Sunday, December 05, 2010

Quinoa Croquettes

As researchers often say, ‘Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.’  I guess I can see why the Incans referred to it as the ‘grain of the gods.’
Yes, I love quinoa -- with its nutty, somewhat toothsome bite. And, whenever I have it I just can’t get enough. Problem is, I don’t prepare it often enough.

Yes, I have one favorite quinoa recipe that I weave into my weekly menu planning over at . . .  the Quinoa with Spicy Pintos, but, for all its goodness and a taste that I love, I just haven’t added many quinoa recipes to my weekly menu.
However, one afternoon last week, when I was scavenging through my pantry and fridge to see what I could prepare for the twins (other than peanut butter and jelly), the quinoa caught my eye. It jostled a memory of an appetizing picture that recently caught my eye while thumbing through Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic, so I dug it out to see what it was all about.
Within 20 minutes, I had a delicious lunch of quinoa croquettes that I couldn’t get enough of – of course, the girls didn’t want to touch it. That’s OK, because that meant there was more for me to enjoy.
I did share, however, with Greg, when he returned from his meeting – only enough to ensure that I had some leftovers for lunch the next day. As for the twins . .  well, I caved and gave them peanut butter and jelly. Their loss.

Quinoa Croquettes with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup ume plum vinegar
1 small white onion, quartered (about ½ cup)
2 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil

Quinoa Croquettes
1 cup quinoa, washed thoroughly
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated on medium holes
1 small zucchini, grated on medium holes
1 scallion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
6 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed and minced
1 large egg
¼ cups all-purpose flour
Grapeseed oil for cooking

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, soy sauce, vinegar and onion in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Stop the motor and add the yogurt and olive oil. Blend until creamy. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at lest 1 hour.

To make the croquettes, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl to cool

When cool add the carrot, zucchini, scallion, garlic powder, salt, parsley, egg and flour. Mix well. Using your hands, form the mixture into patties about ½ inch thick and 2 inches in diameter.

Pour just enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches, lay the quinoa cakes in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. When the cakes are golden, turn them over and cook until the second side is golden. Add additional oil as needed, and remove any brown bits that accumulate in the pan as you cook.

Remove the cakes from the pan and place them on a plate lined with a recycled brown paper bag. Serve hot, drizzled with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Or put the yogurt in a bowl for dipping. Top the cakes with grated carrot and zucchini.

Serves: 6 as a starter
Source: Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic, Chronicle Books

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