Spiced Coconut & Cranberry Quinoa Pilaf

by Kiran on November 16, 2012 · 36 comments

in Sides, Thanksgiving

The world is so tiny.


And I’m here to prove it.

A few of our families and friends back home are aware (duh!) that we are currently in Los Angeles. The Husband’s friend that he’s not met for 10 years or so, texted him the other night that he and his wife are here in Los Angeles.

This is getting better, I promise.

Lo and behold, after a few exchanges, we found out that we were all the while lodging in the same hotel!!!!!

This is freaking awesome!!!!!!! Isn’t this world, so so tiny?

In two days, we went gallivanting all over Los Angeles — from Santa Monice Pier to Mullholand Drive. From a different eatery to a coffee shop — sitting around and reminiscing about our lives and Malaysia!

Oopss… they are from Malaysia and can you guess who was so excited about this fact?

Any guesses? Nope?


While I cry the mere fact that they are leaving for Malaysia today, we are so thankful that we got to spend some quality time together. Can you even imagine if we didn’t cross path and found out the fact that we stayed in the same hotel and not meet, later?


Print This Recipe Print This Recipe


  • 2.5 cups quinoa, cooked and fluffed
  • 3 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 dried red chillies, halved
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


  1. Heat a non-stick saucepan on medium. Once heated, add coconut oil.
  2. Sprinkle in some mustard seeds, dried red chillies, curry leaves and saffron. Fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Add cooked quinoa, lemon juice, cranberries, salt and coconut flakes. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.
  4. Remove from heat and add toasted raw almonds.
  5. Best served at room temperature or as a side dish — can I suggest it as a Thanksgiving stuffing? 😀


Off to be thankful for our friends and the fact that we got to spend time creating memories, together 🙂

Nothing is too minute to be thankful for. So, what are you thankful for this year?


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Comments on this entry are closed.

1 Rosa November 16, 2012 at 4:29 PM

This sweet and savory recipe is fabulous. A beautiful dish that must taste really good.



2 Kari@Loaves n Dishes November 16, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I’m thankful for a delicious new quinoa recipe!!! Of course I’m always thankful for my family & husband too.
Kari@Loaves n Dishes recently posted..GREEN BEAN and MUSHROOM CASSEROLE

3 Ashley - Baker by Nature November 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

This is such a beautifully creative dish, Kiran!
Ashley – Baker by Nature recently posted..Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash Marinara

4 Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet November 16, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Coconut and cranberries?? Now that’s inspirational! Why I have never thought of this combo is beyond me. Love this!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet recently posted..Easy Dinner Rolls

5 Ira Rodrigues November 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I like pilaf and i always make it in a simple way but today i knew a unique pilaf recipe, it really interesting recipe Kiran. I should give it a try!

6 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) November 16, 2012 at 10:22 PM

That is such a great story and a spontaneous adventure! How cool. Q: about this recipe – yellow mustard seeds or black? Or does it not matter? Looks great!
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) recently posted..Skinny Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

7 Tadka Pasta November 17, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I would put that on the Thanksgiving menu..lovely flavours and a great balance for all the not-so-light dishes 🙂
Tadka Pasta recently posted..Potato Kababs with Avocado Nuggets

8 mycookinghut November 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM

This looks like a great combo!

9 Ina gawne November 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

I love your quinoa pilaf – such wonderful flavors!
Ina gawne recently posted..SAVORY STUFFED WINTER SQUASH

10 Laura (Tutti Dolci) November 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM

What a fun story, glad you were able to connect with family! Beautiful pilaf – I’m loving the spiced coconut and cranberries!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted..pumpkin pie bars

11 Choc Chip Uru November 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I love the impulsiveness my friend 😀
And this gorgeous dish too!

Choc Chip Uru
Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Happy Birthday CG 2012!

12 Simply Life November 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

wow! it’s like it was meant to be 🙂 I LOVE this story!
Simply Life recently posted..Apple Bread {or muffins} with Caramel Glaze

13 elizabeth anderson November 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM

What a great story. It really would have been heartbreaking to find out after the fact that you were staying in the same hotel. The quinoa looks fantastic. Wondering where I can get my hands on curry leaves.

14 Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Mmm spiced coconut? Sign me up! I love your utilization of quinoa in this manner. This little grain (nut, whatever) is becoming so mainstream. People are definitely catching on to how good and healthy it is.
Viviane Bauquet Farre recently posted..Pan-fried olives with rosemary

15 chinmayie @ love food eat November 18, 2012 at 2:00 AM

Such an interesting recipe! Looks good and I am sure it’ll taste good too 🙂
chinmayie @ love food eat recently posted..‘Hannu Thuppa’, Jackfruit Honey & a little about refined white sugar.

