23 July, 2013

Thai Coconut Quinoa

The third week of my marathon training is just completed and everything is going according to plan. Last week I ran a total mileage of 78k/48mi with just one rest day. That was the most I have ever run in a week. What's even better is the fact, that I seem to be coping well. I found a good balance between hard workout and easy days. I think I eat and eat sufficiently now to ensure speedy recovery between my runs. I feel fresh and am ready to take on the fourth week with a total mileage of 85k/53mi. It includes a 29k/18mi long run.

If I get this done, my reward will be a "rest" week with just 65k/40mi next week. It's fitting in well, as I'll be spending two days on aeroplanes. On Wednesday, we'll be flying to Hamburg, and on Saturday move on to Lisbon. I look forward to Europe. It's my home, it's where I feel I belong culturally. I look forward to real green trees, street cafes and restaurants where you can sit and watch people walking by. All things that are rare or non-existent in Dubai.

It's about time to escape the scorching summer heat. It's almost impossible to spend anytime outside during the day, unless you are inside a cooled swimming pool. I do most of my runs on an air-conditioned indoor track which is only 650m long. It seems crazy to run in such short circles, but it's the only chance I have to get a 20+k run in without dying. I manage easy 10k runs outside at early morning hours or after sunset. Anything beyond that would be irresponsible. My 29k run will be around 45 laps on this indoor track. I gotta rely on my Garmin for the distance, as I can assure you that I will loose count  after about four or five laps.

As in previous years, I have deviated a little from my usual nutritional restrictions. In order to meet my carb needs, I have included some grains back into my diet. They fill me up when my stomach feels like a bucket with a hole, they help me recover and they get me ready for my next run.

Today's recipe is as good with quinoa as it is with brown rice. Rich and aromatic, with zingy and earthy flavors and different textures. Good on its own or as a side dish. I hope you enjoy.


(Print Recipe)

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 1/2 cups boiling water (divided)
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1 green chili (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, tightly packed
1 2cm/1-inch piece fresh ginger
1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup cashew nuts, halved
1 7cm/3inch piece cinnamon
3 whole cloves
6 whole peppercorns

1/4 cup frozen or thawed green peas
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
cilantro leaves to garnish

Serves 2 as main, 4 as side dish
Pour 3/4 cup of boiling water over the desiccated coconut and let stand for a few minutes.
Place coconut mixture, cilantro, ginger, garlic and chili in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
In a medium pan heat the oil over medium heat. Add cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and cashew halves and fry for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add sliced onions and fry until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in quinoa and cook for another couple of minutes. Add coconut mixture and cook for another few minutes.
Now add peas, salt and remaining 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir gently, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low heat until all liquid has absorbed and quinoa is al dente, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the piece of cinnamon. Sprinkle over the lime juice. Stir in chopped cilantro leaves. Gently fork through the quinoa. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.


  1. Anja, gosh you are training so hard again...and for a little person you are as tough as nails. I wish I had your determination. Nice to read that you are going to Europe for the summer again. Enjoy the break the training and of course the food.

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  3. I've been lurking around here for a while now and thought it about time I said hi. I love reading about your training and prep - I try to do a couple of half marathons a year but eating right is so important so I really enjoy your recipes. Have a lovely European summer.

    1. Thanks Nancy. I am glad to hear that there are people out there as crazy about running and nutrition as me. Hope your half marathons go well. Which ones are you doing?

  4. This dish looks amazing. Both tasty looking and healthy, definitively i am going to add it to my recipes book. I have been trying to find Quinoa based recipes to incorporate into my diet ever since i have read about its health benefits and this dish definitively makes it easier to do so.

  5. On the stove... smells amazing... with alterations, I've realized it's often Anja inspired meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this household (just because you are the first person to make me realize I could store banana into my morning oatmeal!)

  6. It looks delicious...Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I am going to try this one