Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Quinoa Pilaf

 Published 2010-Aug-17   Updated 2020-Jun-26

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Quinoa Kichadi, Quinoa Upma, Indian Quinoa Pulav)

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Quinoa is an edible seed which is used in cooking like grains. It is said to be a source of 'complete protein'. Due to all its nutritional values, it is said to be the mother grain and is a very good option for vegetarians.

For cooking, quinoa can be used very much like rice or as its substitute. Hence all the commonly made recipes with rice can also be made with quinoa. Some of the dishes that can be made are lemon quinoa, tomato quinoa, coconut quinoa, quinoa pulav, quinoa upma etc. You can also make salads and soups with it. Here is a spicy quinoa recipe shared by my blogger friend Jen

Today I am going to share the recipe of an Indian style quinoa pilaf. You could also name it quinoa upma or quinoa kichadi.

Recipe For Quinoa Pilaf

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4


  • Quinoa - 1 cup
  • Sliced/Crushed Almonds - 1/2 cup
  • Onion - 1/4 (finely chopped)
  • Tomato - 1 (chopped)
  • Green Chillies - 2-3 (chopped)
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry Leaves - 1 spring
  • Coconut milk diluted with water - 2 cups
  • Lemon Juice - 2 tblsp
  • Cilantro - handful (finely chopped)
  • Oil - 2 tblsp
  • Salt - as needed


  1. Wash the quinoa thoroughly a couple of times and drain the water.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts crackling, add the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  4. Add the chopped onions, green chillies and turmeric powder. Fry for few minutes.
  5. Next add the chopped tomato and cook till it turns mushy.
  6. Add the coconut milk-water mixture, garam masala and required salt. Bring this to a boil.
  7. Add the quinoa and lemon juice. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Reduce the flame to medium low, cover with a lid and let it cook for 15 minutes till all the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa.
  9. Switch off the stove and add the crushed almonds and finely chopped cilantro.
  10. Gently fluff up with a fork, cover it and let it rest for another 5 minutes.
  11. Tasty and healthy quinoa pilaf is ready to be served as breakfast, lunch or dinner.


  • You can also add vegetables of your choice after adding the tomato to make it more healthy. Some of the vegetables that taste very good with quinoa are capsicum, carrots, green peas, potatoes and broccoli. In the above picture I've added capsicum.
  • You could also use only water instead of coconut milk.

More Quinoa Recipes

Multi Grain Adai Whole Grain Adai Quinoa Soup Quinoa Soup    
See more ⟩⟩

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Comments (35)

Person   ()
Quina in Telugu
Person   ()
This is not a native grain of India. So it doesn't have Telugu name.
Person   ()
Quick and healthy recipes.Thanks for sharing. I too have created some from <a href= "">Quinoa</a>. For more recipes
Person   ()
Thank you.
Person   ()
Best recipe with the best site.
Person   ()
Thank you so much Pranita.
Person   ()
Is quinoa same as Dalia in Hindi
Person   ()
It is not.. thu tho bilkul waste hai sushmita.
Person   ()
No. Dalia is broken wheat. Quinoa is a seed and it is not a native of India.
Person   ()
Sakai, varagu, sina cholas.. All may be belonging to the same family. But quinoa is a grain which has no stickiness . It is a little different.
Person   ()
in tamil it is called samai conformed ...........puravukku poduvadhu
Person   ()
No. Quinoa is a seed which is entering the Indian markets only recently. Samai is called 'Little Millet'.
Person   ()
quinoa is a seed. not native to india so there is no translation. it is available in mumbai in any nature's basket in bandra west. the closest we have in india is rajgira ( like the chikki). but its still different.
Person   ()
what is it called in telugu.......where can i find in delhi....??also want to know the hindi name of it....plzzz
Person   ()
Tamil name for quinoa is varagu.
Person   ()
Umm my mom said that it looks like
"Bhajar bhang" something eaten on fasting days in india
Person   ()
hi, i want stores in mumbai where i can buy quinoa. please help.
Person   ()
I think quinoa is not a seed .it is a grain
Person   ()
Hi, Quinoa is a seed. You can find more details here.
Person   ()
Hi Vishu, I do not know of a particular store or distributor of Quinoa in Mumbai. I will surely try to get some information and let you know.
Person   ()
Hi Vishu, Here is a quinoa distributor , Wanitha Ashok from Banglore. Her email id is Do mail her and get the details.
Person   ()
Dear Sir,
Can U tell me the name of Quinoa in tamil So that I can buy and start using it in my meal?
Person   ()
Hi, There is no tamil name for quinoa. It is not easily available in India. You have to get it from some distributors.
Person   ()
Quinoa is known as 'thinai' in Tamil. It is available in all 'naattu marundu shop'. Thanks kamala
Person   ()
hi kamala, thinai is foxtail millet. Quinoa is not thinai.
Person   ()
Hello Dahlia,
Can you please provide me with the store address where i can find Quinoa in bulk in Mumbai or around?
I have been looking for it since quite some time now, but been unsuccessful.
Your help would be much appreciated.
Thank You!
Person   ()
Quinoa is available in India. Shop online for quinoa at
Person   ()
i got it from costco..
Person   ()
is it chapa arisi in malayalam. looks like that
Person   ()
Hi Raji, I'm not sure what chapa arisi is. Quinoa is a seed and is said to be a complete protein. Hence it is a very good protein source for vegetarians. Nowadays it is available in India through some distributors.
Person   ()
What is the Hindi name of Quinoa? No general store knows about Quinoa.
Person   ()
Hi Varun, I dont think there is a hindi name for Quinoa since it is not very commonly available in India. You can buy it online or through some distributors.
Person   ()
It is called sabu dana.
Person   ()
Sabudhana is called Tapioca Pearls or Sago. Quinoa is different
Person   ()
nope...its not sabu sana!!! its not s product of India and is found only in south america. You can find it in stores where there are imported eating poducts. It looks close to indian grain bajri.

