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quinoa

Beginners / Weeknight/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Quinoa Vegetable Biryani in Instant Pot

Bringing best of both worlds together in a pot- Quinoa Vegetable Biryani!

Quinoa is the perhaps the most popular super food of this decade. It’s a seed (not a grain), which is gluten-free, high in protein, fiber, amino acids and a lot more. Biryani, on the other hand, is an Indian Rice dish, where aromatic basmati rice is cooked with marinated meat or vegetables.

As a family, we have been trying to make better food choices and make our meals more balanced and healthier. With the focus on increasing protein and lowering carbs, I have been experimenting with my family’s favorite biryani recipes. Over the last year or so, we have been substituting Quinoa for rice in many dishes. Even though the total carbs in Quinoa per cup, may look almost the same as that in a cup of rice, it is still a better and healthier choice. Quinoa is high in fiber, which brings the net carb (total carbs minus fiber) count down. The high fiber content means we feel satisfied or full in a lesser quantity of quinoa vs rice.  Also, since it is high in protein, it slows down the process of carb absorption in the body vs. rice, which gets processed as a simple carbohydrate.

Instant Pot quinoa Vegetable Biryani, garammasalakitchen.comEven though our love for the classic biryani stands intact, this dish is my effort to introduce a healthier Biryani recipe in my family, so that we can enjoy is more often, and the result is simply delicious. It’s quick to make, cooks at lightning speed in my Instant Pot, so a big one-pot weeknight hit in my family! It’s easily customizable, you can add your choice of vegetables, add paneer to it to bump up the protein (I always do that). You can add shrimp to it and make a Shrimp Quinoa Biryani, or add diced chicken pieces, increase the cooking time to 4 minutes and make a fantastic Chicken Quinoa Biryani. Try it for yourself!

Quinoa Vegetable Biryani in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 2 mins manual, NPR

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon ghee/butter/olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
  • 4 tablespoons almonds & cashews, whole or halves
  • 2 cups assorted vegetables of your choice
  • 1 cup paneer, cubed, about 4-5 oz. (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons shan bombay biryani masala (depending on your spice level; see 'notes' for substitute)
  • 3 tablespoons fried onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and mint
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

1

Prep: Cut assorted vegetables of your choice in bite size pieces. Cube paneer in 1/2 inch pieces. Crush 1/2 inch ginger+ 3 garlic cloves and keep aside (if using fresh).

2

Turn IP on Sauté. Wait 30 seconds and add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add almonds and cashews and sauté another 30 seconds.

3

Add vegetables and paneer, Biryani masala (see 'notes' for substitute for masala blend) and quinoa. Add water and stir well. Top with fried onions, saffron strands and chopped cilantro-mint. Close lid. Valve set to Sealing. Press Manual (hi) for 2 minutes.

4

After natural pressure release, NPR, open lid. Using a fork, gently fluff the biryani. Serve with raita or your favorite condiment.

Notes

If you want your quinoa extra soft, add 1.25 cups of water instead.
Substitute for Biryani Masala: 1 tbsp Garam Masala, 1 tbsp Coriander Powder, 2 tsp Cumin Powder, 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp salt
Stove-Top Pressure CookerThis Biryani can also be made in any stove-top pressure cooker- Follow all instructions and continue to cook for 2 minutes 'after' your pressure cooker reaches high-pressure. When done, let the pressure release naturally.

3 qt Mini Duo/ Beginners / Weeknight/ Breakfast/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes/ Vegetarian

Quinoa Poha (Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf)

Poha is a popular Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack recipe. This breakfast staple from the state of Maharashtra (western India), is traditionally made with Flattened dry rice, called Poha. The flattened rice is rinsed with water a few times to rehydrate it and then cooked with potatoes, plenty of onions, peanuts and spices.

In this recipe, I have substituted flattened rice with Quinoa, adding protein and fiber to this already nutritious dish. A simple seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and a few basic spices, makes it ideal for breakfast or a snack. I personally prefer cashews in this recipe , but you can add peanuts or almonds too. I finish this dish with chopped cilantro, a dash of sugar and a squeeze of lime. My kids are huge Poha fans, so the real test in my house was when I served the Quinoa Poha to them. They absolutely loved it and took it for lunch the next day!

In this video, I have adapted this recipe to the Instant Pot, but you can easily make it on the stove-top as well. Check out the Notes section for the stove-top instructions.

Quinoa Poha

Print Recipe
Serves: 3 Cooking Time: Prep: 5 mins, IP Cook: 1 min

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed in a mesh sieve
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine (or 1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium gold potato, cubed into 1/4 inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 green chilies (optional)
  • 6-8 curry leaves (or 1 kaffir lime leaf)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup (optional, but highly recommended)

  • GARNISH:
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of half a lime

Instructions

1

Prep the ingredients. Slice onion, peel and cube potatoes, grate or finely chop ginger. Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve, it removes the bitter coating on the quinoa beads. Turn Instant Pot on Sauté. When it's hot, add oil and mustard seeds. When mustard start spluttering, add grated ginger, onions, green chili, cubed potatoes and curry leaves. Saute for 1 minute.

2

Add cashews, all dry spices, frozen peas, quinoa, water and ketchup. Stir well. Close lid. Set valve to 'Sealing' mode. Cook on MANUAL (High) for 1 minute.

3

Open lid after natural pressure release or quick release after 15 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add chopped cilantro, sugar (optional) and lime juice. Stir with the fork and serve warm.

Notes

Stove-top: In a sauce pan, follow step 1 & 2, but don't add peas yet. Add 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes in the pan. Garnish with cilantro, sugar and lime. Serve warm.
(You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your brand of quinoa.)