Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Basa, Curried Quinoa and Stir-fried Vegetables

Mrs. Urban Eater came up the stairs the other night with a basa fillet. "I think you should cook this guy for dinner tonight." How could I argue? I like the taste of them, they cook quickly and they are easy to pair up with other healthy ingredients. I took inventory in the fridge and we were loaded up with lots of veggies, so there was the meal all planned out and it didn't take long to figure out. I love it when that happens.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts my mother suffers from Alzheimer's, so I will do anything I can to protect myself from this disease. I was thinking about adding curry powder to the stir-fry as it is supposed to help release some of the plaque from your brain which causes the dreaded disease, but I thought it was a good idea to add another color and texture to the plate as well. We have lots of quinoa on hand, so adding curry powder to the quinoa was a better idea. This way, O can have some of the vegetables without her little palate getting overloaded with spices. She can eat the quinoa if she wants, but I think her eating the vegetables is more important right now.


- 1 basa fillet
- 1 cup (237 ml) red onion, diced
- 1/2 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 carrots, sliced thinly on the bias (angled)
- 4 asparagus spears, sliced using a rolling cut, meaning cut it at an angle, give it a 1/4 turn and cut it at an angle again, and so on.
- 1/2 of a red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 celery stick, thinly cut at an angle
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) quinoa
- 1 cup (237 ml) water
- 1 tsp curry powder
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


1) Prepare the vegetables and garlic first. Allowing garlic to sit for a minute or two after being crushed stimulates it's health properties.

2) Pour the quinoa into a pan over medium-high heat and let it toast until it starts to pop.

When this happens, add the water and the curry powder and stir. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to low and cover.

Cook for 15 minutes, take off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff it with a fork so it doesn't all stick together.
3) While the quinoa starts to cook, place a non-stick frying pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add a little EVOO when the pan is hot, start cooking the carrots and stir. When they start to change color, add the onions, garlic and pepper. Keep stirring.
4) When the onions start to turn color, add the asparagus and rep pepper. Add a little salt now to help the green vegetables stay green and to bring out some of the vegetables juices. Stir all the veggies around the pan, add a little water (2 Tbsp) to the pan and put the lid on. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 6-7 minutes.
5) Prepare the fish by cutting it in half and seasoning it lightly with salt and pepper

6) The basa will only take about 6 minutes to cook, so to save on washing up more pots and pans, I wait for the stir-fry to finish cooking and use the same pan. This will also add extra flavor to the fish. Spoon the quinoa onto your plate, place the vegetables on top and quickly put the stir-fry pan back on the stove over medium heat. place the fillets into the pan (there should be enough oil left over from the vegetables).

7) Cook the fish for 3 minutes on each side. They are thin fillets, so they will cook very fast. If they don't brown, that's fine. I find fish to be better eating when they aren't cooked over high heat, rather cooked over a little lower heat. They come out a lot nicer this way. Place over top of the vegetables and serve.
Yield: Serves 2

If you look at the picture with the vegetables on the cutting board, I had a tomato there along with the other vegetables. Normally I add it at the end of the cooking process of the stir-fry, but I forgot. So, add a tomato if you want. It won't hurt but only add to the dish.

Despite this dish being nice to look at and very tasty, the health properties are extensive. For starters, broccoli is full of fibre, vitamins C, K and A and helps your body detoxify itself. It is best eaten when cooked, but not overcooked. You still want it to be a little crunchy. Carrots give you a blast of vitamin A and are full of antioxidant properties. They also help your eyes maintain their good health. Asparagus adds to your vitamin K experience and is an excellent source of folate. This is a good vegetable for all of us to eat, especially pregnant women. Folate will help your baby grow and stay healthy in the womb. Just  make sure you eat it as soon as you can after buying it. It's health properties start to diminish rather quickly after being picked and stored in your fridge. And onions, well you know what they say, "Eat an onion a day to keep the doctor away." This doesn't mean he won't come close to you because you stink, rather you won't need to see him due to the fact onions are the almost perfect health food. Never underestimate the power of an onion, really.

Quinoa is something we are eating more and more of now as well. It's a great source of protein and plays well with others on your plate. We should all start eating a little more of these seed as it's easy to cook, you can have it on your plate in about 20 minutes and it's far healthier for you than white rice.

Little O's Menu

When we have quinoa, I always make extra because now we will sometimes add a little bit to her oatmeal. She took a little bit of time to get used to the texture, but has taken to it nicely since. She has eaten some of the curried quinoa I've made, but she puts her hand up after a couple of small spoonfuls to let us know she's done with it. This will give her that shot of protein she needs as she doesn't like to eat a lot of meat.

Quote Of The Day

"An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable to make them laugh."

~ Will Rogers (1879-1935) American cowboy, comedian, vaudeville performer and actor.

Until next time, good eating everyone.


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