The ‘nutty tasting’ Quinoa grain is rapidly gaining popularity due to its versatility as a complete food source, as it can be used as a breakfast meal, lunch or dinner, and can also be served as a hot dish or cold in a salad. One of its main benefits is that it is naturally free of gluten which is getting the attention of some of the best nutritionists and dieticians.
This grain has been around since the ancient times and it was referred to back then as ‘Keen-Wa’, but it is only recently that the true benefits of this ‘super food’ (as it is being called)are being recognised.
Many people still ask me how to cook Quinoa so it’s soft and tender, it’s really quite simple, cooking Quinoa is very easy once you understand that varying the length of cooking time can change the texture and taste of the grain, this comes with experience after cooking it many times so you know how you prefer to have it for your own pallet, the longer you cook it the softer it will be. 15 minutes tends to be the average time to cook it to perfection, but you can vary it yourself for your own preference.
A little tip though if you prefer your Quinoa to be really tasty, is to first rinse the seeds with water to remove any debris and of course the coating that is sometimes on some grains (depending on where you buy it, some grains come ready rinsed) and then leave it to soak for about 5-6 hours which actually makes it more digestible. If you don’t rinse it, you may find it tasting a little bitter!
You can also try adding diced vegetables (either raw or cooked) to your Quinoa dish to add nutrition to the overall meal, cooking it in healthy oils will also enhance the taste and texture of the dish.
There is a little misconception regarding Quinoa, it isn’t actually a grain at all but a seed which is a nutrition powerhouse full of protein (which is considered to be complete) and other valuable contents such as Fibre, Iron, Phospherous and magnesium, not forgetting that it also contains 9 essential amino acids.
It actually used to be very difficult to find where to buy Quinoa, but now it can be bought pretty much anywhere, most supermarkets and many health food stores tend to stock this now due to its popularity, as well as markets and some specialty markets.
HOW TO COOK SOFT AND TENDER QUINOA
1 Cup of Quinoa, ½ teaspoon Sea Salt (I prefer to use Celtic), a healthy cooking oil of your choice, I use Flax, 1 X saucepan of water.
1) If your Quinoa needs rinsing then rinse in water first before you commence cooking. Preferably soak in water beforehand for about 5-6 hours prior to cooking.
2) Drain the water from the saucepan and add new water until it covers the Quinoa.
3) Add and stir in sea salt if desired.
4) Bring to the boil
5) Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.
6) Remove from heat and let stand for about 10 minutes.
7) Add a squirt of the flax oil for texture and taste.
That’s it…simple! Hope you enjoy this little gem of a quinoa recipe, this is how to cook quinoa the right way!