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indian quinoa recipe

Indian Quinoa Recipe | Quinoa Sambar Sadham

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course main, Main Course, soups stews
Cuisine Indian, south indian
Servings 4 people


  • 1 cup quinoa dry
  • 1/2 cup toor dal yellow lentil, heaped
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1-2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida optional
  • 1 potato peeled and chopped into batons
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped into batons
  • 2 small eggplants peeled and chopped into batons
  • 8-10 green beans julienned
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1.5 tsp tamarind paste
  • 4 tsp sambar powder see notes
  • 1.5 tsp salt

for tempering

  • 2 tsp coconut oil / ghee
  • 2 tbsp cashew nut halves
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chillies


  • First step is to soak the quinoa for an hour or so. In some cases, quinoa has a bitter outer coating and soaking helps in reducing the bitterness to a great extent. Drain the quinoa into a fine mesh sieve. Scrub and wash the quinoa well. In a saucepan, combine this quinoa with 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt and boil for 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pressure cook the washed toor dal with 1.5 cups of water and turmeric. This process can also be done in an instant pot. Once the pressure has dropped, open the cooker and mash the dal well.
  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Fry the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves until the mustard pops. Stir in asafoetida (if using).
  • Add all the prepared vegetables and stir on a high flame for 2 minutes.
  • Pour 1 cup water into the pan, 1 tsp salt and cover and cook for 5-6 minutes until carrot is cooked.
  • To this, add the tamarind paste and sambar powder and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked dal to this mix. Combine well. Check for salt, adding a little extra if required. The sambar is ready.
  • To this add the nearly cooked quinoa. Let this boil together for 4-5 minutes. The quinoa will absorb quite a bit of the sambar. Cover and allow this to rest for one hour during which time the quinoa will absorb almost all of the liquids and it will turn into a semi-solid stew.
  • Serve this South Indian style Quinoa Sambar Sadham with microwaved papads and raita.


Prepare the same recipe using foxtail millet or brown rice.
Sambar powder is available in all supermarkets in India or Indian stores abroad. In case you don't find sambar powder, use a mix of red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric and black pepper powder.