Quinoa Pilaf | Vegan Gluten-Free | Vaidyaji Priyanka | AUMcuisine

Pilaf, more commonly called pulao in North India, is a traditional rice dish, much prized for its glorious mélange of spices, and thus a perennial favorite with connoisseurs of fine taste. Our pilaf creation here promises to be equally noteworthy, where furthermore, we have favored quinoa over the traditional rice.

We start off with avocado oil in a hot pan, splattering cumin seeds first, followed with thinly sliced onions. There’s a distinguished array of spices to follow, but their order of induction is crucial, so we have to stay faithful to sequence.

Add 4 to 6 cloves next, then bay leaves, followed by a pinch of coriander, which though a pinch, is a ‘pinch hitter’ ingredient for the pilaf. Joining action next in sequence are some shredded ginger, minced garlic and chili flakes. With the quinoa yet to make its appearance, the aromas can be quite irresistible already.

At this stage, we add the (previously cooked) quinoa, and let everything in the pan get to know each other very well. We are almost there, but now reduce flame, and grind up a mixture of star anise and 2 big cloves of black cardamom. Mix this into the pilaf, and we have a divine swirl of flavors dancing in the pan.

The spice fest reaches a crescendo as we add on fresh cilantro leaves, dried methi leaves, and then the most royal ingredient of them all, saffron (presoaked in hot water), with a little salt to taste at the end. It is time now to plate up.

For plating, shape the quinoa using a round form, packing it in well with a spoon for the form to hold well. Garnish with fresh cilantro on top, and serve with butternut squash curry around the sides.

This immensely satisfying quinoa pilaf tells a fascinating tale of spices, speaking to us in the most intimately familiar tongue…that of high and refined taste.

Learn how to cook delicious and healthy vegan meals from Vaidya Priyanka.

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