B is always complaining about my expensive taste in food. I can’t help it. Cooking healthy fresh food is an investment on my health. It’s much better to spend money on nutritious food now, than paying for expensive hospital bills later on in life. I take my health seriously.

I like my nutty pop-in-your-mouth quinoa. I love my crunchy lettuce. And I love munching soft, salty cheese.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I can only find quinoa and lettuce together in one place in Mumbai, and that place is my beloved Nature’s Basket.

Nature's Basket in Powai

Nature’s Basket has several shops in Mumbai but the one I visit is in Hiranandani Gardents in Powai. It’s a small grocery store with fresh vegetables, fruits and what they call “world food”. They have local items such as lentils and chicken, but they are more known for their imports. Some of my favorites are their cheeses–they have Swiss Gruyere, Stilton and today I bought some Brie. They also have Modena pepperoni, another fave junk food! They have jars of different types of Thai curry. Today, besides my quinoa and lettuce, I bought Tahini salad dressing. I’ll be grilling some garlic chicken either tomorrow or on Monday, so to add spice to my chicken salad, I will try the Tahini dressing. I’ll let you know if that turns out well.

If you find yourself in the Powai neighborhood, and are willing to spend extra money on world food, do drop by Nature’s Basket. The choices they offer are worth it!

I first heard about quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) from my colleague, J, while discussing the range of cleansing diets we would venture into in the future. I then happened upon a pack in Nature’s Basket (Hiranandani Garden branch) but decided to delay the purchase until the basmati rice in my fridge showed signs of dwindling down. So it wasn’t until B decided to grab one from the Tops supermarket in Cortland that I tried this high protein grain, which was originally grown by the Incan mountain tribes of South America.

Frankly, it is the best staple food I’ve eaten. (Couscous comes a second close.) The tiny grains pop in your mouth, and there’s a mild nutty-sweet taste that brings out the flavors of fish and fresh vegetables. My only regret is not having the foresight to buy the organic Bob’s Red Mill brand that we consumed. I’ve emailed them and although I won’t be able to order via internet, they’ve asked me to call. But alas, B said that he would grab a pack for me and mail them over. (I hope he remembers.)

I found this recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill container and tweaked it according to our preferred taste. This recipe serves 2 to 3.


To cook the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water

To make the tabouleh, an Arabic word for a specific type of salad:
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup leeks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5-6 mint leaves, finely chopped
2-3 squeezes from a fresh lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)

Pour the water and quinoa into a pot and let them boil together. I tried boiling the water first before adding the quinoa, but the grain expands more when you do the former. Boil for around ten minutes or until the grains absorb the water. Let it cool for five minutes.

Add the tabouleh ingredients and mix. Refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors blend and settle.

Quinoa tabouleh with baked zucchinis, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar

Healthy Eats Facts:

Quinoa is a complete protein which contains all nine amino acids. It also contains a good amount of magnesium, a mineral that helps migraine relief and cardiovascular health.

The World’s Healthiest Foods

Seared tuna and mushrooms on quinoa. Yummy! Hope you remember to mail me my quinoa and steel cut oats!