How to cook quinoa
Quinoa is a superfood with exceptional nutritional properties. It contains amino acids (some say there are 8, some 10 and some 11…) as well as protein, vitamins and fibre, so its health benefits are unquestionable. Although this food is fairly new to us, its consumption has become extremely popular in recent years. Let us tell you how to cook this food to make the most of it.
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Quinoa comes from the plant Chenopodium, originally from Peru, where it has been cultivated for 5000 years. The Incas considered it to be a sacred food thanks to its multiple health benefits. Although many people believe that it’s a cereal, quinoa is a seed. It’s cultivated, mainly, in the Andes. Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador are its principal producers, although its cultivation has spread to many other countries recently. There are many varieties of quinoa, but the main ones are white, red and black. In Europe the white variety, which has a more neutral flavour, is the most common. This is the variety you can most easily find in your local supermarket.
The nutritional properties of this superfood are enormous. It’s rich in minerals like potassium, iron and magnesium. It contains lots of B vitamins and has an exceptional balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The average protein content of the grain is 16%, but it can contain up to 23%, which is more than double that of any other cereal. Quinoa has so many benefits that NASA is considering it as a possible candidate for cultivation on long space voyages.
It also contains the amino acids that are essential for the human being, which makes it into a very complete food that’s easy to digest. If that wasn’t enough, it’s a seed that doesn’t contain gluten, which make it’s perfect for anyone that’s intolerant to foods containing gluten.
Quinoa has so many benefits that NASA is considering it as a possible candidate for cultivation on long space voyages.
How do you cook quinoa?
When cooked, it has a flavour and aroma similar to walnuts or almonds and a light, spongy texture. It can be used as a replacement for rice or couscous in a meal. Sometimes it can have a slightly bitter taste. That’s because quinoa is covered in saponins, a compound that acts as a natural defence against birds and means that pesticides don’t have to be used when growing it. To get rid of this bitter taste, you only have to place the quinoa in a colander under the water and wash it for 2 or 3 minutes whilst stirring it constantly with your hand so that it gets washed well. Once washed, drain to remove excess water.
You cook quinoa just as you do rice. Put water onto boil over a medium heat and add the seeds, letting them cook for fifteen minutes or until the grain becomes semi-transparent. It’s better to leave it al dente, like pasta. It’s ready when it has doubled in volume and released its white seed. The quantity of quinoa per person tends to be 80 grams. One cup of dry quinoa becomes up to 3 cups when cooked.
This food can be used both in cold and hot meals, from salads to vegetables stir fries, in meatballs or hamburgers or even for pizza dough or in place of bread crumbs.