I have become obsessed with making the perfect quinoa curry ever since I ate this particularly flavourful tofu curry at Urban Herbivore in a food court in Toronto. One wouldn’t think that a meal from a food court would make such an impression but I distinctly remember the crispy tofu and the creamy, sweet and spicy broth. Ever since then, my mission has been to create the same comforting experience, and I believe I have finally completed my quinoa curry quest!
My quinoa curry is packed full of protein, hints of sweetness, simmering spice and a creamy finish that will have you returning for seconds. The base of the curry is oil infused with whole cardamom, fenugreek and coriander seeds, however if you don’t have whole seeds handy substitute with 25% less (1 teaspoon whole seeds = 3/4 teaspoon ground). In Indian cooking ground spices are used as well as whole spices to slowly build layers of flavour. I used fenugreek because it has all kinds of great health benefits – including flushing out harmful toxins and helping digestion – an important aid during our detox! The heat from these spices builds slowly on the palette, and is balanced out by the soothing sweetness of the coconut and raisins. The carrots and almonds provide a nice crunch, as well as complimenting the earthy element of the quinoa. What makes my curry unique is that instead of using an onion as a base, I used fennel. I made this substitution because my boyfriend loves fennel, and because I thought the licorice flavour would tie the spicy and sweet elements together nicely. We devoured this curry while watching the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones – the perfect comfort food when watching that unpredictable show. Needless to say, I have really fallen in love with fennel, and I can’t wait to make this curry again!
350g package extra firm tofu, drained and sliced into half inch cubes
For the curry:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
5 cardamon pods, shell removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon fenugreek (substitute for coriander seeds if needed)
1 x fennel bulb, top removed and two layers of outer bulb finely diced. Save fronds for topping.
2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 x 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ a red chili finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 x medium carrots peeled, trimmed and sliced lengthwise and chopped into half moons
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 x 398ml can coconut milk
4 x baby bok choy, trimmed and coarsely chopped
300g frozen shrimp, defrosted
2 teaspoons garam masala
splash of lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
handful cilantro, finely chopped
unsweetened shredded coconut
Rinse quinoa if needed. Combine quinoa with chicken broth and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn down to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Add raisins. Keep covered.
In the meantime, heat oil in a hot skillet until oil starts to smoke, then turn down to medium heat. Carefully place tofu in hot oil and toss every few minutes until just lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on paper towel to absorb the oil.
Heat coconut oil in a small pot over medium heat. Toss whole spices a few seconds until they crackle.
Add fennel and cook until translucent.
Add garlic, ginger, chilies, ground curry, cumin, and coriander. Stir for 1 minute.
Add carrots and enough stock to cover the ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add coconut milk & bok choy, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add shrimp and 1 cup stock, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add the garam masala & tofu. Stir well.
Bring to a boil and season to taste with salt, pepper and lime.
Place one scoop of quinoa in a bowl, pour curry over quinoa and top with fennel fronds, cilantro, lime wedges and sliced almonds or shredded coconut