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Crispy Thai Inspired Quinoa Cakes with Sunny Egg

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
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Why we love it:

One of my most favorite cookbooks is Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu. This dish is loosely inspired by a combination of a recipe from the book and the chicken larb I get from my local Thai restaurant. Cooking foods from countries I have never been to is one of the reasons I love cooking, but my version here is a far cry from the real thing - be sure to seek out some great Thai food and Leela’s book!


  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 112 cups Water
  • 12 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Shallot
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Serrano Chili (or Thai bird’s eye or half as much jalapeño)
  • 14 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons Sriracha
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 14 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 Lime (zest and juice, or more to taste)
  • 12 bunch Basil
  • 1 pound Green Beans
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (divided)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. QUINOA

    In a medium saucepan with a lid, combine quinoa, water and the salt. Bring to a boil and stir. Then turn down to low and cover. Steam the quinoa, without peaking, for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready to form the cakes.

  • 2. MIXTURE

    Finely mince the shallot, garlic and the chili pepper and add it to a large bowl. Add the mayo and sriracha.

    In a separate small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and fish sauce. Zest and juice the lime into the bowl.

    Add roughly 2/3 of the soy sauce mixture to the shallot/mayo mixture.

    Chiffonade most of the basil (reserve just a few leaves for garnish) and stir that in as well.

  • 3. BEANS

    Trim the stem end of the green beans. I prefer to steam my green beans in a steamer on the stove top, but you can use the microwave, another pot with about ½ an inch of water and lid, or roast them on a sheet pan at 350 until bright and tender. Use whichever method is easiest for you.

    When beans are done, set aside.

  • 4. CAKES

    Set out a clean plate. Add the cooked, hot quinoa to the bowl with the shallot and mayo. Stir well. If it’s too hot to touch, chill it in the fridge or freezer for a bit. When you can, pick up a baseball size scoop (a generous ¼ cup) and press and squeeze it together until it holds.

    Troubleshoot - if your mixture is too dry to stick, the easiest thing is to add more mayo. If it’s too wet, you can add up to a ¼ cup of breadcrumbs - or you can just move on. Over wet, as long as you can scoop it out, will turn out ok.

  • 5. FRY

    In a large sauté pan, heat ½ of the oil. When hot, add 3 - 4 patties, keeping space in between so you can flip. Let them cook for at least 3 - 4 minutes over medium-high heat. When the bottoms are dark and golden, use a spatula to flip and cook the other side. Cook another 4 minutes then remove this batch. Heat the pan again, add the remainder of the oil and cook the second batch in the same way.

    If the patties feel too wet, you don’t have to form them, just scoop ¼ cup into the pan and cook more like a pancake.

    If they fall apart a little bit, just keep going and serve the little bits too. If they fall apart and it’s a disaster - just add the quinoa to the pan and let it crisp up. Think of it more like fried rice.

  • 6. EGGS

    Use a large nonstick pan and do 2 or 4 eggs at a time depending on what works. Divide the butter up per egg. Melt it in the pan over medium-high heat, then crack in the egg. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper if you like. Let the egg sizzle until the whites are set. Cover and cook for another 1 - 3 minutes depending on how runny or not you prefer the yolk (ideally, you keep it runny to enrich the chicken while eating, but up to you!). When done, remove eggs to a plate and repeat if necessary.

  • 7. SERVING

    Plate the quinoa cakes and place a pile of beans on the side. Top each dish with an egg. Use the remaining soy sauce mixture drizzled over top as a sauce.

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    use tamari instead of soy sauce
    brown or white rice, or lentils would be nice
    honey, white sugar, omit if its a big problem for your diet
    cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar
    if you don’t eat it, look for vegan “fish” sauce, or omit and add a little bit of hoisin sauce
    any green veggie you like is nice here
  • BASIL:
    cilantro would be good
    ok to leave off
    this may just be a hit with many kids if you serve the parts separately. Perhaps leave the spicy chilis and sriracha out. If that’s not enough, serve the eggs, a scoop of quinoa and green beans separately
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