Curried Quinoa Super Food: Pacify Kapha in Late Winter/Early Spring

The ancient grain of the Incas, Quinoa has a delicate, nutty, slightly bitter flavor and the lightest texture of all grains.  This combination of bitter taste and light texture make it an ideal grain for Kapha types and Kapha imbalances such as excess weight, sluggishness, and issues of phlegm.  And while Quinoa is excellent for elevated Kapha  any time of year, it’s especially true  in Late Winter/Early Spring when Kapha predominates.  Quinoa  is also a very good choice for Pitta imbalances that benefit from the bitter taste and light texture, so serve Quinoa hot or in salads during Summer pitta season.  I like to make Quinoa tabouli in Summer.

Many, if not all the grains good for Kapha are  gluten-free,  which accounts in part for their greater digestibility and lesser propensity for raising Kapha and promoting Ama, or damp condition in Chinese Medicine. But unlike some gluten free grains,  Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, especially good for Vegans, since a mere 1/4 cup (dry) provides 20% of the DV for iron!

What is especially significant about this is that the iron found in red meat, heme iron, has now been linked to  heart attacks and fatal heart disease. According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, ” Red meat has also been linked to increased risks of colorectal and other cancers.  Again, heme iron could be a culprit — it is more easily absorbed into the body than other forms of iron, and can cause oxidative damage to cells — as could compounds that are created when meat is cooked at a high temperature.”

So why not get your iron from things like Quinoa and dried apricots?

Quinoa is also high in fiber and protein (6gm/1/4 cup dry), containing 9 essential amino acids.

Being Pitta Vatta myself, I like to balance the bitter taste of Quinoa with slightly sweet and grounding vegetables like sauteed onion, carrot, and winter squash. The oil in the sauteed onion also balances the light texture of the grain making it more tolerable to Vata.

But quinoa is great just cooked plain and served the way you serve rice. I find it goes well especially with middle eastern type dishes and combines especially well with any kind of bean, but especially chick pea or kidney bean. Add some to your favorite soup to make a one bowl meal.

Here is today’s recipe–

 Curried Red and White Quinoa with Carrots and Chickpeas




1 large carrot, sliced

1 cup cooked chick peas

1 tbsp yellow raisins

1 tbsp cashews

1 large yellow, red, or white onion, sliced

1 tbsp olive or sesame oil

1 tbsp curry powder

1.5 cups red and white quinoa

3 cups water

salt to taste




Sautee onion and cashews till the onions turn soft and brown. Add quinoa, carrots, curry powder and raisins. Sautee on low to bring out the curry and coat the grain with the oil. Add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer until the grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each grain, about 15 mintues.


Optional: toast grain in a dry skillet aforehand to give it a lovely roasted flavor.


Other vegetables: Cabbage, kale, dandelion, chunks of butternut, kabocha, or jewel squash. Other spice combos: cumin, saffron, allspice and black pepper.




copyright eyton j. shalom april 2012 all rights reserved use with permission




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