Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fried Quinoa

My grandmother always made fried rice with the leftover white rice and it has always been one of my favorite ways to use up leftover rice. As a kid, I loved it so much that there were times when I would cut back on my rice consumption at dinner the night before so I could guarantee that we’d have fried rice for dinner the next night. Needless to say, I’ve never met a fried rice dish that I didn’t like. 

About two months ago I went out to dinner with a group of friends at Eos in San Francisco’s Cole Valley. I had scanned the menu online ahead of time and the Fried Quinoa with Peanuts immediately caught my eye.  

We shared our dishes family-style, but I went back for seconds and then thirds of the fried quinoa. I loved it so much that I stole the menu (Hey, the waiter said they were going out of business the very next week!) to 
recreate the dish at home. I could practically hear my mother say, "You could totally make that."

Fortunately, fried rice for dinner is an easy sell with our kids, but lately I've been trying to add new grains into our diet without turning our meals into something that tastes like it came from the forest floor. I knew the added element of quinoa and kale would raise some eyebrows and it might cause a revolt at the table. But why not just serve it without saying a word about the new additions? It had the same exact taste as our favorite Fried Rice with Shrimp but it looked a little different. I was lucky that night because they were hungry and everyone ate their portions without a complaint – this is not always the case, believe me.

This recipe is best made with quinoa that has been cooked and cooled ahead of time. But if you don’t have time for that then you could cook the quinoa according to the package directions and spread it out in a thin layer on a cookie sheet to cool off quickly. 

Fried Quinoa and Shrimp with Blistered Peanuts     

1/2 cup shelled peanuts (I used Trader Joe’s Roasted and Unsalted peanuts)
2 Tbls. vegetable oil, divided
1 Tsp. sesame oil
2 large eggs, whisked
1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 ½ cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 pound shrimp, deveined and tails removed
3 Tbls. rice vinegar
3 Tbls. soy sauce

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbls. vegetable oil over medium heat and add the peanuts, moving them around to coat with oil and fry till blistered and lightly browned. Reserving the oil in the skillet, remove the peanuts with a slotted spoon onto a plate. Add the whisked eggs to the skillet with some salt and pepper and cook until set like a pancake – about two minutes on one side, then flip the eggs over and let it cook through for another minute. Remove the eggs from the skillet and let cool on a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, roll the egg up and slice thinly crosswise.

In same skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbls. vegetable oil and 1 Tsp. sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add kale, onion, and garlic and stir, seasoning with salt and pepper (the skillet will be very full). Stir frequently until the kale and onion soften, about 5 minutes. Push the kale mixture to the side of the skillet and add in the shrimp, cooking through for three minutes. Add in the cooked quinoa, sliced eggs, rice vinegar and soy sauce to the pan. Stir ingredients together till combined and warmed through. Divide into bowls and serve with blistered peanuts on top.

1 comment:

  1. I see this made it into the mini DALS cookbook! You're famous :)