Curried Quinoa Pilaf with Cucumber Mint Raita

I was tired of winter food. Tired of winter skies and stubborn patches of snow still clinging to the ground in mid-April. One day last week, I opened the door to the house and was engulfed by the incredible scent of curry emanating from the kitchen. It filled the living room, drifting into every corner. I asked my roommate for the recipe and made it the very next night.

It was amazing, and even more so, took almost no time at all (around 30 min total including prep work). The combination of the Greek yogurt and the quinoa leaves you satisfied for the rest of the evening. It was suggested that it be served with spinach, but I substituted spicy arugula which complimented the sweet curried quinoa and the cold, minty raita. (It's a tossup as to which part is my favorite).

Curried Quinoa Pilaf with Cucumber Mint Raita
(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • 6 tsp curry powder
  • 3-4 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • raisins and chopped dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber 
  • 6-8 teaspoons chopped fresh mint (2-3 bunches)
  • 2 1/2-3 c plain Greek yogurt
  • Arugula

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the curry and the garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add quinoa and water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 16 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in salt. Let cool completely (if you can wait---I couldn't). Add the raisins, apricots, green onion and cilantro to cooled quinoa; toss gently.

Combine the cucumber, mint, and yogurt in a small bowl, and stir well.

Serve the quinoa on top of a bed of arugula with a (very, very) generous dollop of the raita.

And yes, I took photos of the leftovers. I tripled the original recipe (factored in above) but not the raita (again, I have fixed it above); served with plain Greek yogurt it was still almost as delicious.

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