Sunday, May 25, 2014


Just Quinoa 
Quinoa seems to be the fashion at all food stores I visit and whether intentionally or not I seem to be bumping in to a number of people who have included it in their diet on a daily basis. I was curious to know how it tasted and bought some and stored it in my kitchen while I hunted for a suitable recipe.  After googling a bit I came up with some interesting facts which caught my attention.  

Culinary ethnologists will be interested to know that Quinoa pronounced as keen-wah  was a staple food for thousands of years in the Andes region of South America as one of just a few crops the ancient Incas cultivated at such high altitudeWhile quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.  
 it takes less time to cook than other whole grains - just 10 to 15 minutes,  tastes great on its own, unlike other grains and quinoa has the highest protein content, so it's perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic.

You can make it into anything you like- pulav, biriyani, use it as a breakfast cereal or a salad.  Just follow these guidelines for that perfect meal.

Basic Quinoa Facts
How much cooked quinoa does 1 cup dry quinoa yield?
1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
How much liquid do I need to cook quinoa?
To cook 1 cup quinoa, you need about 2 cups liquid.
How long does it take to cook quinoa?
1 cup quinoa will cook in about 20 minutes.
How do I make quinoa less bitter?
Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa's outer coating can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer.
How do I make better-tasting quinoa?
Quinoa is really excellent when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth. Also, add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to each cup dried quinoa when cooking. Try adding other spices aromatics during cooking as well: A clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a dash of black pepper.
Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa?
Yes! Just use the 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.

I made it into a stir fried meal for two with chicken and it turned out really well.  My only regret is that I made just enough for two and there were no leftovers to tide me over the next day.

The Recipe:

1 cup Quinoa, washed three times in a large wire mesh strainer;  salt to taste; 1/2 cup shelled peas; 1 tsp ginger garlic paste; 1 dsp olive oil; 1 onion sliced; 2 cups warm water; 1 medium sized pandanus leaf.

Heat olive oil in a non stick pan and stir fry the onions and ginger garlic till golden brown.  Add the Quinoa and stir fry on a medium flame till all the grains are coated.  Transfer to rice cooker, add the peas, pandanus leaf, warm water and salt to taste.  Cook till done and serve with Roast Chicken.  Smells good, has a lovely nutty flavour and am certainly going to make it again.

Recipe for Roast Chicken 

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