Although they have only recently become a foodie favourite around the world, nutritionally-rich super grains have been enjoyed for thousands of years.
Quinoa has been used as a cereal for over 5,000 years and was regarded as a sacred food by the South American Incas. It’s gluten-free and an excellent source of protein as well B vitamins.
Kasha (toasted buckwheat), is one of the oldest dishes in Slavic countries — at least 1000 years — and often consumed as a porridge. Kasha is not a wheat but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. It’s gluten-free and has all the health benefits of whole grains including protein.
Chia seeds — gram for gram — contain five times more calcium than milk plus high levels of minerals and fibre. When the little black seeds are mixed with water a gel is formed which slows down the release of carbohydrates in the body providing a ‘full’ feeling for longer. They’re great sprinkled over your breakfast yoghurt and can also be added to smoothies.
Cracked wheat or bulghur is partially steamed then dried before being marketed. It only requires soaking in boiling water before use making it an excellent base for speedy meals. It’s a popular substitute for rice or couscous in Middle Eastern cooking.
I used a packet of quick-cook Tilda super grain coconut quinoa, brown basmati and wild rice for this dish. It’s available from most supermarkets.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium red onion,
250g skinned and boned chicken breast, cut into 2cm dice
3/4 cup small broccoli florets
1 small carrot diced
1 packet super grain coconut quinoa, brown basmati and wild rice
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Heat the canola oil in a wok or a non-stick frying pan. Add the onion and stir-fry until tender. Add the chicken and stir-fry until just cooked. Add the broccoli florets and carrot and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add the super grain coconut quinoa, brown basmati & wild rice and stir well. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil.
Make a well in the centre of the mixture. Drizzle in the eggs — stirring constantly — until it is cooked. Stir into the rice combo. Serves 2-3.
KASHA & ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD
Serve warm or at room temperature.
1/2 medium head cauliflower
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 red capsicum, seeded and cubed
1/2 cup kasha
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup chopped parsley
8 pitted green olives halved
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Cut the cauli into medium-large florets. Place in a large roasting pan with the onion and olive oil. Toss to coat and season. Roast for 15 minutes, stir, then add the capsicum. Continue cooking until the cauli is tinged with brown and is tender.
Meanwhile, bring the kasha and water to the boil in a saucepan. Cook for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain well. Place in a large bowl.
Add the cauli mixture, parsley and olives. Finely grate the rind of the lemon and add to the salad together with the juice. Serves 4 as a side.
BULGHUR & NAVEL ORANGE SALAD
Dressing: 1 large navel orange
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Salad: 3/4 cup raw bulghur wheat
boiling water to cover
2 navel oranges
4 cups baby cos lettuce leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
To make the dressing, finely grated the orange rind and squeeze the juice from the orange. Combine both with the honey, mustard and olive oil. Season.
To make the salad, place the bulghur wheat in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for about 10 minutes then drain well.
Place in a large bowl and stir in a little of the dressing. Cool.
Peel and segment the 2 oranges. Combine with the bulghur, cos and parsley. Drizzle with the dressing and serve. Serves 4.