• Yield: Serves 4

A quick and easy biryani recipe made with quinoa. This healthy gluten-free cereal cooks fast and has a chewy yet fluffy texture. It is a good substitute for rice or even couscous. It is important to rinse the quinoa very well before cooking to remove the natural coating, which has a slightly bitter taste.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled

  • Salt to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, and garlic and sauté until the onions are golden. Add the pumpkin, cayenne pepper, and quinoa with half the pistachios and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of hot water with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally until the quinoa is tender, the pumpkin is cooked, and all the moisture is absorbed.

Serve hot, garnished with remaining pistachios and parsley.

Excerpted from Indian Harvest. Text and recipes copyright © Vikas Khanna 2015. Photographs copyright © Vikas Khanna and Michael Swamy 2015. Published by Bloomsbury USA, reprinted with permission.

Vikas Khanna
Vikas Khanna is a chef, restaurateur, food writer, filmmaker and host of the TV show "MasterChef India." He is the author of several cookbooks, including Flavors First: An Indian Chef's Culinary Journey. He is the founder of Cooking for Life and SAKIV organizations, which host events in support of relief efforts and awareness issues. Khanna has received several awards, including the Access to Freedom Award from SATH and The Shining Star Award from Just One Break, Inc. The documentary series "Holy Kitchens" was based on his journey to discover the spiritual foods that create shared identity.