Curry-Scented Carrot and Quinoa Salad
You'll need cooked quinoa for this salad, and you can cook it up to 5 days in advance, whenever you're puttering around in the kitchen; or cook and mix directly into this recipe. Varying the flavorings is easy: omit the curry powder and skip heating the oil, and season as you would any grain salad.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large carrot
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 to 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
Microwave the olive oil, curry powder, and cumin (stirred to mix) on high about 2 minutes, in 30-second bursts, or until the curry smells fragrant. (This takes away the rawness of the spices.) Stir in the lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, and salt.
Grate the carrot on the large holes of a grater. Pour the cooked quinoa and carrot into the bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in the red onion, cilantro, and as much of the chiles as desired. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Quinoa may be served hot or cold. To make 3 cups cooked quinoa, rinse 1 cup quinoa and place in a deep pot with 6 cups water and, if desired, 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, making sure the pot doesn't boil over. Reduce the heat and boil gently 5 minutes, covered or lid slightly ajar to prevent boil-over. Turn off the heat, cover completely, and let passively cook about 5 minutes, or just until the grains have no white dot in the center, have unfurled their spiral-like filaments (the germ), and still have a wee bit of crunch. Drain well; fuff the grains after 5 minutes. Serve hot or let cool and chill until ready to use (may be refrigerated up to 5 days).
Curry powder tastes raw if not heated. To save washing another bowl, microwave the oil and spices in a glass mixing bowl, then mix in the rest of the ingredients.