16 tania@mykitchenstories.com.au November 18, 2012 at 4:29 AM

Thats just incredible and definitely meant to be. We often forget how lucky we are and how many times things like this happen to us. I love your Quinoa dish. I made a dish with Quinoa this week too
tania@mykitchenstories.com.au recently posted..The Bridge Room

17 Kristi Rimkus November 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

It is such a small world, isn’t it? I’m so happy you had such a wonderful time!
Kristi Rimkus recently posted..It’s Time to Prepare for the Holidays – Seafood and Asparagus Sauté

18 Kathryn November 18, 2012 at 2:31 PM

I love how life is full of these funny little coincidences!
Kathryn recently posted..ginger cake

19 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies November 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

That is so cool! It really is a small world, huh? And your pilaf is lovely! Quinoa is one of my favorite foods. 🙂

This Thanksgiving, I’m feeling sad that we couldn’t go home to spend the day with our families (we live several states away!), but thankful that we’ll be able to see them for Christmas.
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies recently posted..A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

20 Cass @foodmyfriend November 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

It’s nice to know that the world isn’t so big and scary sometimes 🙂
Cass @foodmyfriend recently posted..Flatpac Fridays: Mini Lop Rabbit Cake

21 Honey What's Cooking November 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM

wow, you just took this to a whole new level. looks amazing. very nice.. love the curry leaves and red chilli pepper in this recipe.
Honey What’s Cooking recently posted..Friday’s Favorite Things – 11.16.12

22 Mary @ Fit and Fed November 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Glad you made the connection with friends! I love the extra-special spices you have in this like saffron and curry leaves. Yours is the second recipe I’ve seen this week that calls for curry leaves. You’re nudging me to pick some up for the first time at the Asian grocery I occasionally include on my rounds. Thanks for expanding my culinary horizons!
Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Skating the Fiesta Tango

23 Raymund November 19, 2012 at 2:11 AM

Ha I had the same situation before, the first time I came here in New Zealand. I emailed my uncle and an ex-colleague in the Philippines that I would be visiting them when I came here. What I did not know is that they stay in the same house, my ex-colleague was my uncles boarder, was so surprised when I received their emails and gave me the same address.
Raymund recently posted..Sunday Roast

24 Meeta November 19, 2012 at 3:57 AM

Beautiful flavors and a lovely quick dish to prepare. Love quinoa and this would be perfect for a weekday meal!
Meeta recently posted..Honey Cinnamon Zwetschgen and Hazelnut Cream Tart

25 Julia November 19, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I love the flavor combinations in this dish! I am starting to get really into quinoa and always looking for great ways to use it and what to pair with it. I am definitely pinning this recipe (beautiful photos by the way).
Julia recently posted..Case of the Mondays? {Thanksgiving Edition}

26 Nik@A Brown Table November 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM

As always, this looks wonderful and healthy!
Nik@A Brown Table recently posted..butternut squash with ginger root and noodle broth

27 Dixya @ Food, Pleasure and Health November 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM

I am so glad you were able to catch up and meet with friends. Its a great feeling right? the quinoa looks extremely delicious there loved how you added cranberries-perfect for holidays
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure and Health recently posted..Jacques Pépin Quick Roasted Chicken

28 Katerina November 20, 2012 at 6:38 AM

The pilaf looks irresistible and it was so beautiful that you got to see your friends and that they were staying at the same hotel. I am thankful for my family and friends too Kiran!
Katerina recently posted..Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Mushrooms Salad

29 Gretchen O'Donnell November 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM

This sounds delicious! 🙂

30 Juliana November 20, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Kiran, what a lovely way to serve quinoa…like the coconut and cranberry and of course the spice touch is very welcome…looks delicious.
Have a great week 🙂
Juliana recently posted..Twice Cooked Potatoes and Happy Thanksgiving!

31 Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb November 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM

lol the world is really small, what a nice surprise!

pilaf with quinoa saunds like something new that I need to try in the future. =)
Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb recently posted..Comment on Easy Homemade Christmas Chocolates by ana cooks

32 fabiola@notjustbaked November 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

What a great way to use the cranberries. I love using salty and sweet. I hope is well and have a lovely Happy Thanksgiving!

33 Christian Rene Friborg November 22, 2012 at 2:39 AM

Ah, a recipe for pilaf. And there’s cranberries!

34 Asmita November 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

What a wonderful pilaf!
Asmita recently posted..Eggplant With Potatoes “Baigan-Aloo”

35 Nami | Just One Cookbook November 23, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Pretty and delicious looking quinoa pilaf! I have cooked regular pilaf but never tried with quinoa. YUM!
Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Hot Tofu | Yudofu 湯豆腐

36 Carolyn Chan December 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM

I love stories like this – bet you couldn’t have met up as easily if you were living in the same country !

And I love the pilaf with quinoea instead of rice – look delicious !
Carolyn Chan recently posted..Grown up Honey Joys

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