Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"Lucky" New Year's Quinoa Biryani



A new year... a new "lucky" dish to enjoy.  I am always looking for lucky foods to eat for the New Year so we can celebrate the day and hopefully bless us with some luck throughout the year. 

This year I am trying to eat less rice (quite hard for a rice and curry loving Sri Lankan girl) and trying to eat other grains. Quinoa is one of my favorite substitutes for the rice I love so much. 

I decided to remake the "Lucky Biryani" made last year and replace the rice traditionally used in biryani with quinoa.  It turned out great and I may keep using quinoa for more of my rice dishes.

What makes this biryani lucky?  I used pork (to move forward), collard greens ( for money), and black-eyed peas (fortune).  My son loved the black-eyed peas so much in the biryani he said he always wanted them added.  I also cooked a pot of lentils since they represent gold and coins.   

Here's to hoping that 2018 is a great year! Cheers!!

"Lucky" New Year's Quinoa Biryani
Recipe by Ramona from Kitchen Simmer


The Biryani Curry:
3 pounds boneless pork loin cut into large cubes (all fat removed)
2 Tbs garam masala powder
1 Tbs red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder 
2 Tbs grated ginger
3-4 cloves finely chopped garlic
salt and black pepper 
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers finely chopped
red chili flakes (to taste)
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
1 package Biryani powder
2 cans drained and rinsed black-eyed peas
1 small bunch of collard greens cleaned, trimmed and chopped
salt and black pepper to taste (if needed) 
1 1/2 cups sour cream  
2 1/2 cups water

The Quinoa:
5 cups quinoa
8 cups cold water

1 tsp salt
3 Tbs canola oil    

Making the Biryani Curry:
Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil on high heat.  Add pork, garam masala, turmeric, salt, black pepper, ginger and garlic to pan. Then cook for 5-6 minutes and fry pork and spices.  Next add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and stir well. 

 Lower heat to medium heat and place lid on pot.  Cook pork for 45 minutes and check periodically.  ** If needed add water if needed.  

Clean collard greens well and remove the rib/stem.  Chop greens and set aside.  

Chop onion and jalapeno peppers.  Once pork has cooked for 45 minutes and is tender, add the collard greens, onion and biryani powder to the pot with the pork.  Cook for 10 minutes. 

Next add the can of diced tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.  

Then add the rinsed/drained blacked-eyed peas and cook another 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally and taste for seasoning and flavor.

Turn stove off and allow curry to sit for 5 minutes.  Then stir in the sour cream and mix well. 

Quinoa Directions:
Step 1:   First you will need to use a pot with a tight fitting lid.  Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh strainer.  Allow quinoa to sit and drain well.  Then heat the oil in the pot and add quinoa.  Cook on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  You will hear a "popping sound" and smell a nutty aroma from the quinoa as it toasts.   

Step 2:  After the quinoa is toasted, add water and salt.  Stir well and place the lid on the pan.  Lower heat to medium and simmer the quinoa for 20-25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

Assembly ingredients:
Part1:  Cooked quinoa
Part 2: Biryani curry

Layering Process: 
Layer 1: In a large casserole dish place some of the curry gravy on the bottom.  

Layer 2:  Place more than 1/3 of the cooked quinoa in a layer.

Layer 3: Place half of the pork and 1/3 of the gravy over the layer of quinoa.  

Layer 4:  Layer of quinoa. *Use the same amount of quinoa as the first layer.

Layer 5:  Layer the rest of the pork pieces and 1/3 of the gravy.
Layer 6:  Final 1/3 of quinoa. (this layer can be a little less than the other two layers of rice. 

Layer 7: Spoon remaining curry gravy over top layer of rice. 

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Before you serve biryani, mix all of the quinoa and chicken well and put into serving dish.   Serve with any curries you wish, salad, raita, boiled eggs etc.. 

Note:  Remember when you eat curry or biryani, the cardamom pods, cloves, seeds are meant to be removed as you eat.  They are only there to enhance the flavors of the dish and are not meant to be eaten.  Eating them does no harm, but the flavors are very strong and not pleasant on their own.

Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.