Quinoa

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Quinoa is easy to cook, tastes good, and is good for you, being high in protein. On the other hand, it is not cheap, and you may not be able to get it in your supermarket. I have bought quinoa at one popular grains shop for about $16 (Australian) per kg, and at another organic supermarket for $8 per kg, so it pays to shop around. There was no notable difference in quality.

Quinoa is a good substitute for rice, and can be used to accompany other dishes and in salads, mains and desserts. I will explain two different methods you can use to cook it.

Preparation:
Quinoa can contain saponins which are toxic, and will upset your digestion. For this reason, place the desired quantity of quinoa into a container, add water, and swish the grains around with your hand for a minute or two. If the water stays clear the grains are clean, if it goes cloudy, drain it off, add more water and repeat until the water stays clear. Drain the quinoa in a strainer thoroughly.

Some recipes advise adding twice the volume of water to the quinoa when cooking, but I find this makes the quinoa very soft. 1 1/2 times the volume of water works well for me.

Saucepan Method:
Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 1 1/2 times the volume of water, and bring to the boil. Simmer over the lowest heat until almost all of the water has been absorbed, then turn off the heat and leave for 5 or 10 minutes. Lift the lid and fluff the grains with a fork or spoon, the leave for a few more minutes before serving.

Rice Cooker Method:

Place quinoa in cooker with 1 1/2 times the volume of water and leave until the cooker switches to warming mode. Stir the quinoa, fluffing up the grains, then replace the lid and leave for 10 minutes before serving.

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~ by aadbro on January 6, 2007.

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