Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fresh Mango and "Sticky" Quinoa

Allow me to express how much I love mango.  I have many fond childhood memories of my mother coming home from work during the Summer with a bag of beautifully ripe mangoes in tow.  She would deftly cut around the large seed, score the two outer thirds, and present them to my brother, sister, and I.  Our hands would be sticky, our upper lips mustached with orange pulp, and our smiles rife with the fibers as we enjoyed mango after mango until we were stuffed.  My mother saved the middle part with the seed, or the buto as we called it in Tagalog, for herself, unwrapping the sliver of skin around it like a delectable gift and then chewing the more tart flesh around the seed with closed-eyed contentment.

While I enjoy mangoes baked into quick breads, whipped into a mousse, or pureed into a nectar served over ice, nostalgia dictates that mangoes stir my tastebuds most when they are served just as they are.  A nod to sticky rice and mango, the rich, gently sweet creaminess of the quinoa in this dish provides a beautiful canvas for the mango to shine: both lovely on their own, but together creating a sum much greater than its parts.

Sticky Coconut Quinoa with Goji Berries & Fresh Mango
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time:  5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:  at least 4 hours (for soaking)
Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Yield:  about 3 cups

1 c dry quinoa (+ 3 c filtered water for soaking)
1 1/2 c filtered water (for cooking)

2 tablespoons dried goji berries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 c coconut sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 c coconut milk

fresh, chilled mango

What you'll need:  large mason jar, fine mesh sieve, large saucepan

1.  Combine quinoa and water for soaking in mason jar.  I also find it helpful to add a half teaspoon of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.  At least 4 hours is good, but you can also allow this to go as long as overnight.
2.  When ready to cook, skim any foam that has accumulated at the top, drain quinoa thoroughly, and then rinse and drain one more time.  The quinoa will have roughly doubled in size and depending on how long you have soaked the seeds, they may have started to sprout.
3.  Combine soaked quinoa with water for cooking in saucepan.  Bring to a low boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer and cover. 
4.  When quinoa has absorbed nearly all the liquid (you'll notice much less steam), uncover and stir. 
5.  Raise heat to medium-low and add goji berries, salt, coconut sugar, and lemon juice.  
6.  When the quinoa starts to take on a sticky texture and begins to almost clump, add coconut milk a tablespoon at a time, stirring to incorporate it, and once it is absorbed, adding another tablespoon, and so on.  If you want a looser consistency, more coconut milk may be added, and vice versa.  Risotto makers, you will find this step quite familiar.
7.  Can be served immediately or allowed to cool.  Serve topped with fresh mango.

Tiny bubbles...

Just below the surface.

Goji berries for color, flavor, and health.

The quinoa embracing the coconut milk.

As the days stretch well into the night and the Summer heat takes off its shoes to stay a while, I hope you will enjoy this recipe to help you take advantage of the bounty of mangoes, whether they be Atualfo, Atkin, Kent, or Alphonso, now beautifully in season.

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