuller for longer and this may help you to better control your food portion and hence calories intake to aid weight loss.
The quinoa salad recipe that I am sharing is inspired by this Spicy Cajun Chicken Quinoa by BBC. In my recipe, I’ve replaced the cajun spice with curry powder, paprika powder and a little bit of salt (these are what I’ve got in my kitchen that time!) and it tasted great! Besides that, I’ve also used shallots instead of onion for a bolder flavour and more fragrant too.
Spicy Curry Chicken Quinoa Salad
Serves: 4 pax Time required: 20mins
2 palm-size skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup quinoa (I am using a blend of white, red and black quinoa)
8 pieces dried apricots, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup spring onions, chopped
1 handful coriander, chopped
- Marinate chicken with curry powder, paprika powder and salt for at least 30 mins, pan-fry with 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan and then set aside.
- Bring water to a boil in another pot and cook quinoa for ~15 minutes or until tender (you know it’s done when you see its little white tail is sticking out), adding apricots for the final 5 minutes and then drain off the excess fluid.
- Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in another non-stick pan while quinoa is cooking and sauté shallots for 5 minutes over a slow fire until soft and fragrant.
- Toss all ingredients in a big mixing bowl and this super easy quinoa salad is ready to serve!
295 calories; 8.9g Fat; 37.9g carbohydrates; 16.4g protein; 4.5g fibre; 172mg Sodium
Carbohydrate Servings: 2.5