Quinoa used to be quite expensive in Jamaica and found mainly in upmarket health food stores and supermarket specialty aisles. Things have changed and it is more widely available than a decade ago when I first developed this recipe. Eggplant aka “aubergine” and carrots are available for most of the year. This recipe is a lovely side dish.
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 1 tsp Jamaican honey
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 250g tricolor or regular quinoa
- 1 large eggplant, cut into chunks
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 3 tbsps olive oil, divided
- 50g raisins
- Fat handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line a small baking tray with foil.
- In a bowl, add sliced carrots, 1 tbsp of the olive oil, red pepper flakes, mint and honey and mix to coat with your hands and place carrots on prepared baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle a little salt over the eggplant chunks and place them in a colander over a bowl to draw out the bitter taste for 15 minutes.
- Rinse and drain quinoa in cold water. Next, add 2 cups of water to a saucepan and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium low heat until the water is fully absorbed and quinoa is cooked, approximately 15 minutes.
- Pat dry eggplant pieces. Prepare a large frying pan over medium high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and add garlic, cook for one minute, then add eggplant pieces and pan fry until golden (do not be tempted to add more oil when eggplant soaks it up). Season with salt and pepper.
- Next add the cooked quinoa, roasted carrots, raisins and half the parsley and the last tbsp of olive oil and mix until combined. Garnish with remaining parsley.
Jacqui ‘JuicyChef’ Sinclair, founder of Nyam & Trod, is a British Jamaican award-winning chef, writer, and food culturist. She is a co-founder of Kingston Kitchen, an annual food event supporting food artisans. Jacqui has been an advocate of the Meatless Monday Global movement in Jamaica since 2011. Jacqui’s work has been featured in such publications as the Huffington Post, the Jamaica Observer, Saveur, The Jewish Post and numerous blogs. She has appeared on the Travel Channel’s ‘Bizarre Foods’ with Andrew Zimmern and Food & Wine’s Jamaica episode with Kwame Onwuachi.