Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quick & Easy: Root Vegetable Stir-Fry on Quinoa

Quinoa Root Veggies (02) by MeetaK

Weeknights and it has to be quick and easy. While I love spending a luxurious long time in the kitchen, a glass of tasty Italian wine on the counter next to my mis-en-place, listening to tastier Eros Ramazzotti on the stereo, I will take time to cook a lavish meal, weeknights however is a dash against time. 

My dad always says "Meeta steals time to work for her!" I was never sure exactly what he meant by that until a few years ago when he tried explaining how I manage my pace to Tom. What he meant was that my one hour would be two hours for many others. I "steal" time to do several jobs or chores at once. Multi-tasking has a whole new dimension with me. 

So, for example today, a hectic work day but also with several private tasks to complete. It was one meeting after another, all over the university campus. In between I found myself with 20 - 30 minutes to kill. I used this time to my advantage. I did my grocery shopping at my organic store in the first 20 minute meeting-free block, the next 20 minutes block, made a doctor's appointment for Soeren, as class rep. for Soeren's class managed to arrange a day trip to the local fire station and brought back library books.

At home it's the same. While I am cutting veggies for dinner I will get Soeren to practice guitar or his reading. Or while I am tidying up I catch up on chit-chatting with friends on the phone and while I have a roast in the oven I do a bit of newspaper reading.

Are you exhausted yet? ;-)

Tom gave up long ago trying to keep up with my pace. I admit it's fast - but I have a problem. If I slow my pace I get edgy and irritated. Then I am not a nice person to be around. Am I exhausted at the end of the day? Not really. I was very hyperactive as a child. As an adult I found a way to channel the energy to my advantage.

On weeknights I will steal time and make a quick and easy dinner - full of flavor and nutrition. My preferred method of cooking - stir frying those lovely organic veggies I bought earlier in the day.

Carrots Icicle Radish (01) by MeetaK

When the Chinese invented the stir-frying method they must have been thinking of all those busy working mums of the 20th/21st century!

Stir-frying is one of the easiest and quickest techniques of Chinese cooking. All it requires is cooking bite sized pieces of meat, fish or vegetables in a wok on a fairly high heat. As the pieces are small and the heat high it enables the food to be cooked quickly and fully. This short and intensive way to cook ensures that the full flavor and nutrients are retained in the food.

Although stir frying is typically an Asian way of cooking, I often use this method to cook a lot of my meals - be it Indian or Italian. I find it the healthiest - less oil, crispy flavor, perfect texture and full in nutrients.

This particular dish uses the simplicity of root vegetables, concentrating on the freshness of the flavor and texture. Many of you know that I believe in organic produce, but will never preach it to anyone. Here though I have to say the quality makes this dish. Try buying organically grown and fresh vegetables for this dish. You will notice the difference in the aroma and flavor straight away.

I chose to serve this with quinoa, cooked according to the instructions on the package, just using strong vegetable stock instead of plain water.  The result a powerful and intensive meal - veggie pure and full of incredible aroma.

Quinoa Root Veggies (03) by MeetaK

 

Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

10 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
6-8 Icicle radishes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
Bunch of green asparagus, cut into 2 to 3 cm pieces
Bunch of spring onions, cut into 2 to 3 cm pieces
Small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
Small piece of ginger, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200 ml vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
Peanut oil
Soy sauce
250g cooked quinoa

Method

In a large wok heat the peanut oil on high heat. Once it is hot add the ginger and garlic and sit-fry for 1 minute until transparent.

Add the carrots, radishes and asparagus and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add a little dash of the broth and cover to gently steam until the vegetables just start to soften.

Mix the cornstarch in a separate cup or bowl, with a few tablespoons of broth until smooth.

Add the spring onions and stir fry for another minute. Now add the soy sauce and continue to sauté for another minute or two. Finally add the remaining broth and cornstarch mixture. Bring mixture to boil, stirring until sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with hot bowls of cooked quinoa.

Notes & Tips:

  • When stir-frying it is advisable to prepare all your vegetables (and/or meat) before you start cooking. Cut your vegetables and meat and place in bowls.
  • Make sure all your ingredients are ready and within reach. Stir frying is fast. Often there won't be time to mix the sauce or look for the salt while things are cooking.
  • It's important to cut your vegetables approximately the same size - bit size. This will ensure that everything is cooked evenly and thoroughly.
  • If you are making a stir fry with meat or chicken, stir-fry the meat first. Cook completely and remove from heat. Then cook your vegetables, adding the meat at the end.
  • Each item has a different time. It is advisable to start with those that take the longest to cook through.
  • Heat the pan/wok first. When it's hot then add the oil. Once the oil is hot it is time to start with ginger, garlic and onions. These need to be stir-fried just for a few seconds, until they become aromatic.
  • The sauce or broth should be added towards the end of the cooking time. If you find that the vegetables still need a few minutes, cover and steam until done.

