Recipe: Peruvian Quinoa Stew

With a recent health-kick in place, I’ve been on a much healthier, veg-filled diet. Even if it only lasts the week, it still counts!

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but when I was in Peru, I didn’t get the impression that Peruvian people were all that health conscious; local everyday meals tended to involve hearty meat stews, filling empanadas, sweet doughy treats, and lots and lots of potato.

However, Peruvian food is actually very healthy, with most main meals making use of the abundance of colourful vegetables, pulses and grains, native to the country.

I hunted down another delicious Peruvian quinoa recipe, to use the golden grain that is rich in protein and very tasty. Thanks to Flor de Arcaya de Deliot’s The Food and Cooking of Peru, I found myself a delicious and creamy (OK, so we all need our little treats!) quinoa stew.

Quinoa Stew (serves 2)

  • 125g quinoa, washed and rinsed thoroughly
  • 500ml water
  • 125 whole milk/evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 120g feta cheese
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce and some finely chopped chillies (for salsa)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 stick of celery (optional)
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • Salt and black pepper

After rinsing the quinoa, bring it to boil in the water then leave to simmer for 20 mins, until the water has been soaked up. I added small bits of celery for a little more veg and texture, but this is optional.

While waiting, make up a salsa out of the chopped cherry tomatoes, finely sliced spring onions, lime, a splash of oil and some chillies. Season and leave to the side.

Once the quinoa is ready, slowly stir in the milk, then the oil and then the egg. The mixture should start thickening up a little. If it starts to get too thick, add a splash more milk or water. Crumble in the slices of feta cheese and add the chilli sauce. Cook the stew for 2 more minutes, season well, then serve hot with the tomato salsa as garnish.

The stew is remarkably filling, due to the high protein of quinoa, eggs and dairy. The cheese was just enough to make it rich and flavoursome, but the rice pudding type texture may not be for everyone. Still, this quinoa stew makes a relatively healthy, but very hearty Peruvian meal.

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