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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quinoa - Mixed Vegetable Upma & Who am I


Today marks the third day of BM#4 and I am here with a mixed vegetable upma, prepared with rediscovered, protein rich, super 'quinoa'. I have been in love with this pseudo grain for some time now and keep cooking it in all the ways I can think of and this is one of them.

Bloggers who are participating in this marathon are
Diabetes Diet/Management: Me, Kamalika, Smitha
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

Ingredients for 3 servings:
1 cup quinoa
1 & 3/4 cups water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup mixed veggies, chopped fine 
Salt to taste
2 Green chillies (I used Serrano Peppers. Adjust the spiciness to taste)
For tadka: 3 - 4 tsp oil, 1 tsp each - chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds & cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and few curry leaves

Note: I have used carrots, peas & potatoes in this recipe. These can be substituted with other vegetables like beans, capsicum and tomatoes when serving diabetics.

Making upma:
* Lightly toast quinoa and keep it aside.
* Heat the oil in a deep pan or a kadai. Add the tadka ingredients and toast until the dals start turning reddish. Then add the chillies, saute for a few seconds and then add the onions and vegetables of your choice. Stir once and cook covered until the vegetables are tender.
* Next add water and salt to the pan. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
* Lower the heat now and add quinoa. Stir well and cook again covered until quinoa is done, about 15 - 20 minutes. When cooking is complete, the quinoa seeds should become translucent and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a tail.
Squeeze some lemon juice while serving, if desired. Or serve with yogurt.

Regarding the discussions during BM#4:
Now 'behind the scenes' of this marathon. The marathoners keep discussing various issues thru emails during the marathon session and everyone gets to learn a thing or two in the process. Srivalli who is organizing this blogging marathon has posed us some questions like why do we blog, what do we look for in other blogs & so on and also asked us to introduce ourselves so that the fellow marathoners get acquainted with each other. This particular exercise is proving helpful since I get to know more about the fellow bloggers. Though it is not required to post about it on the blog, I thought of doing so.

To start with, I think people who follow this blog already are familiar about my recipes and me but nevertheless here we go.

About me:
1. My name is Suma and I blog at this space known as Veggie Platter. As the name indicates, the blog emphasizes on vegetarian, home style meals and is predominantly Indian. Whatever you see on this blog is solely my creativity and my responsibility. I am the one who is cooking, writing and taking pictures for this blog for the past 4 + years.
2. I have a degree in teaching and worked for a while as a High school math teacher in India. I do have immense patience when dealing with kids and I do love teaching. Right now for personal reasons, I choose to stay at home.
3. I have been happily married to a wonderful guy for over 15 years now. We have a son who is going to be a teenager later this year and a 9 year old daughter.  
4. I have lived most of my life (more than two decades) in Bangalore, India and have been in USA for the past 13 years.
5. I try to find joy and peace even in everyday, mundane things. I am usually a very calm, stress-free person.
* I do prefer books over people or for that matter, even cooking. I can read anything and everything as long as it is interesting / informative.
* I used to watch TV shows when kids were younger and now I totally avoid it when they are around. Now, I watch news and reality shows like amazing race. Our princess would be glued to cartoon network while our son to sports shows and we adults have no control over remote. 
And any day, I would prefer home & garden television to the food network. I can't stand chefs ooh-aah ing over some dead animal and there are barely shows that fit my style.
* And regarding movies, I can enjoy any decent one in English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. I can fluently speak, read and write in the first four languages and understand about 60 - 70 percent of Tamil. BTW, I like to read or watch thrillers.
* I do like visiting new places but hate the part of travelling since I have a serious motion sickness problem. I hate riding in a car / bus.

6. Why do I blog?
I have already posted it here.

7. What do I see in other blogs?
I recently started following my favorite blogs. Some I do for being informative, some for the writing style and a few for recipes. However, when I visit a food blog, I do read from the beginning to the end; how uninteresting the post may be. That's the least I can do to appreciate a fellow blogger's investment of time and efforts. I usually consider it lousy just saying 'yummy or delicious' though sometimes I do, not knowing what else to say.
8. I prefer a blog with simple layout and neat presentation. When it comes to writing, I think that even a plain introduction with out spelling/grammatical mistakes and reiteration would please any visitor.

9. Food Photography
My husband keeps telling me to do a photography course at a community college and I keep refusing. :) I am not an expert in photography but try to present a dish appealingly. I prefer natural light to take pictures and do not attempt food photography on cloudy days. I am not interested in artificial light setting. I therefore plan according to the weather forecast since I happen to live in Midwest where half the year, it would be gloomy. It is working for me since I have a privilege of staying at home. I pay more attention to the texture of the dish than the props. In fact I pay no attention at all to props and I think this should change. :)
I cook and take pictures leisurely in the morning when everyone is out. If I have to take pictures on a weekend, then I dish out a portion. And then I picture leisurely so that the entire family enjoys the meal with out waiting for my photography session to end. However everyone at home has developed the etiquette to ask about my pictures before eating. :) 

 Family Support:
 10. My husband is very proud of my work and is my super supporter, more than myself I should say. He is a very jovial person and he is rarely seen with out a smile on his face. I am the opposite and the serious kind. I don't make friends easily and feel awkward talking to strangers. And so it must have been amusing to my husband watching me blog on a public platform and making "all these strangers" friends. He has subscribed himself to my blog, reads each post of mine and keeps offering suggestions to better my blog. I never talk about my blog with my friends but my husband and some of his colleagues who have enjoyed my food do canvass about my blog. When non blogging readers send appreciative emails after trying my recipes, I am overwhelmed with joy and sometimes even pride.
11. My husband and son enjoy food and primarily are the sources of inspiration for my cooking and blogging. I don't hesitate to try new vegetarian dishes at home because of them.
12. And most important of all, I should thank my son who happens to be a gifted child. Touch wood. He learnt HTML when he was 8 to help me around with this blog. He is the one who deals with any technical difficulties that arise during the blogging process

Hopefully I covered all the topics that were discussed during this marathon.

