Baked Quinoa Fritters

One of the most overplayed jokes in the western world goes like this – “If you don’t like the weather in {your city} now, just wait a few minutes!” The people saying it also invariably act like they just made it up. The joke implies that the weather in that particular city is very unpredictable. The weather in Vancouver changes so much though, this joke is more like a fact of life. Vancouver’s coastal location moderates its temperatures, but the sea breezes and mountains all around the valley make Greater Vancouver a region of microclimates. This translates into quite a bit of local variations in weather. Vancouver also gets a lot of rain because of the mountains, and I am yet to identify a pattern in when exactly it rains here, or what causes it.

Weather in India on the other hand is very predictable, especially in Gujarat, where I spent my childhood. July to September is monsoon season, and after the scorching heat of the summer, everyone eagerly waits for the rains to arrive. The first rains hit the thirsty land and suddenly, everything comes to life. I distinctly remember how after the first rains you start hearing a jam session between frogs and crickets at night! People are not left far behind too; Anup and I used to go for long drives on his bike in the rain, parking somewhere we can get a bit of privacy and engaging in a different kinda jam session of our own!

quinoa

The monsoon also brings the chai and fritter season! I don’t think there is any Indian who doesn’t crave a hot cup of tea with home made kachoris or pakoras when it’s pouring down outside. Indians consumes more tea than any other country in the world, except for China. Tea is discussed in Indian households like wine is discussed in western homes. Every Indian kitchen boasts of a different way of making tea, and their unique process is something to brag about in front of their guests. My mom used to grow the herbs she used in her tea in a little patch of land we had in the backyard. She was so proud of her tea with home grown Tulsi and Mint!

My mom told me they had their first rain in Vadodara last week. I woke up today to see that it rained here in Vancouver last night too! Damp and rainy afternoons like today make me want to get the old pictures out of the closet and talk aimlessly about them with Anup for hours! But he doesn’t fall into that trap easily. I had to use hot tea and home made kachoris as bait!

Kachoris are a crispy fried fritters stuffed with green pea mixture. I have put my own twist on this Indian classic and made a baked version of Kachoris with quinoa and fresh peas I bought at the farmers market.

quinoa-recipe-1 quinoa-recipe-2
Quinoa Fritters

Cook time:
Recipe
(makes 20-22 fritters)

1 cup raw white quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup fresh/frozen peas
1/2 cup mint and cilantro leaves
1 tsp grated ginger
1 green chilli – optional
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp chickpea flour/rice flour
salt to taste

Rinse quinoa in a strainer under running cold water. Drain and spread the quinoa on a paper towel lined plate. Let it dry for 15 minutes. In a sauce pan toast quinoa on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently until quinoa is very fragrant and makes popping sound. Toasting quinoa will reduce its bitterness and make the cooked quinoa fluffier. Transfer quinoa into the plate and set aside.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the quinoa and salt, mix well. Cover with tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to very low and allow to simmer until all the liquid gets absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered with lid. Fluff the quinoa with fork and set aside to cool completely.

Place the peas, mint leaves, cilantro leaves, green chilli, ginger, cumin, coriander, black pepper,shredded coconut, chickpea flour with half amount of cooked quinoa in food processor. Pulverize to a coarse mixture. Add this mixture to the remaining quinoa, mix well. Roll the mixture in round balls between your palms. The balls should not fall apart. You can add some more chickpea flour/rice flour if the mixture is too sticky. Put the balls in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line quinoa balls on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Alternatively you can also cook in pan with a little olive oil until golden brown. Serve with homemade tomato ketchup and a hot cup of tea.

quinoa-recipe

Anup’s tea recipe, he is proud of this one!
(makes 2 cups)

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tbsp of black tea
4 cardamom pods
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 slice of ginger
8-10 fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp honey/agave or your choice of sweetener

In a medium size saucepan heat water. Add cardamom, cinnamon stick, ginger and black tea and bring it to boil. Turn down the heat to medium and add milk and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Now take pan off the heat add mint leaves and cover the pan for a couple of minutes to infuse the aroma of fresh mint. Using a strainer pour the tea into the cup, add sweetener and serve with hot fritters!

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Comments

  1. says

    : ) haha you’re right that is such an overused joke! and isn’t it funny how it’s not just the weather we could say that about? it’s also true of life in general. you never know when you’re going to break your arm or find out you need a surgery or get food poisoning from that new restaurant you swear you’ll never try again.

    so many predictable things. so many unpredictable ones.

    • says

      Shanna, thanks for stopping by! The only constant is change, and that makes life fun. The only way to live is to embrace the chaos!

  2. Jenn says

    Hi. Thanks so much for this recipe. I take part in CSA, and I am already seeing other vegetables that I might be able to incorporate into tasty little treats like this. I’m not a pea fan, but I am going to try this, AND Anup’s tea.

  3. says

    Hi, Medha, I just came across your blog today & was very impressed. I was trying to find quinoa recipes for our Indian palette & I am glad I found your site.

    Rupa.

  4. says

    First off, these fritters! They sound SO delicious!

    Second, I can’t tell you how jealous I am that you got to experience monsoon. I grew up in the U.S., no monsoon for me. As for the tea thing, totally relate! My dad’s family (and I) drink our tea plain – as in, not chai, but plain ol’ black tea without milk. Really weird for Indians, right?

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Vivienne! You can absolutely omit coconut flakes from recipe. If you want some crunch you can add chopped nuts or seeds instead of coconut flakes.

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