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Peruvian Kiwicha Salad
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Kiwicha Salad of Charred Broccoli, Figs, Pistachio & Buttermilk Dressing

A rich, nutritious salad of heirloom Kiwicha grains (a form of amaranth), with a delicious buttermilk dressing, and with honey roasted figs, charred broccoli, herbs and pistachio nuts. Kiwicha was a staple food in Peru 4000 years ago. With disease fighting properties and great health benefits, Kiwicha is the new Quinoa!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Salad
Servings: 2 portions
Author: Sujata Shukla


For the Kiwicha

  • 2.5 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Figs

  • 10 Figs Ripe
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons thyme (fresh)

For the Broccoli

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil

For the Salad

  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons oregano (fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons celery sliced
  • ¼ cup Pistachio nuts chopped

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 chilli Fresh
  • 1 teaspoon salt Black , or to taste
  • to taste pepper


  • The cooking time given in this recipe is based on the figs and broccoli being roasted at the same time that the kiwicha is being cooked. I made the dressing first, then preheated the oven and set the kiwicha to cook, while I arranged the figs and broccoli for roasting. You could do these one after the other, with cooking time adjusted suitably. The roasting takes about 20 minutes, the kiwicha takes 20-25 minutes to cook. The dressing takes just 5 minutes to prepare.

To cook the kiwicha:

  • Wash and drain the kiwicha, as you wold wash lentils or rice. I used a strainer with the tiniest pores available, as the kiwicha grains are barely larger than poppy seeds. Thin cloth may even be a better option!
  • Set a pan on the stove and add the drained kiwicha.
  • Add water - about 2 cups to one cup of kiwicha. More water may be added later if required, rather than risk the kiwicha becoming mushy with too much water. If making kiwicha to a porridge like consistency, upto 3 cups of water may be added to 1 cup of the grain.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the flame to low. Add a little salt ( I added ½ teaspoon). Stir.
  • Cover and let it simmer on slow heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently as the kiwicha may 'catch' at the bottom of the pan. If all the water is absorbed, add upto half a cup more, about a tablespoon full each time.
  • After 20-25 minutes, or when all the water is absorbed and the kiwicha is cooked, take it off the stove, cover and set aside to cool.

To prepare the figs and the broccoli:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.
  • Wash the figs and broccoli. Slice the tops and stem ends off the figs, slice into halves or quarters. Separate the broccoli into bite size florets.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar and honey on the figs and spread them, cut side down, on one half of a baking tray.
  • Mix a little salt and pepper in olive oil and sprinkle the oil on the broccoli. Set the florets on the other half of the baking tray.
  • Roast for about 20 mintues, checking to see if the broccoli is charred at least on one side.
  • Remove from the oven, transfer immediately to a bowl so the figs and broccoli do not continue to cook in the heat of the tray.

To make the dressing:

  • Whisk together the buttermilk, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, zest, a pinch of pepper and black salt to taste. Black salt gives its unique flavour to the buttermilk, but you could substitute with regular table salt instead.
  • Keeping the stem and top intact, slice the chilli lenghtwise, remove the white pith and seeds, unless you want to retain the heat.
  • Add the chilli to the buttermilk mixture.
  • Set the dressing in the fridge to chill. Bon appetit's recipe says that the dressing may be made upto 5 days in advance, but with the warm Indian climate, I thougth it better to make it just half an hour before the salad was to be served.

To prepare the remaining ingredients:

  • Slice the pistachios and set aside.
  • Wash and dry the oregano and parsley. ( I used a salad spinner, but the herbs may be dried with kitchen paper instead).
  • Separate the leaves from the stalks, and chop coarsely.
  • Slice the celery stalk into thin rounds.

To assemble the salad:

  • In separate serving bowls, add a portion of the cooked kiwicha and 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk dressing.
  • Mix the dressing into the kiwicha.
  • Add some of the roasted figs, charred broccoli and celery, half the chopped herbs and pistachios.
  • Serve with pita bread or other flatbread.