Making Better Food Choices for Better Health

After losing 22 lbs in 2022, I’m now in maintenance mode! I was determined to get healthier, eat better, and work out regularly after the pandemic. I’m delighted to report that I achieved my goal by October. I’ve established some good habits over the past year, and this year, my focus is on sticking to them – which means not missing a day of working out and making better food choices.

Indian-style Spiced Quinoa & Edamame Stir-Fry

But, what does making better food choices really mean? To me, it’s all about consuming controlled portions of balanced meals that include more protein, healthier carbs in the form of unprocessed whole grains and fruits, a moderate amount of healthy fats, and, of course, plenty of vegetables. While I was consistently good about eating lots of vegetables and unprocessed whole grains, I wasn’t always successful in controlling my portion sizes and ensuring I consumed enough protein.

Making My Recipes Healthier 

Over the last few years, I have modified several of my recipes to reduce their carb content compared to the original versions. As an example, I adore pohe, flattened rice, and often prepare it for quick and easy weekend brunches or weekday lunches. Over time, I devised a method to make the traditional carb-heavy recipe lighter by replacing half of the flattened rice with riced cauliflower. I apply the same technique to another pohe recipe, Tomato Pohe, and it consistently produces excellent results every time, with no discernible difference in taste or texture, for that matter!

Indian-style Spiced Quinoa & Edamame Stir-Fry

Swapping with Healthier Ingredients 

Now that I am concentrating on maintaining my weight, I am ensuring that I consume protein-rich meals with controlled portions while continuing to exercise regularly. With these habits, I have to say I’ve been successful in keeping my weight steady for the last 4 months! I’ve made some minor adjustments, incorporating protein-boosting alternatives into otherwise carb-loaded recipes. For instance, I prefer quinoa over brown rice in my lunch or dinner bowls with vegetable stews or dal, as it contains more than 60% of protein compared to rice.

Indian-style Spiced Quinoa & Edamame Stir-Fry

Healthy Spins on some Classic Recipes

In addition to creating salads with quinoa, I’m exploring different ways to put a healthier twist on some classic recipes, like the popular North Indian breakfast dish, the Banarasi Chooda/Chura Matar, for instance. Instead of using chura (flattened rice) and matar (green peas), I prepared the recipe with quinoa and edamame. Although technically a seed, quinoa is categorized as a whole grain and serves as a good source of plant protein and fiber. One cup cooked provides approximately 8 g of protein and 5 g of fiber, compared to about 3 g of protein and no fiber in pohe. Furthermore, edamame is a protein powerhouse: a cup of boiled, shelled edamame pods contains around 18 g of protein compared to 8 g in green peas.

Indian-style Spiced Quinoa & Edamame Stir-Fry

Besides being healthier than the original dish, this version, in my humble opinion, offers superior flavor and texture. I adore the nutty flavor and the soft yet chewy texture that quinoa brings. The edamame contributes a delightful buttery flavor with a hint of sweetness. Give it a try… I think you’re going to LOVE it! I’ve linked a short video below that I put together for you that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen.

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Indian-style Spiced Quinoa & Edamame Stir-Fry


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Makes 1 large or 2 small servings 1x

Description

A healthy twist on Banarasi Chooda/Chura Matar, by replacing the two key ingredients – poha/flattened rice with cooked quinoa and matar/green peas with edamame.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 23 Thai or bird’s eye green chilies, thinly sliced (see Notes)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, fresh or frozen thawed
  • salt
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked (see this video for how to cook quinoa)
  • 45 sprigs of cilantro, chopped, for garnishing

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a medium wok or a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and the bay leaf and let them sizzle in the oil for 30 seconds. 
  • Throw in the sliced green chilies and chopped ginger and sauté for a minute till the raw flavor goes away. 
  • Add in the edamame, season with salt, sugar and garam masala. Give it a quick stir and then cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Toss in the cooked quinoa and stir well to combine. Take it off the heat after 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

Keywords: North Indian Recipes, Healthy Recipes, Quinoa Recipes

Step-by-Step Details

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Use less Heat

You can use less green chilies or substitute with jalapeños or red chili pepper flakes for milder heat.

Recipe Variations

Make the original dish, Banarasi Chooda/Chura Matar by substituting edamame with green peas and cooked quinoa with soaked thick poha (flattened rice).

Add in veggies like diced carrots or bell peppers for more flavor, texture and a vitamin boost.

Top with roasted peanuts before for a nutty flavor and crunch.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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