leftover turkey quinoa biryani

leftover turkey quinoa biryani | A Brown Table

A couple of fun things happened this week besides, Thanksgiving and all the pies I ate. This interview I did with the folks at Blikki Magazine  and some tips on food photography and Instagram that I shared at The Kitchn. Do check them out when you can.

How was your Thanksgiving? I hope you got to eat plenty but more importantly had a fun time with your loved ones. My Thanksgiving on the other hand was an odd one this year, it was rather warm and sunny, something that I am not accustomed to. Back on the East coast, I've lived through more "white Thanksgivings" than "white Christmases" that I can remember (I swear it always seems to snow more during Thanksgiving than Christmas), spending one in shorts outdoors this year made me feel a little out of place. 

leftover turkey quinoa biryani | A Brown Table

One of the many things that I look forward to every Thanksgiving, is the leftovers. You can do some serious fun stuff with leftovers that I feel I've been handed a free license to experiment in the kitchen. I usually don't play around with the desserts too much but whatever's left of the sides generally gets a makeover. After eating the same thing day after day in one week, you get fed up pretty fast and to avoid the monotony, I'll play around with the leftovers. If you've eaten at an Indian restaurant or if you cook Indian food at home, you'll probably see biryani on the menu. Biryani is similar to a rice pilaf layered with cooked pieces of marinated spiced pieces of meat but it does require some time to prepare. I've taken a few liberties in this quinoa based version. Not only is my quinoa version of the biryani less time consuming but it's also one flavorful way to eat up those leftovers. 

leftover turkey quinoa biryani | A Brown Tableleftover turkey quinoa biryani | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dish.

  • Wash the heck out of the quinoa to get rid of the nasty bitter tasting saponin. I rub the seeds with my fingers giving them a good scrub under running tap water. I used the tricolored quinoa variety but you can use any type of quinoa.
  • You can easily make this entire dish vegan/vegetarian by using vegetable stock to cook the quinoa. Substitute the turkey with the same amount of mixed frozen vegetables (peas, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc) or cubed pieces of extra-firm tofu or bean sprouts. If you make it vegan, skip the boiled eggs too. 
  • I've listed the cardamom and cinnamon as optional but if you have them on hand use them, they will make this dish extra flavorful and tasty. 
  • You could also serve this dish as a one-bowl meal by itself. 
leftover turkey quinoa biryani | A Brown Table

leftover turkey quinoa biryani

yields: 4 servings 


2 cups quinoa (regular or tricolored, I've used tricolored)

4 cups low-sodium chicken/turkey/vegetable stock)

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher sea salt 

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

1 - 11/2 cups red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups shredded turkey (chicken or tofu or mixed vegetables*)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

1/2 teaspoon garam masala 

1/2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated

1/2 teaspoon garlic, freshly grated

1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional) or 1 one inch piece cinnamon stick

1/2 cup plain unsweetened yogurt 

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, freshly chopped 

2 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled and quartered 

1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a large strainer under running tap water for about four, 30 second intervals or until the water is completely clear. During rinsing, rub the quinoa seeds to get rid of the bitter saponin coating. Bring the stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan to a boil on medium-high flame. Add the quinoa to the boiling stock and bring back to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat to a medium-low and allow to cook until the quinoa has turned transparent and is completely tender. Open lid and fluff with a fork, placed lid back and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before using.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high flame. Add the onions and stir to coat with the oil, cook the onions for about 3-4 minutes or until they start to brown. Stir the onions to prevent burning. Remove  and transfer the onions from the pan, keep aside until ready to use. 

3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the turkey, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon, rest of the salt, along with half of the cooked onions. 

