Reflection #10: Quinoa

And this week, I will reflect on food! Ha! One of the greatest discoveries of my path through new dietary habits is how my system responds more sensitively to foods which are processed. As mentioned before I started as a ovo-vegetarian at the age of 18. I transitioned gradually to fully vegan and gluten free a few years back. It was not intentional or deliberate. What is there not to love about a beautiful chocolate cake and ice cream! Yumm! Well, my digestive system did not agree with me.  

My body slowly started reacting negatively to milk, then cheese and butter, finally yogurt! It even includes non-dairy (possible?) ghee. It then moved to react against wheat products and flours. Wheat has two proteins generally referred as gluten. My reaction? I started sneezing, inflamed sinuses, headaches, runny nose…a complete allergic reaction. “Lately”, it does affect my digestive system too, especially when I “cheated”… (who can resist a delicious warm croissant from the best bakery on a cold morning in Paris? C’mon!)? 

Thus, as a result, we have found alternatives (to my sweet tooth). One of these wonderful pliable alternatives is quinoa. Quinoa is a cereal found in the highlands of the Andes of Peru. It is one of the many superfoods “discovered” in the last decades. This is the region with cold and dry weather, near Bolivia. People are strong here! Some of you know this from personal experience! Thus, this little grain punches a whole bunch of nutritional value and super flexible, and delicious! It comes in different colors, white, black, and red. The higher altitude this grain it grows, the richest nutritional value. Again, all things wonderful (food related) come from Peru! I am just saying. 

I recently have found this recipe for dosa (crepe like tortilla) made with quinoa. Our friend Vidula made me realize this is within Indian cuisine…for centuries! ? 

Quinoa Dosa 

  • Mix the quinoa on a 1:1 ratio with liquid.  
    In this U.S. quinoa comes prewashed. If not, wash it, and let is rest with fresh liquid, once the water is clear. I usually let it rest overnight, and sometimes have left it in the refrigerator to rest for a couple of days before I process it. I have also processed immediately with the same result. I do this, since I can do the same with red lentils (and other grains – not yet experimented with others?). Letting it rest makes me believe it makes it easier to digest. 
  • Place the quinoa (usually 1.5 to 2 cups) with the corresponding amount of liquid in the blender
    I say liquid because you can get creative here. I have used it for sweet crepes, with oat milk and water (1:1), or I may add veggie broth (water from other veggies, etc. – I know the third world mind – use everything!) 
  • Add spices. 
    Here you can add onions, ginger, fresh turmeric, salt, pepper, paprika, coriander, cumin, and I have also added fresh cilantro, or fresh oregano from our garden. I also add cayenne pepper too. I may also add some coconut oil or olive oil. All to taste.  
    If you want to make a sweet one, you may add coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg. 
  • Blend. 
    When blending blend until very smooth. I prefer more runny batter than thick batter, since it makes it easier to cook into a thin dosa. I usually add more liquid (oil, water, and/or milk, even for savory). If you prefer a thicker crepe, of course, reduce the liquid amount. 
  • Fried it. 
    I am not sure frying is the right term. Place it on the pan, or large bottom pot, and place a little oil and “cook” at medium-low temperature. The dosa will start bubbling and changing color. When it becomes even colored (darker), then carefully turn it over. Depending on thickness it takes about 4 minutes on the first side…much less the second. 
  • Serve it. 
    Usually serve it like a taco. You may add raw veggies, cooked beans, rice, etc. left to your imagination. 
    For a sweet crepe you may use fruit spread, or other delicious items… 

Taking the time to slowly eat. In these times of high demands and “efficiency”, I forget that food is a gift. Sitting back, becoming grateful and mindful for what I take in, the way I eat, it does let my body be ready to absorb all nourishment and spiritualize even the simple act of eating. This is also an act of remembering who we are, part of God, and an act of Love.