Cold Green Curry Quinoa Salad
Cold Green Curry Quinoa Salad
Thai Green Curry is one of my top 5 favorite foods in Thailand. I like it served all kinds of ways; soupy, creamy, stir-fried paste with rice, hot, cold, etc. Living in Asia for a few years, we got a little sick of white rice, so when we went back to the States, my husband decided to try replacing white rice with quinoa. Then, he decided to try making a cold dish instead of the typical hot curry soup. Green curry quinoa was a huge hit at all our parties, and is probably my favorite way to eat green curry now.
You can definitely create this dish to your own liking, with whatever vegetables or meats you want to add. Don’t like Green Curry? Try Red, Panang, or even Massaman paste instead.
Now obviously, making the paste fresh and homemade is ideal. But that takes a lot of time. Who has time for that? So for now we will stick with the pastes you can buy right from your store. Later, I will give you some lessons on how to create your own pastes.
What You Need:
Green Curry Paste ~ About 2 tbsp. for about 4 cups of uncooked quinoa. Like it spicy? Just use more paste, or add chili’s of your own. Green Curry is already spicy, so taste test first.
Quinoa ~ Organic, if possible. I usually use about 4 cups because I like to make a big dish for leftovers. Quinoa really expands when soaking and then even more after cooking.
Fish Sauce ~ a must for making curries. Don’t have it? A little Soy Sauce will help give you the saltiness, but for true Thai curries, buy a bottle of fish sauce to have handy. On it’s own this stuff tastes terrible, but a teaspoon added to a curry is really magical.
Sugar ~ all Thai dishes have sugar. You can add whatever you like to give the curry it’s sweetness. For this dish I used roughly 3-4 tbsp sugar. This seems like a lot of sugar but its spread out over a large dish.
Vegetables ~ Of your own choice – I like crunchy veggies for this dish (carrots, peppers, broccoli, etc), any vegetables that get too soft would just make the dish mushy. I probably wouldn’t use onions either.
Coconut Milk ~ just one can is fine for this dish. If you were making a regular Green Curry soup, you might want two cans. When buying coconut milk at the store, read the ingredients. For the healthiest brand, you want the one with the least ingredients. A good can of coconut milk should have a thick layer on top. If your brand doesn’t have this, try another brand.
Coconut Oil ~ for frying the green curry paste. Unrefined and Organic is your best option.
1. Soak your quinoa overnight (or for at least 4-5 hours) This helps break down this delicious grain for better digestion.
2. Cut your vegetables into small chunks.
3. Boil your quinoa for roughly 10 minutes or less. You will know when it’s done because the grain will separate and it has a spiral appearance. DON’T overcook!! Soggy, squishy quinoa is awful. Taste it and make sure its still a little crunchy. It will also soften up more after adding the green curry. I don’t worry about exact water amounts. I just make sure the quinoa is sufficiently covered with water and then drain the water after its done boiling.
4. Set the quinoa aside and get out a deep dish frying pan. You want to make sure you can put a whole can of coconut milk in it without it running over the sides. I use a 12 inch frying pan with roughly 3 inch high sides.
5. Fry 2 tbsp coconut oil, then add in 2 tbsp of green curry paste (if you really, really dislike spice, maybe just add 1 tbsp). Fry the paste for a minute or two on its own. Stir often. DON’T BURN. Medium-high heat is good.
6. Open your can of coconut milk. There should be a thicker layer of milk on top, scoop out a tbsp of that and add it to the frying paste. Stir.
7. Keep adding the coconut milk slowly. You don’t want to add it all at once because it will reduce the heat too much, and the paste won’t be able to release all its flavors as well.
8. Slowly add the whole can of coconut milk, stir. Reduce to medium heat.
9. Add your fish sauce. Add about 2 teaspoons. Stir. Taste. You don’t want it fishy, but you want to give it a nice salty flavor.
10. Add 3 tbsp of sugar. Stir. Taste. Make sure the flavors of the paste, fish sauce, and sugar are well balanced.
11. Add your chopped vegetables. Let them soak in the flavors for a few minutes, but don’t overcook them. You want them still crunchy for your salad.
12. Get the pot with the quinoa and add your pan of green curry slowly. I usually end up using the whole pan, but if you don’t have enough quinoa, add accordingly. You want the quinoa to soak up all the green curry. You don’t want the quinoa sitting in a soup of green curry.
13. Transfer the dish to a container you can put in the fridge. Refrigerate until cold, approx 1 hour. If you need it quicker, put it in the freezer and stir it up to release the heat.
14. Serve cold. Enjoy!