4. Heat the rest of the oil on medium-high heat, in the same saucepan that the onions were cooked in. Add the turkey-yogurt mixture to the hot oil and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and fold in the cooked quinoa prepared earlier. Transfer the contents to a serving platter, garnish with the reserved cooked onions, cilantro and eggs. Drizzle the lemon juice over the quinoa and serve warm. 

sweet potato pie babka

Sweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown Table

It's no secret that I LOVE sweet potatoes (I even affectionally refer to Snoopy as one)! Every year at this time, I look forward to sweet potato pie. I eat one before the week of Thanksgiving, one during the week of and another one after. This is my holiday ritual which should have begun last week but we hit a snag when I went to the bakery at our local grocery store to look for one. (Now, I would have made myself one but it was midweek and I was too tired from work to whip one up). So there I was at the store hunting among a thousand pumpkin and pecan pies for the glorious sight of one that would have the words "sweet potato pie" inscribed. Nothing, seriously nothing except for one miserable and overly sugary, frozen pie! I got the pie and picked up several pounds of sweet potatoes so this wouldn't happen again. I made a pie and then some babka!

Sweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown Table

There was a lot of inspiration for this babka. It started with Michelle's gorgeous salted chocolate and pumpkin babka that in turn was inspired by Yottam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem. My version is adapted from the basic recipe in The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book which I modified. This is another great book to learn to bake from, there's science and technique which make it one of my favorites.

Sweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown Table

If you're looking for a fun holiday breakfast treat or for that matter an anytime breakfast bread, this babka does it! Not only does it encase swirls of sweet potato and nutmeg but it also has sweet potato infused into the dough which gives it a lovely bright yellow color. Plus, now I can eat sweet potato pie for breakfast and dessert, so it's a win all the way. 

Sweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this babka;

  • I make my own sweet potato purée by oven roasting about 1 lb of sweet potatoes (with the skin) at 350F on a baking sheet for about 35-40 minutes until it is completely tender in the center and a knife can pass through easily. I then let them cool completely, this will allow the skin to shrink and it will peel off easily. I think chop the pulp and blend it using an immersion blender or food processor until silky smooth. 
  • When using an immersion blender or weighing ingredients, I love to use those plastic containers that you get with takeout meals. Save them the next time, it's a great way to reuse.
  • Use fresh nutmeg, it makes a huge difference. Add a little more if you like more flavor.
  • Instead of adding all the flour at once, I found that adding a little bit towards the short kneading stage helps to bring the dough together and gets rid of the stickiness.
  • You can use any dry mix of spices that you like to flavor your sweet potato pie with. I like to add ginger or 5-spice mix.
  • With regards to the folding and getting those layers in the babka. Roll the dough out as thin as possible. I used the method used to make Krantz by cutting through the cylinder of dough and then braiding, it like Michelle suggested. 
  • Egg white and almond flour help to bind and stick the sweet potato filling to the dough. And I didn't get any almond taste that took away from the sweet potato pie filling. 
Sweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown TableSweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown Table
Sweet Potato Pie Babka | A Brown Table

sweet potato pie babka

yields: enough for two 9X5 inch loafs


2 cups sweet potato purée (see tips above on how to prepare)

1 large egg yolk + 2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) brown sugar + 1/4 (1 3/4 ounces) cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

3 1/2 cups (15 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour + a little extra for dusting

1/2 cup whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cubed 

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

a little neutral vegetable oil (an oil spray will work well here)

1 tablespoon water

1. Take one cup of the sweet potato purée in a medium bowl. Add the white of one egg, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond flour and salt. Blend all the ingredients together using an immersion blender (alternatively, transfer all of this into a blender and purée until silky smooth). Keep refrigerated until ready to use. 

2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk 2 egg yolks, the remaining 1 cup of sweet potato purée, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and milk, until completely combined. Keep aside.

3. Add 3 cups of the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, and yeast to the bowl of stand mixer. Dry whisk until mixed. Attach the dough blade to the mix and set the mixer to low speed. Pour the milk-sweet potato liquid into the dry ingredients and mix for about 3-4 minutes until almost combined. Stop and add the cubed butter, a little bit at a time until completely incorporated. The dough will start to come off from the sides and will be sticky. Transfer the dough onto a clean lightly dusted surface. 

4. Using the remaining 1/2 cup of flour bring the dough together to form one large ball. Place the dough in a large clean bowl that is lightly greased with a little neutral tasting vegetable oil. Brush the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a cling film and allow to rise and double in volume for 1 hour in pre-warmed oven (preheat the oven to 200F for 5 minutes, then switch it off). After 1 hour remove the bowl from the oven and allow to rise at room temperature for another hour. 