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Old Comments

Comment by mahendra raju SV
           Quinoa is called as Chinna Solam or Vellai Solam in tamil
Reply :-
           Hi Mahendra, Vellai Solam is Jowar or Sorghum. Quinoa is different. Jowar is a grain whereas quinoa is a seed.

Comment by Surya Kodi
        Tamil name for quinoa is varagu. It is rich in protein.
Reply :-
         Oh is it?

Comment by Leah Joseph
         Wow I really enjoyed this dish so easy to make.
Reply :-
         Yes. Easy and tasty.

Comment by Padma Raman
        Quinoa is THINAI in Tamil. It is oldest grain and all Tamil people knOw it has existed for
30,000 years ago. It is served in Lord Murugan temples as quinoa flour with honey. (Thenum Thinai maavum).
Reply :-
        Hi Padma, Thinai is called 'Foxtail Millet'. Here are some details
        Quinoa looks similar but is different.

Comment by Namagiri Sridhar
          Hi chef
          Can I know why you are adding lemon juice along with quinoa instead of at the end?
Reply :-
         Hi Namagiri, You can add the lemon juice at the end too. I just add it along with the quinoa so that the dish gets a more intense lemony flavour. 

Comment by Chulani Yasaratne
          I am an IT teacher with a government school in Australia. A Team of 4 students is preparing a website on "Cultural food" to submit to a competition. 

Could they please have permission to use a few recipes from your site?

Thank you in advance for your prompt reply.
Reply :-
         Hi Chulani,
         You can use the recipes from the website. I'll be happy if you can provide the link to my website as a reference. All the best for your competition.

Reply :- 
      Hi Chef, I'm not sure.

Comment by Anju Nair
            Please tell me the Hindi name for Quinoa seeds.
Reply :-
           Hi Anju, I dont think there is a tamil or hindi name for Quinoa since it is not very common in India. You can buy it online or through some distributors.

Comment by Smiesline Selvam

        I like all your recipes. I tried red velvet cake. really delicious. thanks a lot for all your recipes. May God bless u always. i want to try this recipe. what is quinoa? where can i get that in Malaysia? please do reply. thanks a lot.
Reply :-
       Hi Smieline, Nice to know that you liked the red velvet cake. Thank you for your blessings.
       About Quinoa, it is an edible seed gaining popularity these days in many countries. It is used as an healthy alternative for rice as it is loaded with nutrition. You can find more details about Quinoa here

Comment by bupe sharon nalungwe
          Hi!this is bupe from zambia.
thanks for such delicious looking recipies.i like indian food and snacks.hope i can learn a few.will try out this quinoa recipe.thanks!
Reply :-           
          Hi Bupe. Glad to hear from you. Do try the quinoa pilaf and the other recipes. Give your comments and dont hesitate to ask any doubts you might have.

Comment by Karthika devaraj
I am very health & diet conscious. The recepies made of Quinoa is looks excellent and mouth watering & tangy.
I like to prepare the dish...
May I know where we get Quinoa in chennai and Coimbatore?
Reply :-
           Hi Karthika, I'm not able to help you with the exact places where quinoa may be available in india. Please do check in all the major grocery stores. There are also a few distributors of quinoa in india. Just google up, you may find some.

Comment by Gautam FromIndia
First thanks for the recipe. May I know where can we buy/get quinoa in India. Can you name few store names?
Thank You.
Reply :-
           Hi Gautam, Nowadays Quinoa is available in India but may not be very common. You might want to keep looking in major groceries.

Comment by suma ys
           Hi...I tried quinao pilaf today and it came out very very tasty.I added lots of veggies too.Thanks for a healthy and tasty recipe.
Reply :-
          Good Good.... I also like to add whatever veggies I have on hand.

Comment by Padmaja Sudhakar
           Great recipe. You can also make soups from Quinoa and also use it to make Dosa.
I am wondering if Quinoa is the same as our Indian KAMBU?
Reply :-
          Hi Padmaja, Thanks. Quinoa is similar to Kambu but its not the same. I'll soon try quinoa soup and quinoa dosa too.

Comment by Parimala Akkayasamy
what is quinoa called in Tamil or hindi??
Reply :-
          Hi Parimala, I dont think there is a tamil or hindi name for Quinoa since it is not very commonly available in India. It is very similar to some of the millet varieties that we get in India like thinai and kambu.

 Published by on and last updated on 2020-06-26.