This relatively unknown seed Quinoa, pronounced as keen-wah, is slowly gaining more attention because of its healthy nutrients and benefits. Known as the Gold of the Incas, this super grain contains a lot of protein and nutrients, thus the nickname. It may be becoming quite commonly known now but it is still not easily available everywhere.
The Quinoa is quite interestingly varied in colors as there are also red, black, white and many other colored Quinoa. However, to find as many dizzying colors or any variation of this seed, you will need to find it at health food stores. Although it is often mistaken as a grain, this is in fact a seed. Seed or grain, the contention is still that it should be added to your regular diet due to its health benefits as it contains essential amino acids and lysine. Best of all, quinoa is also gluten-free.
Quinoa may seem foreign and not simple to cook but it is pretty much like rice, thus it is quite easy to cook. Although there are very few Quinoa recipes to be found, the simplest way to cook Quinoa is to boil it in water. The portions is simple too, just add a portion of Quinoa to two portion of water and you won't go wrong. The most difficult part about cooking Quinoa is the washing part in the beginning.
Most commercially available Quinoa have been de-saponised but one has to be careful because some packaged Quinoa still comes with its saponin layer. The saponin is a bitter outer layer that is largely inedible because of its bitterness. Also, it contains oxalic acid and this is quite dangerous to those allergic to this ingredient. If you have a package of Quinoa still with its saponin outer layer, here are some tips on how to effectively remove the saponin:
soak the Quinoa in water for a few hours. Rinse it thoroughly and strain the Quinoa through a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve. Then soak it again and rinse thoroughly. You will need to completely remove the saponin, which makes the water you soak the Quinoa in appear soapy. The best way to clean out the saponin is to continue rinsing the Quinoa till the water is clear and not soapy.
It is after you are certain that you have removed all the traces of saponin that you can proceed to cook the Quinoa the way you like it. For plain Quinoa to go with other food, you only need to boil two cups water with one cup of Quinoa and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. It is cooked when it has doubled in size. You can also add seasoning before boiling the Quinoa in a pot, such as salt, sauces or if it's for breakfast, you can even add milk for some creamy breakfast Quinoa! Do try it and you will love the nutty, fragrant flavor of Quinoa.