Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thai Cashew Turkey and Broccoli on Quinoa

As I have said in previous blog entries concerning quinoa, it is a perfect superfood!  It is high in vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, calcium, vitamin E, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid, and beta carotene.  It is not from the same family as wheat and is therefore, gluten-free which makes it the perfect food for those with celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or colitis.  It has also been identified as ideal for autistic children or those with ADD.  Quinoa is rich in the amino acid histadine, which cannot be formed by combinations of nutrients and instead must be provided directly in the diet.  Histadine is considered an essential amino acid in children because it is necessary for human development....and lastly, it is always organic because the saponin (or bitter coating on the quinoa grain) is a natural pesticide!!!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or turkey!)
1/4 cup soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
2 tbsp oyster sauce (I used seasoned rice vinegar)
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
4 tsp sesame oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup thinly sliced onion
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp honey (I used maple syrup)
1 cup unsalted, toasted cashews (I didn't have any so I used pistachios)
  • Slice the chicken into thin pieces and place in a large, sealable plastic bag.  Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl and pour into the bag with the sliced chicken.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (and up to 24 hours) to marinate.
  • Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan*.  Cover.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 6 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and set aside
  • Place 2 tsp sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and onion and cover the pan.  Stir frequently and add 1 tbsp of water if the saucepan appears dry.  Cook until the onion is opaque and the broccoli tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Remove the chicken, reserving the marinate.  Place the remaining sesame oil and the chicken into the frying pan on medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 7 to 8 minutes.  
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the marinade to the pan.  Stir in the water, peanut butter, and honey and cook for 1 minute.  Toss in the broccoli and onion mixture and stir thoroughly.
  • Divide the quinoa among individual serving plates.  Top with the chicken and broccoli mixture.  Sprinkle with toasted cashews**and serve!
*Check on your bag of quinoa to see if it is prewashed or not.  If it doesn't say it has been washed, place the quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse with cold water.  Quinoa has a bitter coating on the outside of it and rinsing it removes this bitter coating (saponin).  I find no matter if it is washed or not, it improves the taste!
**To toast cashews, place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and put into a 350F oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes - keep an eye on the nuts as the oils can cause them to burn quite quickly!  Shake the pan occasionally to ensure even toasting!

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