12 March 2013

Egg Fried Quinoa

I like order. I like routines.

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

I don’t like that I’m the sort of person who likes routines. Depends on routines. Feels lost without routines, projects and schedules. I’d much rather be spontaneous and carefree and in the moment. But I’m not: I’m just hardwired towards practicality and bullet-point lists.

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

This nerdy admission of mine manifests itself in just about everything. I like waking up early because slovenly, late mornings mean I’ll feel lazy and a bit guilty that I’ve missed so much of the day, even if the day doesn’t have much in store. I like supermarkets because they’re orderly and (mostly) neat and normally I’m grasping a shopping list. I like taking photographs of ingredients and dealing with the mise en place because everything is present and correct.

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

And it can mean that mealtimes get a bit samey. Giant bowl of cereal for breakfast, a million cups of tea, never brunch (ever) (I’ll explain that weird hatred in time, I’m sure), and a pot of fresh soup for lunch. Seriously, every day: fresh soup. I love it. It is never too warm for soup (or perhaps I am never not cold?).

So I knew this recipe was pretty special when I realized I was inspired to make a non-soup lunch.

Please appreciate this photo of steam rising out of the bowls. Thank you.

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

It had to be quick (this all comes together in under half an hour – even less if the quinoa is cooked in advance), look tasty, be full of VEGETABLES (I love vegetables), and, if possible, allow me to add an obnoxious amount of Tabasco to it. Tick, tick, tick, and tick.

What is quinoa? Let’s talk about quinoa. Keen-wa, not kee-no-ah.

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

Quinoa is technically a seed but it is prepared the same way as grains like rice or barley. It is a ‘complete protein’superfood/ ‘pseudocereal’, which makes it sound curiously enlightened. It has a crazy high protein content (14-18%), which I know y’all care about, and a ton of amino acids. It’s gluten free.

It tastes nuttier (& better) than rice (which is boring), and has a bit of a firmer texture. The grains puff up when cooked – one cup of raw seeds made four cups of steaming hot chicken-stock-infused quinoa.

Oh, hey, another steamy photo.

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

There are also some worrying supply-chain downsides, so perhaps we should consider quinoa revised, like mackerel, to the ‘eat sometimes’ list. I’m not saying eat quinoa with mackarel per se, though I guess we could try it sometime?

Egg Fried Quinoa | Pavlova's Dog

And, uh, quinoa was used by the Aztecs. Which makes it cool.
Now, moving on.

This recipe takes a standard egg-fried rice dish and makes it both tastier and healthier. Use whichever vegetables you have to hand and you could certainly try it with beef or pork strips rather than chicken or turkey. The Asian ingredients produce a delicious dish but not a spicy one (hence my overuse of Tabasco), so you could definitely add a diced chili or two to the mix if you can handle the heat.

Egg Fried Quinoa
Adapted (to make it more carnivorous) from The Healthy Everythingtarian

Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3-4 for lunch

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken broth
  • 200g chicken or turkey strips
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine vinegar)
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Spring onions, sliced, to garnish

  • Rinse quinoa in a sieve under cold water. Add to a small pot with the 500ml stock and bring to the boil. Allow to cook, covered, for 15 minutes on the lowest heat your hob offers. Once 15 minutes have passed, turn off the heat but allow quinoa to stand for five minutes with the pot’s lid on. Fluff with a fork.
  • As the quinoa cooks, fry or cook your chicken strips. I used thin strips of turkey and fried it sesame oil for about a minute on each side. Remove strips from the frying pan and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic and ginger in sesame oil for 1 minute. Add vegetables and cook until thawed, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add quinoa, soy sauce and mirin. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa has absorbed the liquid. Add the chicken/turkey strips to the saucepan.
  • In the middle of your saucepan, push fried quinoa to the side to create a hole. Crack eggs inside the hole and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Or, if you’re as bad as I am at cracking eggs, crack them into a bowl first to ensure you don’t get any shell and then pour the eggs into the hole. Gently mix the quinoa and eggs. Let cook for an additional minute. Mix again. Repeat until egg is completely cooked. Season with salt + pepper.
  • To serve, divide into bowls and garnish with spring onions.


  1. That looks really tasty, I'm looking for healthy recipes and this is great, I've had some quinoa in the cupboard for ages and haven't known what to do with it!

    1. Well I cannot recommend this enough, seriously. Holly (The Everythingtarian) (the person whose recipe I used) is such a genius. Let me know how it turns out if you make it!

    2. Wow. This is so good. Thank you!!