After several super hectic days including a trip to DC and crazy work reorgs, a simple meal exuding comfort flavors was what I was craving. I've noticed this often - every time I come back from a trip someplace, I truly crave home food, especially something yogurt-based! Guess the most familiar flavors of childhood are what I want to return to - the stuff I often ate while drowned in a book, especially during summers! *sigh*
Well, of course, a slight twist was necessary :) So, instead of brown or white rice, I went with quinoa - usually I use quinoa in a salad or a pilaf - both of which bring out the intense nutty flavor and chewy texture that I grew to love when in Peru. But this time, I did not want any fancy flavor, just something light and nutritious that I could eat with dollops of home-made yogurt and maybe some veggies. I finally went with a chayote squash curry to complement the quinoa+yogurt - perfect!
1 chayote squash - diced into small cubes
1 t mustard
1 t urad dal
6-7 curry leaves
1/2 t sesame oil
1 t ground spices (fenugreek + red chillies + turmeric + coriander)
Heat the oil in a wok and toss in the mustard seeds.
Once they sputter, add the urad dal, curry leaves and spices and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Toss in the squash cubes and salt and cook covered for 3-4 minutes till slightly charred.
Sprinkle some water (2 T) on the squash and stir some more.
Again, simmer covered for 6-7 minutes or till squash seems cooked.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 t salt
Soak the quinoa in cold water for about 15 minutes. This is essential to remove the bitter outer coating of the grains which contains saponin - an ingredient that can often upset the stomach lining!
Drain the quinoa and add 2 cups of water and the salt.
Simmer covered till cooked - about 15 minutes, I think - once cooked, the grains kind of expand and unfurl - it is pretty visible that they're done :)
All I did was eat the quinoa with the squash, a wonk of homemade yogurt (*so* good!!!) and some lime pickle that my mum made when she was here - the ultimate comfort food! :)