If you are new to the world of Quinoa then you will need to know how to cook it properly, and more importantly prepare it so that it doesn’t taste terrible.
Preparing the quinoa grain is very straight forward; you simply wash it thoroughly and then rinse it several times. The object of what you are doing is to remove the outer waxy coating that the untreated grain has around it, this is called ‘saponin’, if this is left on for cooking your dish will taste bitter. Normal water is all that is needed; there are no special instructions for this stage, only to make sure there is no coating left afterward.
Just a little background information on quinoa, it actually originates from the Andes area of South America and was heavily consumed by the Incas, the correct pronunciation is ‘keen-wa’, and it is believed they worshipped it as a sacred food. It is actually understandable when you realise just how nutrient rich it is. It contains 9 of the most important amino acids which is higher than wheat, yet it remains as a gluten-free food unlike wheat! Many of the native Incas also ate its leaves, but most people today only eat it as a grain form, or seed, which is very easy to cook. Knowing how to prepare and how to cook quinoa properly is the trick to getting the best out of quinoa.
Quinoa is fast becoming the food of choice and is appearing on more supermarket shelves than at any time before. It used to be very difficult to find and you’d probably have to go to one of those special health shops that cost the earth to get it, but thankfully quinoa is accessible almost everywhere and is very reasonably priced. It is now very popular in Canada, United States, and Europe but you may find that if you are somewhere else in the world it may still be quite unheard of and would still have to seek out one of those speciality health stores or organic shops.
Most supermarkets stock the ‘ready processed’ or pre-washed and rinsed grain, but there still might be a few that only stock the natural untreated packets, if this is the case then you will need to follow the preparation notes at the beginning of this article.
Once the preparation is complete (if that is necessary), then another little trick is to leave the grain soaked in water overnight, this then softens the rice slightly and actually makes it better for cooking, you can even try adding a little salt or stock cubes if you prefer to add a little flavour, either work very well.
Cooking quinoa is very similar to the way you prepare normal rice, in as much that you simply boil it in water. Place the prepared and soaked rice in a saucepan and pour over 2 cups of water, bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for approx. 15 minutes. This time can vary depending on how you like your finished quinoa, a little less and you will have a firmer texture, a little while longer will give you softer and fluffier rice.
You can use quinoa in very much the same sorts of dishes as normal rice, there really isn’t much difference to be honest, it just tastes a little different. Quinoa has a nutty flavour to it, so is ideal for breakfast meals. There are many ideas around for quinoa breakfast recipes, and one of my favourites is making a quinoa porridge with almonds…mmmmm!
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Almost any other foods can be added to quinoa the same as a rice dish, vegetables, sauces, seasonings or meats, even fruits! It really is a very versatile staple food and adding these other ingredients won’t make too much of an impact on the overall taste of the grain, so you can experiment to your heart’s content.
You can even bake cakes with quinoa flour that you can also get from the supermarket, scones and cookies are also incredible. If you would like to try this then you must also combine it with another ingredient to make it into a good baking mixture, I would recommend tapioca starch or sorghum flour. The mix ratio that is recommended is 2 parts of each quinoa flour and sorghum flour, and only 1 part tapioca starch to 2 parts quinoa flour.
You can see why this has been named the new super food, it really is an absolute all-rounder with an added kick…it is one of the most nutritious foods in the world!
So now you know how to cook quinoa properly, and there are many quinoa recipes around for you to try your hand at, so cooking quinoa for any mealtime doesn’t have to be boring like many other healthy food types.
I have always been a fitness enthusiast and found it difficult to diet properly; until I finally discovered quinoa rice and the incredible nutritional value it has. Now I find it easy to stick with my diet, so I have put together many delicious quinoa recipes for you to try out for yourselves on my website. There is a wealth of other information on cooking quinoa that you will find very interesting.
Quinoa mix, Du Puy Lentils, Dandelion Tea Bags - Oasis Bakery
Image by avlxyz Quinoa tri-colour 500g mix AUD8.99 Du Puy Lentils 500g AUD5.99 Clipper Organic Dandelion Infusion 20 tea bags AUD4.50 Espresso Chocolate, Sea Salt Butter Caramel Macarons Macaron de Paris AUD2.80 each Oasis Bakery - Bakery, Groceries, Cafe, Catering (03) 9570 1122 Unit 9, 993 North Rd Murrumbeena VIC 3163 oasisbakery.com.au/ Monday - Sunday 8am - 7pm Update 2010.11.10: the lentils make a great Du Puy Lentil and Ham Soup! the quinoa mix has a pleasant nutty-sesame flavour when cooked. great when cooked with rice as well.
Vegan Chcoolate Quinoa Pudding
Image by Amarand Agasi Here's my recipe for Vegan Chocolate Quinoa Pudding: 2 cups boiling water 1 cup organic quinoa 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips 1 cup soy milk Follow package directions to cook the quinoa, rinsing thoroughly prior to cooking if it is not clearly pre-rinsed. Bitter pudding is bad! Reduce heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Add soy milk and mix gently until blended. Cook until at pudding consistency. Pour into containers and chill, unless you like hot/warm pudding - in which case, feel free to eat it while it's hot! 🙂
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