This is a salad noir. What we mean by that is, like a great film noir, it is dark, intense and utterly, absorbingly enjoyable.
Imagine, it is a cold night and you are seated at the table… Enter the protagonist, the dark and earthy mushroom. He is strange, yet familiar, comforting in his warmth, yet intense in flavour. He is drawn by the allure of the mysterious femme fatale, the spicy curry leaves. With each mouthful, you are greeted with the crunch of puffed quinoa, like bursts of surprises. After all, what will a good film noir be without drama?
The scene is set. Let’s eat.
- 6 medium to large portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 cup curry leaves, left whole of rough chopped
- 1/4 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1/3 cup quinoa, pre-washed and completely dried
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1. Heat a large saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. You do not need any oil, although you can use a thin layer to coat the base of the pan should you wish.
- 2. Once hot, pour in the quinoa and cover with a lid. Make sure you constantly shake the pan to ensure the quinoa do not stick and that they do not burn.
- 3. The seeds will start to pop like popcorn, although emitting a much gentler sound. They will also not end up looking much like popped corn so do not be tempted to increase the heat or leave the seeds on the pan for too long. Remove them once the popping begins to slow.
- 4. Pour puffed quinoa into another container and set aside for later.
- 5. While the quinoa is cooling, heat the oil in the now empty pan. Once hot, throw in the mushrooms and saute until charred but not too soft, about two minutes.
- 6. Throw in the curry leaves, salt, pepper and chili flakes and mix well. Cook for another minute or two before adding the lemon juice. Taste, adjust seasoning and remove pan from heat.
- 7. When the mushroom mixture has cooled slightly, incorporate the puffed quinoa and serve.
- 8. The End.