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.
- 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
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..