3. Transfer the dough back onto a clean surface. Divide the dough in half and work with one half at a timeShape one half of the dough into a rectangle with your hands and then using very little extra flour roll it out into a thin rectangle that is approximately 14 X 20 inches in area.  

4. Take 1/2 of the sweet potato filling and reserve the second half for the second loaf. Spread 3/4 of this filling prepared in step 1 in a smooth layer with a spatula. Sprinkle half of the nutmeg over the sweet potato layer. Then starting from the shorter side of the rectangle, roll the dough into a cylinder. Pinch to seal the ends and shape the cylinder with your hands. Spread the remaining amount of filling over the top surface of the cylinder. Then fold it over in half and seal the ends again by pinching the seams. With a sharp serrated knife cut through the length of the cylinder and divide in half. Then braid the two strips of dough with each other to form a double figure 8 shape. Place it in a well greased loaf 9X5 loaf tin. Wrap the tin loosely with cling film and allow it to rise in a pre-warmed oven for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second half of the dough to prepare the second loaf. 

3. Prepare the egg wash by lightly whisking the whole egg with the water.  Brush the surface of each loaf with the egg wash and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar over each loaf. 

4. Bake each loaf in the center of an oven preheated to 350F for about 45 minutes or until the surface is golden brown (the sugar will caramelize and give a lovely crust) and the internal temperature reaches 190F. Remove from oven and allow the loaves to cool in the pan placed on a wire rack completely before serving. 

savory sweet potato quinoa muffins

Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

With only a few days left to the start of the holiday weekend, I should have the usual dishes that  are the staple of the Thanksgiving dinner but oddly enough, I have breakfast on my mind. But why not, breakfast needs a little love too during this special time and I have it all sorted out for you. 

I'm more of a savory breakfast type of guy and a huge fan of any baked good or pastry that might have some savory component to it. These quinoa flour muffins are easy to make, they're loaded with sweet potatoes and cheese packed with a hint of bright turmeric and seasoned with a little dash of garam masala. Slap a warm muffin with a little salted butter and I'd say you're good to go this week. I was tempted to add a little onion or garlic to these guys but that could be tricky way to start the day with all those potential fiery breath issues! 

Happy weekend!

Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table @abrowntable
Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntableSavory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

 Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find helpful when preparing these muffins,

  • You can make you own muffin cup holders using regular parchment paper. Cut out twelve 6 inch squares of parchment paper (for a standard 12 cup muffin pan) and place each square in the center of the muffin pan. Using your hands, press the paper down in the center of the muffin well to create a cup. When you fill the cups with the batter make sure the paper cup sinks and touches the metal pan
  • You could play around with the type of cheese, parmesan or gruyere might also work here.
  • Once the batter is completely mixed, move quickly and get the muffin pan filled up and in the oven. 
  • You can bump the heat up in these muffins by adding a little more freshly chopped green or red thai chili peppers. 
Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

Here are some fun links that, I've been thinking about all week. Some Thanksgiving themed and others just simply delicious!

Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

savory sweet potato quinoa muffins

yields: one dozen standard muffins


3 large eggs

1 packed cup (4 ounces) of shredded sweet potato, raw

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup (4 5/8 ounces) quinoa flour 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt, lightly whipped

2 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted

1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F.  Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with parchment paper or muffin cups. 

2. Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk for about 4-5 minutes using an electric mixer on high speed until they have almost doubled in volume. 

3. In a small bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and cheddar together and keep aside.

4. In a medium sized bowl add all the ingredients from the quinoa flour to the baking soda and dry whisk until combined. 

5. Add half of the flour mix to the eggs and whisk by hand, until almost combined. Add the yogurt and the melted butter and whisk by hand for one minute, then add the rest of the flour mix and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the sweet potato and half of the cheddar with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. 

6. Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cup holders in the prepared pan. Top each of the muffins with the rest of the cheddar (divide the cheddar up equally between the 12 muffins) Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through during baking. The muffins are cooked when the tops are golden brown and the centers have risen and firm and spongy to touch. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Serve warm with butter.