One of my favorite grain dishes incorporates garam masala, an exotic blend of warm spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and cardamon. This exotic spice blend is used in the colder regions of northern India to accent grains and vegetables. Serve this dish cold or at room temperature as a salad, or warm as a side dish.
Game plan: The salad will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.
1Rinse the quinoa well and drain. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the quinoa and stir constantly for 10 minutes, or until the moisture evaporates and the quinoa is fragrant, dry, and golden.
2Combine 3 cups of the water, 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, and the salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the toasted quinoa and return to a boil. Cover and decrease the heat to medium low. Simmer gently without stirring for 15 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates and the grains are tender.
3Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the currants, and soak for 20 minutes, or until plump. Drain well.
4Heat sesame oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, bell pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala. Sauté for 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallions and sauté 1 minute longer, or until just wilted.
5Using a fork, gently toss the celery mixture, currants, and almonds into the quinoa. Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate until cold.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.