The need for this came because of one message from my husband telling me not to get lunch for him. On weekends, I generally cook lunch after he has left for his work and I carry that for our lunches together. He had stomach issues which he won’t describe! Insisting that he will detail on it later in person. Fair enough! But what do I get him for lunch?
I had just finished cooking pasta the way he likes…enough to continue for our dinner and now I can’t pack that for him.
So I had to think for something which is filling and still light on stomach, easy to digest and without those fermentable fibrous elements (like wheat grain, onion etc.). I thought of soup. I have those ready-made soup mixes which I needed to finish but then I can’t help the unwanted ingredients there. It was already noon…and I will take 30 minutes to reach his work place. What can I do quickly? So here I am, with my fridge open, looking for ingredients and I quickly pick up no nonsense prep items – baby carrots (zero prep time, well almost), frozen peas, celery (it had been lying in my fridge for almost 2 months now craving attention. How did that last two months? That’s another post I will write soon), some herbs (choose your favorites!), some thickening agent and good old Quinoa grains. I quickly washed Quinoa and soaked it in water while I switched on burner with my pressure cooker on it, poured a little oil and waited for it to warm up while working on rest of the ingredients. Within 5 minutes, my cooker was sealed.
Now I wanted to add up chicken (or some meat – Chicken is easiest to digest amongst the ones we eat) but whatever I had was in freezer. I had used the fridge one for the pasta I made. Else, some shredded chicken would have been useful. I did not had time to defrost any. So I chose to add bouillon for some flavor. Since I was in such a hurry, I did not measure my ingredients and I just added everything as per my taste. So much so that I measured quinoa using my hands! That’s how my mother used to tell me. One handful of Kidney beans for one person was the measure. And of course, I do not have pictures from my cooking, I just took one later when my husband had half finished his soup. But I am definitely repeating this one. So I will click pictures and measure my ingredients to fine tune this post. Let’s skip to the recipe.
Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes, Serving size: 1 (main dish) or 2 (side dish)
- Quinoa grains (red or white) – 3/4th cup
- Oil or butter or ghee – 2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 2 tsp (optional)
- Onion – optional (Avoid if you have stomach issues, read above)
- Minced Garlic – 1 tsp.
- Baby Carrots – 6/7 sticks or 100 grams
- Peas – 100 grams
- Celery leaves – a handful (4-5 sprigs) (optional)
- Shredded Chicken – from 1 Breast piece (approx .25 lbs) (optional)
- Bouillon powder – 2 tbsp. (Can easily be replaced by Vegetable stock or Chicken stock – reduce water by same quantity)
- Water – 3 cups + 100 ml to dissolve starch
- Tapioca Starch – 2 tbsp (corn starch or any other thickener is fine)
- Salt as per taste
- Chopped Cilantro – Few sprigs (Optional)
- Wash quinoa and soak in some water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker on medium high heat. Add cumin seeds and wait till they splatter. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Add Onion if using and let that get soft for 1 minute. Add garlic. Saute for a minute.
- Add Chicken breast (if you are using cooked and shredded pieces, add them last). Cook on both sides for around 30 seconds. Take that out and let that cool a bit to handle.
- Curt carrots as you want – rings or long slices. Add Carrots, celery leaves and Bouillon powder. Saute well. Shred the chicken using fork. Add peas and chicken.
- Dissolve starch and salt in water. Add to the mixture and mix well. Add Cilantro if using.
- Increase the heat to medium high. Pour in the rest of water and let it boil. Close the lid of pressure cooker and wait for 3 whistles. Let it cool down and release the pressure.
Note: You can cook this in a sauce pan if you have time at hand. Increase cooking time by double or till quinoa is cooked. Cook the chicken less initially to avoid being overcooked. The rawness is taken care of while pressure cooking.
Enjoy the soup warm!