Quinoa is an ancient grain that has gained popularity due to its very high nutritional index and the desire for folks to avoid gluten. These tiny grains originated in the beautiful region around Lake Titicaca on the border between Peru and Bolivia. They have been used in local cuisine by the Pre-Colombian civilization, maybe as far back as 3000 BC. More on the history of quinoa here.
I love this grain, it has a wonderful nutty flavour and the perfect crunch when cooked perfectly. This salad highlights this wonderful grain.
For black lentils, you can use Beluga lentils or Puy, but In India, you can use black horse gram (like I have) or black urad dal.
The salad is a hearty dish. The quinoa and the black pair beautifully together giving the salad a nutty, earthy flavour. This is brought alive by the bitter greens and the sweet mango. The korma dressing adds spice and finishes the salad beautifully. You can serve a small portion as a salad, or a large portion if you want a light and healthy lunch. Super delicious, and super healthy, this salad is so good.
Like every recipe I have cooked from Diana Henry, this recipe is absolutely delicious. Subtle flavours dominate this meal, but the spices are balanced. This was my first Diana Henry cookbook, and after making a couple of recipes from it, I was addicted to her cooking. There are flavours and cuisines from around the world and her writing style is fun and easy. Like this recipe, the dishes step away from the ordinary and are just amazing.
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
1 cup black lentils, soaked overnight
5 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 bay leaf
1 garlic clove
1 cup quinoa
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed or sliced
1 cup watercress or arugula leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime, or to taste
Salt, to taste
For the korma dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2-3/4 teaspoon hot Madras curry powder
3 tablespoons peanut oil
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons cream
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients. Set aside in the fridge for 1 hour for the flavours to come together.
Rinse the soaked lentil and cook in water with the salt, bay leaf, and garlic for 20-45 minutes till cooked through, but they still retain a bite. Different lentils have varied cooking times, so check the lentils frequently so they do not get mushy. When ready, drain and dry out in a colander.
Roast the quinoa lightly in a frying pan on low heat till lightly coloured and they give off a nutty aroma. Add to a pot with the salt and water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 12-15 minutes till the grains are cooked, they will start to give out their stamens and turn soft with a beautiful crunch. Remove and drain thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.
To assemble the salad, mix the cooked lentils, quinoa, and greens. Toss well. Right before you serve the salad, Squeeze in the lime juice and add the olive oil and salt. Toss well again. Load the salad into a deep bowl and top with the mango.
Serve with the korma dressing on the side.
Note: Do not mix the salad dressing into the dish, it makes the salad gooey. Always serve on the side with guests spooning in as much as they would like.