Linking this post to Srivalli's Breakfast Mela.



Unknown said...

We had it for dinner last night, so I know how good it must have been... Looks very appetizing and good to know more about you Suma... rock on!

Unknown said...

Suma, what a wonderful, delicious recipe. I guess I should cook more often with Quinoa. So far, I have tried, raita, pulao and salad.

Loved reading more about you. I so agree with you about food channels. But, I still watch some selective ones from time to time.

May your son keep growing like this forever and be gifted and compassionate and loving/respecting always :)

Sobha Shyam said...

Quinoa upma looks very delicious..very colourful..will try it:)

Priya Suresh said...

Wow wat a inviting,healthy and guilt free upma, even i prepare something similar with quinoa for our dinner today..

Btw nice to know more about u Suma, eventhough i have already know more about u..its really wonderful to know that u can understand and speak 4 languages, u rock yaar;.

Cool Lassi(e) said...

The Upma looks truly tempting! Nice knowing more about you. Your son is indeed gifted!

Sravs said...

so delicious and healthy !!!

Archana Vivek said...

Lovely reading about you here blog too. Lovely recipe. I am going to do this for dinner tonight.

harini-jaya said...

One of my favorites!! Count me in the list of quinoa fans :) I can't say that about my better half and my older kid. I can enjoy quinoa in any vegetarian form and I make lots of varieties for my lunch on weekdays :)

Hmm..interesting to know more about you!!

Srivalli said...

Wonderful looking dish Suma, I am seeing so many quinoa dishes...Good of you to share about yourself. Very nice to know about your Son. sweet of him to help you with the blog.

Unknown said...

NIce to more about You Suma...its great that ur hubby is ur biggest supporter!..that always a plus point!...
I am alos very much in love with Quinoa...i am loving the upma you made of it...hey did you wash it and when?...y'day I had that doubt and posted on FB on how important it is to wash quinoa?..I see that u haven't washed it either..If you get a chance check out the discussion thread on my profile...
I would surely love to know your views! :)
Smitha's Spicy Flavors

Pavani said...

Upma looks amazing. Really nice reading about you. You are blessed to have such a wiz kid as ur son.

aipi said...

The wonder grain quinoa is my personal favorite and love it cooked this way- your post reminded me I haven't made it for a while now ..
Was really cute to hear about your son, I went awww sitting in my chair :)

Suma Gandlur said...

Smitha, I read that the saponins, the bitter coating of quinoa is removed after processing in USA and then sold commercially. I have noticed that the stuff I buy at whole foods is not bitter. Atleast so far. I do wash it a couple of times if using in stew kind of dishes and avoid it while roasting or grinding in dry form. I have no problems with unwashed quinoa.

Siri said...

Hey Suma,
I enjoy reading your posts. I was very happy to learn more about you and your family. I had quinoa in my pantry for a couple of months and was wondering what to do with it? That is when I came across your blog and tried quinoa pongal. My family loved it. Will definetely try quinoa upma, looks delicious. Keep posting more recipes with quinoa.

Radhika said...

Lovely Write up Suma. I have been your follower for some time now and from the write ups got an instinct that you are a patience personified person. now got it confirmed. Lovely to more abt you. wish I could get Quinoa in Chennai.

chef and her kitchen said...

That upma looks really delicious...nice reading abt u...

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Quinoa Upma looks very appealing...never tried cooking with this...Will surely try it out...Loved to read about you...

Gayathri Kumar said...

Nice knowing you Suma! Very nice write up..

jayasree said...

Upma looks perfect and very inviting.

Nice to know more about you. I can just copy and paste the 8th & 9th point for myself.

Glad to know your son is helping you with the technical side of the blog. Kudos to him and God bless him.

Sarah said...

The upma looks colourful and yummy! Though quinoa seems to be new to me... i dont think I've eaten it here. Any idea if it is available in India and of the local names?

Lifewithspices said...

That a very healthy upma.. n its so nice to know abt u ... Perfect family!!!!Kids helping mom ...

Raji said...

It's so nice to see recipe of upma with quinoa...I always make either vermicelli or sooji upma...would give this recipe a sure try.
Great to know so many things about you.

Ila said...

wonderful and healthy recipe and nice intro :)

Saritha said...

Delicious recipe:)

Nitha said...

Healthy one..

Shanavi said...

Mouthwatering and damn protein packed dish Suma

Prathima Rao said...

WOW!!Healthy & yummy!!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Usha said...

Quinoa upma looks delicious! I agree with you on the comments part. I don't like to leave comments such as yummy, delicious... But I do so very often during the marathon. It is just to let the blogger know that I have visited their blog and btw, i do mean it when leave such comments. But i do feel that Just leaving an adjective doesn't give any kind of feedback to the blogger. It is nice to know more about you.

Suma Gandlur said...

Sarah, I don't think quinoa is available in India.