Nutritionists love quinoa because it’s a superfood: low in calories but high in protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. I like it for its unusual light texture – and because it tastes good. For light but filling meals, try these easy quinoa recipes (each serves four).
Quinoa with grilled shrimps, anchovy butter and poached egg
300 grams quinoa
20ml extra-virgin olive oil
200 grams sugar peas
600 grams fresh shrimps, with bodies about 6cm long
5 anchovies in oil, drained
50 grams unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 red bell pepper, about 200 grams
1 garlic clove
4 very fresh eggs
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 10ml rice vinegar
To remove the quinoa’s bitter coating, place it into a fine-meshed sieve and rinse thoroughly under cool running water, then drain. Boil a pot of salted water, add the quinoa and simmer until cooked. Drain, but do not rinse. Return the quinoa to the pan and set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to dissipate the steam. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and combine thoroughly. Bring another pot of salted water to the boil, blanch the sugar peas for 30 seconds, then drain.
Peel the shrimp, leaving the heads on. Finely chop the anchovies and mix into the butter. Dice the red pepper into 8mm cubes. Slice the shallot and chop the garlic.
Melt the anchovy butter in a skillet and sauté the shrimp until they are pink and curling, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl. In the skillet, sauté the shallot and garlic for about 30 seconds, then add the red pepper and cook for another minute, stirring often. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ingredients to a separate bowl.
Boil salted water in a medium-sized pan and stir in the vinegar. Use a wooden spoon to swirl the boiling water and create a vortex. Crack an egg into a small bowl and gently slide it into the middle of the vortex. Continue to stir the water, taking care not to break the egg. (The swirling water should help the egg white cling to the yolk, making for a tidier poached egg.) Once the egg is poached, use a slotted spoon to lift it out of the water and place on a paper towel-lined tray to drain. Poach the other eggs in the same way.
Divide the quinoa between four bowls. Arrange the shrimp, peppers and sugar peas in separate piles on the quinoa, and place the egg in the centre. Drizzle with anchovy butter from the skillet, season with ground black pepper, and serve immediately.
Quinoa with avocado, tomato, shaved radish, Greek yogurt and curry-spiced pumpkin seeds
There are different types of radishes. For this recipe, buy the small variety, about 2cm in diameter, with pink skin and white centres.
300 grams quinoa
20ml extra-virgin olive oil
12 sweet cherry tomatoes
2 ripe avocadoes
About 150 grams Greek yogurt
50 grams shelled pumpkin seeds
About 5ml cooking oil
About ¼ tsp curry powder, or to taste
A little sugar
Piment d’espelette or cayenne pepper, to taste
Fine sea salt
Prepare the quinoa as in the first recipe: rinse, boil, drain, cool and mix with extra-virgin olive oil and a little salt.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the pumpkin seeds in a bowl, drizzle with cooking oil and mix with your hands until the seeds are lightly coated, adding more oil if necessary. Add the curry powder, sugar and piment d’espelette or cayenne pepper, and mix well. Taste a pumpkin seed and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and add the pumpkin seeds in a thin layer. Place the tray in the oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are fragrant and lightly toasted. Cool to room temperature.
Use a mandoline to thinly slice the radishes, placing the shavings in a bowl of ice water to curl and become crisp. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle evenly with a little salt.
Cut the avocadoes in half, remove the pits and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon. Lay the halves flat-side down on a cutting board and cut into 5mm-thick slices using a thin-bladed knife.
Divide the quinoa between four bowls and smooth the surface. Lay half an avocado over each portion, pressing down gently so the slices fan out slightly. Share out the cherry tomatoes and add a dollop of yogurt to each bowl. Scatter with the radish shavings, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.
Styling: Nellie Ming Lee
For more recipes, go to scmp.com/topics/recipes