Quinoa in tamarind sauce

I was in a mood  for something really spicy and tangy today. I was making a dish for myself and hence thought of experimenting a bit. I thought of giving the traditional puliyodharai a twist. Puliyodharai is rice blended in tamarind sauce (pulikachal). But I did not want to eat rice,so I decided to replace rice with the ultimately healthy option quinoa. The outcome was really adorable.. absolutely delish! For those of you who have not been introduced to quinoa, it is a protein rich substitue for rice minus the carbs that rice has. You can prepare the tamarind sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator. It keeps well for quite a few days. I already had some pulikachal in the refrigerator. All I had to do was to cook the quinoa and mix it. I do not use onions for the traditional puliyodhara but here I used onions to enhance the nutty flavor of quinoa.So those of you who know how to prepare puliyodhara, you got it…other’s follow my recipe!


  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup tamarind paste
  • 4 tablespoons gingelly/ sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chana dal (bengal gram)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons urad dal (black gram)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 10-12 black pepper corns
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon powdered jaggery
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • peanuts
  • 1 onion chopped
  • salt

Cook the Quinoa in 3 cups water just as we cook rice and keep it aside.
Dry roast 1 tablespoon each of urad dal, chana dal, coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds and the peppercorns. Grind them into a powder upon cooling.
Heat oil in a wok/ kadai and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts, red chillies, curry leaves, asafetida and turmeric powder in quick succession.
Add the tamarind paste. You can use ready made paste or make it at home by soaking tamarind ( about the size of a lemon) in warm water.
Keep stirring the mixture on medium flame till the oil starts leaving the paste.
Add the ground powder, salt and jaggery and simmer the gas.
Cook for 15 minutes stirring frequently.This is the basic tamarind gravy that can be prepared ahead of time.

Now in a frying pan saute the onions and mix the quinoa and the pulikachal ( the tamarind sauce) and serve with pappadums or fryums.


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