Asian fusion cooking is about using Mediterranean or American ingredients and, possibly, French techniques in classical Chinese, Thai, or Filipino recipes. I’m not intimidated by exotic ingredients, but I know that many of my American friends can be. For them, I try to use more familiar spices to simplify the cooking process. I also look at trends in the healthy cooking sector and add my own delicious Southeast Asian spin to the recipes that are sometimes bland.
Quinoa has become a popular ingredient because of its detoxifying, gut healthy fiber, but it has almost no flavor. I’ve created a way of cooking this crunchy Incan grain that makes me crave it. The shrimp and turmeric are heart healthy. You can use red, black, or white quinoa or a combination of colors. You can use chicken instead of shrimp and canned tomatoes instead of fresh.
3-4 cups water
¼ tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
1 medium-sized stalk of lemongrass, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup quinoa
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
¾ cup chopped orange or red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped scallions
1 tsp. crushed garlic
4 Tbs. coconut oil
1 cup crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp. turmeric powder
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring the water, salt, and lemongrass to a boil over high heat.
2. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. In a shallow pan, sauté the shrimp, vegetables, and garlic in the oil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, salt, and pepper and cook an additional 3 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque and the vegetables are halfway between crisp and tender.
5. Remove the lemongrass from the quinoa.
6. To serve, spoon the sauce over the quinoa.
Chef’s Note: If using chicken, cut a skinless, boneless breast (organic or free-range) into 1-inch cubes. Sauté the chicken and vegetables for 5 minutes (step 3).