Quick Recipes and Easy

How to Cook Quinoa, the Incan Superfood

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, you owe it to yourself and your family to cook and serve some tonight.

This cereal-like food was eaten for thousands of years by the Incas of South America, who worshipped it as sacred. And no wonder. It is one of the most nutritional foods in the world, higher in essential amino acids than wheat. Yet unlike wheat, quinoa is gluten free.

Although some natives of the Andes region where it originated also eat its leaves, most people eat quinoa in its seed or “grain” form. Happily, it’s simple to prepare and cook in this form.

Quinoa is showing up on more supermarket shelves in the United States, Canada and Europe, but—depending on where you live—you might have to seek it out in a specialty or organic grocery store. Try to find a package containing seeds that have had their waxy outer coatings removed through rinsing or some other process.

If you buy quinoa with its coating still on, you must rinse it vigorously in a strainer, then soak it for several hours in water, then rinse it again. If you leave behind any of the coating, which is full of a bitter substance called saponin, your quinoa will taste terrible.

Fortunately, most commercially marketed quinoa sold in North America and Europe today has been pre-processed to remove the coating.

The simplest way to prepare quinoa is to cook it much as you would rice. Just place a cup of the de-coated grain in a saucepan and pour two cups of water over it. Bring the pan to a boil, cover, and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, then remove from heat.

Your cooked quinoa should be light and fluffy, much like cooked rice; in fact, you can use it in nearly any dish where you would normally use rice. Add your favorite vegetables, meats or seasonings and delight in. My south Louisiana heritage is showing here, but I have to say that my own favorite way to make quinoa is in a jambalaya with shrimp and sausage.

If you want to try baking with it, look for quinoa flour form in the store. You will probably need to combine it with something else such as sorghum flour or tapioca starch to get a excellent baking mix. Some cooks recommend a mix of 2 parts quinoa flour, 2 parts sorghum flour and 1 part tapioca starch.

Is there a gluten allergy sufferer in your life? Try making some special treats using such a quinoa-based mix and see how simple it is to bring baked joy back to the table.

Sarah Sandori is the food and entertaining columnist for the solid-gold.info/index.html Solid Gold Info Writers Consortium. Have you ever wanted to be able to exactly duplicate a favorite dish from a favorite restaurant? Check out Sarah’s article where she reveals her secret source for the most mouth-watering restaurant recipes in America: solid-gold.info/most-wanted-recipes.html solid-gold.info/most-wanted-recipes.html

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