Thai Quinoa Pilaf with Lemongrass, Basil and Mint

11 10 2013

This is an adapted recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Fusion Food Cookbook. Originally, it was a Thai Rice Pilaf but I substituted the quinoa to make it a little lighter and healthier. Of course you can always make it the original way with jasmine rice.  I serve this often with grilled fish and vegetables. It is super flavorful. Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa, use a mix of blond and red quinoa if desired

1/3 cup currants

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. fresh lemongrass stem, minced

1 3/4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp. dry sherry

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tsp. Asian chile sauce

2 tsp orange zest, finely grated

1 kaffir lime leaf (optional)

3 tbsp. cooking oil

1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded

1/2 cup green onions, minced

1/4 cup minced basil leaves

1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds


Soak the quinoa for 15 minutes then rinse the in a fine sieve. Drain thoroughly.

Set aside garlic and lemongrass. In a small bowl, combine the stock, coconut milk, sherry, fish sauce, chile sauce, orange zest, and kaffir lime leaf. Place a medium sized saucepan over high heat and add the cooking oil. Add the garlic and lemon grass and sauté quickly. Add the quinoa and currants and sauté for a couple minutes. Add the coconut-stock mixture and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until all the liquid disappears. Remove from heat and let sit covered for an additional 5 minutes.


Mince the red bell pepper and set aside with all the herbs, green onion, and sesame seeds. Gently stir these ingredients into the cooked quinoa and serve hot.


You can make ahead by refrigerating the quinoa before adding in the final ingredients. Then reheat in the covered pan in a 325 degree oven until hot. Stir in the herbs, red pepper, onions and sesame seeds at the end right before serving.




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