Lerato’s jollof quinoa for Easter
This Easter, try something different by swapping the staple Jollof rice for Jollof quinoa. Quinoa is a wonderful sturdy grain originally grown in South America. It is a complete protein packed full of fibre, vitamins, calcium and magnesium. Quite similar to fonio, another grain popular in Northern Nigeria, and couscous, popular in francophone parts of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East; quinoa is nutty and creamy, lending itself wonderfully to a Jollof recipe that your family and friends will love.
Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes
180g/1 cup raw quinoa
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
5cm / 1 thumb size ginger, grated
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp curry powder
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 stock cubes
1 tsp of fine sea salt
4 large tomatoes / 1 x 400g chopped or plum tomatoes, blended
1 small scotch bonnet, blended with tomatoes
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves plucked
Let’s get cooking!
For the Jollof quinoa: Soak your quinoa in cold water for up 5 – 10 minutes, transfer into a fine mesh colander, or any colander with fine perforations and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove all impurities.
Prepare a wide pan with a lid by heating a tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and stir. Put the lid on and allow to soften for 3 minutes.
Add the thyme, ginger, chilli, curry and nutmeg. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomatoes, scotch bonnet, stock cube, salt and 250 ml or 1 cup of water if using fresh tomatoes, and if using canned, its water content will be fine at this stage. Put the lid back on and cook for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the washed quinoa into the tomato sauce and stir well. Add 2 cups of water, cover with the lid and increase the heat to high. After about a minute, when the quinoa comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Once cooked and the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, take the pot off the heat and leave covered for 5 minutes to continue to steam. Add the fresh thyme leaves for a wonderful fragrant finish, fluff the quinoa lightly with a fork and its ready to eat!
Cook’s tip: Try other wonderful grains like fonio, couscous, local brown or wild rice for jollof different from the norm, rich in fibre and full of flavour.
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