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Simplified International Flavours

thai inspired quinoa salad

A devious and flavorful recipe with the fresh aromas of lemongrass and galangal, loaded with healthy vegetables, perfect for brunch/


  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 piece lemon grass 3-4” (hard white portion of stem)
  • 1” galangal root
  • 1 lime leaf
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup moong sprouts
  • ½ cup large carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup zucchini, shredded
  • 2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 4 pieces baby corn, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup roasted crushed peanuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds, ground (optional)
  • 2-4 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • a small bunch coriander leaves, chopped fine - about 4 tablespoons
  • Dressing:
  • 1 ½ inch ball of tamarind
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon light soya sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 heaped tablespoon)
A devious and flavorful recipe with the fresh aromas of lemongrass and galangal, loaded with healthy vegetables, perfect for brunch/


  • 1. Wash quinoa and place it in a saucepan. Add water, lemon grass, galangal, lime leaves, garlic, and salt, bring it to boil.
  • 2. Lower heat to simmer, cover pan, and cook for 15-18 minutes until soft. Stir occasionally so quinoa doesn’t stick to pan. Strain, if there is excess liquid, remove galangal and leaves, and keep quinoa aside and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • 3. Once quinoa is cool, add vegetables, basil and 3/4ths of the coriander and toss. If using peanuts and sesame seeds add to salad.
  • 4. Prepare dressing. Soak tamarind ball in water for 10-15 minutes (this is best done while quinoa is boiling.) Mix tamarind well into the water with your hands. Remove any hard pieces/seeds so you are only left with a thick sauce of pulp.
  • 5. Add remaining dressing ingredients and whisk until combined. Pour over quinoa, mix and refrigerate for ½ hour until flavours are blended and salad is cool.
  • 6. Check seasoning. Garnish with remaining coriander.

    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cooking Time: 20 minutes
    Serves: 4
    Ingredients: 18

Critical Ingredients

Quinoa can easily be substituted in this with any other healthy grain such as millet or barley. Boiling the quinoa with lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves just adds flavour to the otherwise flat tasting grain (quinoa is actually a seed.) Galangal be substituted with ginger. If you don't have one or two of these ingredients, you can leave them out. Vegetables can be substituted with your favourite vegetables. I personally like adding mushrooms. No tamarind? 3-4 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice will work just as well - just taste and adjust seasonings. No coriander, leave it out. The salad is pretty flavourful already. No crushed chilies? Sparingly use one fresh chili!

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Anuja Kohli Mariwala

An engineer, home cook, Pilates instructor, Education Consultant and mother of four.

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