Calling this a ‘Mexican’ bowl is definitely a bit of a stretch but naming recipes is not my strong suit, so I’m hoping you’ll forgive me. Besides, the recipe does include Mexican seasoning so I’m hoping that counts for something!
Quinoa is a fantastic seed and a great alternative to rice. While both are nutritious, quinoa is a source of complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids required by the body. Cooking it is fairly simple, a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water, but one thing that’s very important is washing the quinoa thoroughly before you cook them. Quinoa seeds have saponins, a phytochemical that protects the seed from pests. However, it also gives unwashed quinoa a bitter taste, hence the need to wash it properly before cooking. Just dunk it into a mesh strainer on top of a bowl and rinse with water a couple of times, running your fingers through it, until the water runs clear.
Pressure cookers are your friends when it comes to cooking quinoa. Stick your quinoa and water into the cooker, let it cook for 5-6 whistles and let the pressure release by itself. Fluff it up with a fork and add it to whatever recipe you like! The Wonderchef Nigella 2-Litre Pressure Cooker is small enough for two and I particularly love its induction base! If you’re looking for a larger one, the Wonderchef Regalia 3-Litre Pressure Cooker has the same great features and comes in two different colours! Meal prepping is an important part of my week and these Boston Square Glass Lunch Boxes and Boston Round Glass Lunch Boxes are integral to that process. I portion my quinoa out into these perfect-for-one boxes and just microwave one every morning!
Think of this as a base recipe, add whatever vegetables you like and omit the ones you don’t. Spinach, mushrooms, aubergines, cauliflower, black beans – It’s up to you. When I’ve got shredded chicken on hand, I’ll usually toss 1/2 cup for an extra protein and flavour boost.
This bowl is pretty great as a make-ahead meal. It’s also the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner if you ask me! I use pre-made mexican seasoning which is a great spice mix to have in the kitchen but If you don’t have that, add some garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder, cumin and oregano. Or experiment with your favourite spices! One thing I would stress on though is the stock. Use a stock cube, or homemade stock but cooking the quinoa in stock really elevates the flavour of the whole bowl.
- 1/2 cup Quinoa
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Maggi Stock Cube
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 1 Onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Capsicum (chopped)
- 1/2 cup Boiled Corn
- 1/2 cup Olives
- Salt as needed
- 1 Tbsp Mexican Seasoning
- 1/2 cup Cheese (optional)
- Wash the quinoa a couple of times until the water runs clear.
- Add the quinoa, water and stock cube to a pressure cooker and cook for 5 whistles.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally before opening the cooker and fluffing the quinoa with a fork. Set aside.
- In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and once hot, add the onions and sauté for a minute.
- Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the capsicum and tomatoes and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until you reach your desired level of vegetable crunchiness!
- Season with salt and mexican seasoning.
- Add the boiled corn, olives and quinoa and mix well.
- The stock cube I use is usually salty enough for the quinoa, you can add salt at this stage if yours isn’t.
- If you don’t have Mexican seasoning you can make your own by mixing together onion powder, garlic powder, chilli powder, pepper powder, cumin powder and dried oregano.
About the blogger
Sneha Sundar is the creator of You Dim Sum, You Lose Some; a philosophy she adopts both in and out of the kitchen!