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Restless by nature, on a whim I blew off city living and my career, to try my hand at a simpler-slower life in rural Tasmania. It's going to be one heck of a learning curve..join me as I find my feet, fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cooking with Quinoa..

While talking with a friend about Quinoa recently, i got to thinking- How many people actually cook with quinoa? So with my promise of a recipe, I figure some background information might tempt her to include Quinoa in her 'diet'..

Quinoa (keen-wha) has a 1-2 metre high stalk, broad-green edible leaves & large seed heads. Grown in Bolivia at elevations of 12,000 ft, it's a hardy & undemanding crop. Canada & the US are growing a darker (bitter) variety but cannot match the quality of the quinoa grown at higher altitude. Technically it's neither a grain nor a cereal but a seed. It has a light, delicate flavour; the seed is flat & oval with pointed ends. Known as a 'super' food it is high in fibre, gluten free, easy to digest & has a very high protein content-13%. It contains a balanced set of essential amino acids thus taking less quinoa protein to meet your daily needs. High in iron, rich in potassium, riboflavin, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, folate & omega 3 fatty acids, it really packs a punch.

Quinoa requires a wet cooking method, absorption methods are ideal. Allow around 20-25 minutes for the seed to cook, when cooked it will be partially transparent & form what looks like a tail on the end. Undercooked it will be unpalatable & unpleasant. With the ability; to marry to strong flavours, it can be used as an effective thickening agent without disturbing the distinctive flavour of the dish. But it will change the texture considerably.
            Quinoa info.....

  • Try adding 1 tablespoon to cook with basmati rice (adds a light nutty texture)
  • Use as a natural thickening agents for soups (not broths-will cloud them)
  • Add to pumpkin or sweet potato mash at initial cooking stage
  • Great for vegetarian stews, pilaffs & curries
  • Works well with beetroot, leek, orange & yellow vegetables
  • Available from health food shops & organic suppliers
  • Quinoa is digestively warming & drying
  • Red (stronger flavour) & white quinoa are the most commonly available
  • Quinoa may seem expensive but a little goes a long way.
  • Start by using 1-2 tablespoons of the raw product until you get a feel for the quantities. I find it an extremely interesting product to cook; it can prove challenging for the beginner thou....have fun!!
Cooking time:20 mins
Makes: 2/3 cup cooked porridge
¼ cup quinoa
1 cup fresh fruit juice
cinnamon sprinkle 
Soak the quinoa in ½ cup of juice. Place in fridge overnight. 
Next day add cinnamon, extra ½ cup juice & bring to boil. 
Simmer for 15 minutes-with a lid on. Turn off; sit for 2 minutes & serve.
Serve with: fresh fruits and or a dollop of yoghurt..

1 tablespoon ghee or rice bran oil  
3 grated organic carrots or 250g  

½ fennel bulb or 200g-small dice  

4 tablespoons quinoa  
1.6 Lt veggie stock plus finish with pinch of white pepper & salt
Saute carrot & fennel in ghee for 8 mins, add veggie stock & bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15 mins. With a stab mixer; puree until a fine texture, add quinoa & return to stove. Simmer for an additional 20 mins. (or until the quinoa has lil tails) Finish with salt & pepper..
Variation: Pumpkin & Quinoa Soup:swap the carrots for pumpkin..Makes 1.2 Lt



  1. I am one of those who have never had it or cooked it! Sounds very useful but it comes a long long way to our table. Thanks for the info.

    Its been raining for 3 days and nights here in Adelaide! Trees down, floods, incredible winds. Oh for sunny Cygnet! Who ever thought I'd say that!!

  2. Your not missing much, there's no sun here either!


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