This recipe, originally seen in the NY Times, has been sitting on my computer screen for a few weeks now. It sounded interesting, but I wasn't sure how the combination of flavors would turn out. I finally decided to give it a go, and it's incredibly good. I would suggest using a little more of the yogurt garnish on top than the picture shows (I added more after my first couple of bites).
Quinoa Pilaf with Chick Peas, Pomegranate and Spices
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked (4 cups cooked quinoa, see notes)
- 1 cup cooked chick peas (canned are fine), rinsed
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
For garnish (optional):
- 1 cup thickened yogurt
- 1 small garlic clove, pureed (optional)
- Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat and add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Toast in the pan, stirring or shaking the pan, until they begin to smell fragrant, and transfer to a spice mill. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then coarsely grind. Set aside.
- Return the frying pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and salt, stir together for about half a minute, and stir in the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Add the remaining olive oil and stir in the quinoa, chick peas, and 3 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds. Stir over medium heat to heat through, several minutes. Taste and adjust salt. Transfer to a platter or wide bowl and decorate with the remaining pomegranate seeds. You can also mold the pilaf into 1/2-cup ramekins or timbales and unmold onto the plate, then decorate with pomegranate seeds.
- Stir the garlic into the thickened yogurt. Serve the pilaf topped with the yogurt and drizzled with lemon juice.
I've included a picture of my spice mill, mainly for sentimental reasons. It started its life as a coffee grinder, but I don't drink coffee. I mentioned to my mom a few years ago that I was looking for a pepper grinder like the one my grandma used to have, and she gave me this one from her cabinet. It's the perfect kitchen tool for grinding pepper (and other spices!).
This recipe had specific instructions linked for cooking the quinoa. They recommended cooking 1 cup of quinoa in 3 cups of water instead of the standard 2 cups. I followed their instructions and it came out just fine. Bring water to a boil, cook for 15 minutes, then drain the quinoa and let sit for about 5 minutes.
I don't have ramekins or timbales, so I just used a 1/2 cup measure. I packed the pilaf in fairly tightly, then turned it over on my cutting board and carefully transferred it to a plate.
For the garnish, I used greek yogurt since I know it tends to be on the thick side. It's a very simple, but very tasty garnish.