 

 


Verdict

Quinoa Root Veggies (01) by MeetaK

Not only does the wonderful rainbow of colors makes this dish look delightful, it is also the incredible aroma of ginger, garlic and lovely vegetables wafting in the kitchen that makes for hungry mouths sit eagerly at the dinner table. I personally find that quinoa offers a fantastic alternative to rice and pairs beautifully with the root vegetables. Perfect on any occasion, but a time saver on weeknights!

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Don't forget to send me your authentic Italian creations by next week. The best creation could win a one year subscription to the La Cucina Italiana magazine! Details here.

You might like these Asian style dishes from WFLH:

AsianStyleTilapia 01 framed Asian Style Tilapia
Chinese Fried Noodles02 Chinese Vegetable Noodles
teriyakisalmon Honey Teriyaki Salmon

 

Daily Tiffin Reading Tip:

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

27 comments :

  1. I have been reading your blog for a while now and thoroughly enjoy it. I always wondered how you managed to do so much ! Now I know.

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  2. that looks so yummy! its nice to see a different kind of recipe after a while :)

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  3. Quinoa is becoming my new very favorite grain, so I'm always looking for new recipes. This one looks great!

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  4. Veggies with Grains is a healthy combo.
    Isn't Quinoa Gluten-free ? I've been thinking of trying it from a long time, only if i can remember it while shopping. Your quinoa recipe is tempting me to try this gluten-free grain.
    Speaking of multi-tasking,I end up doing that very often to keep up with the busy schedules ,but sometimes i prove to be inefficient\haphazard doing all so many things at the same time.
    Cooking such easy meal does make my day easier.

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  5. What a lovely dish! My mom makes stir fries often when she's bored with the regular side dishes! This plate looks awesome! And on the multi-tasking part my mom just the same as she can operate at a time on 4 four burners!

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  6. Looks yummy! Tempting pics n lovely colours!

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  7. I can relate very well to the multi tasking :-D

    The food looks so inviting...love quinoa, though haven't cooked much with it.

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  8. Wow meeta that really makes you super woman !!
    I absolutely adore stir frying .. the amt of chinese food we make at home, makes me wonder if we are chinese or indian. Indian food really takes up a lot of time, with the graveys n all ... SF is like instant food !! Like the idea of quinoa with these veggies .Healthy n nice.

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  9. Quick & easy, as well as delectable & gorgeous - that dish has it all!! :0)

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  10. I have some quinoa in my cupboard, but for some reason, I always forget about it. This looks delicious!

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  11. Can I just stare and the outstanding header and not comment? Oh, darn, I just commented :)

    I have a pox of Quinoa in my pantry but haven't tried making anything with it yet.

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  12. I still haven't tried quinoa, but it looks like I really should. This looks wonderful!

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  13. that looks like such a healthy and filling lunch..i do love stirfry veg and i'm craving quinoa...:)

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  14. Meeta, your dish looks so delicious and healthy!

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  15. I have only recently found quinoa. In fact only last week I bought my first bag and had it. I really liked it and this is a great way to serve it! I'll remember it for next time, cause there will be much more next times!

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  16. Thanks everyone for your comments! Glad you like this dish. I know some of you think we live on cakes and desserts but that is only part of the story LOL! This is what we really like.

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  17. This sounds really delicious. I love the photo of the carrots and radishes, just a spectacular shot!

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  18. I'm always on the lookout for more tasty quinoa dishes and this is one.

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  19. That look so tasty - I bet the quinoa and the crispy veggies make a great combination!
    I know an thing about stealing time myself - enough to make some feel dizzy! :D

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  20. Wonderful recipe healthy recipe I love quinoa. :-)

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  21. Quinoa is probably my favorite grain. What a delightful way to serve it, and so quick and easy too.

    I admire and envy your energy Meeta!

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  22. Oooo...veggies, I really love them:)
    What a nice way of serving!~

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  23. I don't think I have ever seen an icicle radish. I will so be on the lookout for them now.

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  24. I really like stir-frying anywhere appropriate myself.. there's nothing like the aroma of high-heat cooking for veggies!

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  25. Hi Meeta,

    I've been following your blog for quite sometime now. Right from the name of the blog to the recipes that you cook up, your commitment shows. I love the small tags and links to new terms, rare stuff that you provide. They are soooo informative and they demystify "food" :-) The names of your desserts are real tongue twisters, and am 100% sure they are tongue ticklers too...Love your blog. Way to go!!!

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  26. Thanks for all the nice words. I love this space mostly because it's time spent with most of you. I appreciate all your feedback!

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  27. What a delicious looking recipe, I love fall root vegetables, and quinoa!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta