Steamed quinoa cakes for Superbowl

I know I am really late to write a post about a snack for Superbowl tomorrow. It had been a busy week for me as we had S’s cousin from Boston. We strolled through the street of SFO, Monterrey and Livermore and ate from every food joints and restaurant in town. More pictures in later posts. We had a lovely time and it was a fantastic week with tons and tons of laughter and jokes. Glad that you made it J. We love you!
For the superbowl party tomorrow, S is spending the evening with his cricket friends and its a potluck party. S wanted me to fix something greasy and oily. That’s superbowl all about right? Great food to enjoy, barrels of beer to drink and hilarious commercials to watch.  For a change I came up with a healthy snack made from quinoa. It may not be as addictive as a deep fried chicken wing but will definitely be a hit among health freaks as my snack has whole grains, lentils, almost zero oil, above all its steamed.I am planning to serve it with a spicy yogurt gravy tempered with basic South Indian spices. Well you could deep fry this too. The batter has the same consistency as vadai ones.
Its 11.52pm now, I am sticking with the plan to send steamed quinoa cakes for his all men party. But if my husband insists, I will deep fry like vadais or shallow fry them like patties I did a test run for this recipe last week and my mom, J (S’s cousin), S and my son were tasters and they liked it. When I made it for the first time last Monday, they wanted it to be more spicy. After couple of trials, I came up with this recipe which satisfied the taste buds of my  three adult tasters. And with my son, he liked the cakes being chewy and well seasoned. Yes he likes his food with salt, pepper and other spices. I soaked the cakes in my homemade yogurt dip and mashed them with hand and fed him. He loved it and I loved the fact that he ate the most nutritious snack ever. Also using yogurt serves the purpose of getting healthy bacteria to your system and when you make it with non fat yogurt,  you get the same benefits without the paying the price for full fat.
Did you know?
1. Yogurt contains lactobaccilus , an intestine friendly bacteria that maintains a healthy colon. This bacteria promotes the growth of healthy ones in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids.
2. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium, protien, riboflavin and vitamin B12. In my family, I stick to basics. Like my childhood meals, our lunch and dinner ends with a scoop of yogurt. In South India, every meal is filled with  sambhar (lentil stew), poriyals (vegetable stir fry), peppery rasam (soup – to enhance digestion) and final serving would be yogurt rice. This has been in practice for generations together. Yes, I think most Indians would have regular bowl movement. Don’t feel embarassed, its key to be regular and for that please increase the fiber (like fruits and vegetables, greens) in your diet.
3. Yogurt helps to improve your immunity and the good bacteria helps to digest food, helps the good bacteria to multiply in the gut. Also yogurt reliefs vaginal infection. When I was 22 weeks pregnant, I had mild brown discharge. I panicked and ran to my OB/GYN, she ran a quick physical check and asked whether my intake of yogurt had gone down. My answer was yes. She pointed out that during pregnancy the body needs more good bacteria of the yogurt to maintain the pH of the cervix. If they go up or down, there will be minor discharge like this and then for the next few days I ate bowls of yogurt in every meal. And TADA, they just vanished in a week. Such is a magic of yogurt and I would recommend pregnant women to have it how much ever they want. But remember to stick with plain yogurt as I would not want the flavoured ones with artificial sugars in it.
Note: Please visit your doctor before you attempt any kitchen remedy for any illness. Always listen to your doctor and then make a decision.
STEAMED QUINOA CAKES with yogurt dip
Yields 20 small cakes
Source: Self

1/2 cup organic quinoa
1/4 cup yellow split peas (toor dhal)
1/4 cup Bengal gram dhal (channa dhal)
5 dry red chillies (more if you want)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 cup cilantro -chopped
1 cup onions – finely chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
Salt to taste – about 1 or 2 teaspoon
5 cups water – to soak the grains and lentils
1 teaspoon oil to grease
Idly plates
1. Soak quinoa, lentils, garlic and dry red chilly in a bowl with water covering them all. Let it soak for 3-4 hours.
2. Drain water and grind them to a coarse paste in a food processor. Don’t add any excess water. May be add 1 or 2 tablespoon of water if needed.
3. Add asafoetida, onions, cilantro, garam masala and salt. Mix with hand.
4. Grease the idly plates with little oil (less than 1 teaspoon for the entire plate). I used mini idly plates  and steamed them in a pressure cooker without whistle for 15 minutes.
5. For those of you who don’t have a idly maker,I would suggest greasing a ramekin with oil and steaming them in a large cooking pot with water. Key is to have a bowl (preferably inverted) so you can place your ramekin on top. You don’t want the water to touch your cake mixture. The inverted bowl would serve as a platform and you could cover the vessel and steam cook them for 15 minutes.
6. Turn off the flame and let it settle down before you remove.

Source: Myself
4 cups non fat yogurt
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon asafeotida
2 dry red chillies
10 curry leaves
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup onions – finely chopped
1 teaspoon dessicated coconut
Salt to taste

1. Whisk the yogurt in  a serving bowl with salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium sized saucepan, heat oil. Once they ripple, add mustard seeds and let it pop. Then add cumin seeds, asafoetida. dry red chilly (broken) and curry leaves. Saute for 30 seconds. Then add turmeric powder and onions and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Switch off the flame and add the coconut and stir to combine. Pour this over the yogurt mixture and serve this as a dip for the steamed quinoa cakes.
1. Ideal for those looking to lose weight. 1/4 cup quinoa has 160 calories which according to numbers is similar to the amount of calorie in rice but in case of quinoa, it doesn’t spike up your blood sugar like other non-complex carbs. Research suggests that adding whole grains to our deit can help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

2. Perfect snack for those in South beach diet (phase 2 and 3) and also for women with gestational diabetes.

3. You can replace the usual lentil balls (ofcourse they are super healthy too) with my quinoa cakes for Urundai Kozhambu (South Indian gravy) or for paruppu usili too.


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  1. steamed quinoa cakes………luks awesome and i luvd the dip preperation……superb dear

  2. Quinoa cakes look delicious and love the yogurt dip.. I normally make deep fried food but today, for the game I am planning on making some deep fried snacks.

  3. Yes, super bowl food is all about satisfying your tongue 🙂 This is a great snack & I love the dip

  4. You have such a pretty blog! Love the photographs!
    And the steamed quinoa cakes sound delicious.

  5. Nice – when I saw these I thought maybe they were lentil cakes… but quinoa? Just goes to show, that stuff is SO versatile. They look so good, and that yoghurt dip has a fantastic colour too!

  6. love this healthy snack… I have bought a packet of quinoa and I am actively looking for healthy recipes… If you have any other please post them too!

  7. I love the color of yogurt sauce! It's so pretty and I know I'll dip in the sauce like crazy (some might think I'm eating this yogurt sauce…lol). I've never seen steamed quinoa cakes, and I love the originality of the recipe!

  8. love that yogurt dip .. it reminds me of Kadhi! The patties looks really yum and i have some left quinoa at home .. so i guess i am making patties over the weekend 🙂

  9. Came here thru FB
    ( or possibly coment on some other blog) and really like ur blog.
    I am specially thrilled to see the quinoa recipe. Must try!
    I understand from another post u have Gestational Diabetes, I had it too and remember my reaction very well, not unlike your reaction :(It is a tough time, but trust me, eating all that protein rich food, u will not regret it.
    I lived off tofu, if that is an consolation ! YUCK!
    Take care.

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