For thousands of years, the Incas have grown and eaten quinoa, known as “the mother grain”. Learn how to cook it perfectly. By Esther Au Yong
Quinoa was known to the Incas as “the mother grain”. (Photo: 123rf.com/Elena Schweitzer)
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a complete protein – containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It is packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free, and easy to cook and digest.
Here are three things to note when cooking quinoa in a pot (place quinoa and cooking liquid in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer until dry):
Quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin, that can make the cooked grain taste bitter or soapy. Getting rid of it is, thankfully, easy. Just rinse with a fine-mesh strainer.
JUST ENOUGH WATER
Many recipes call for a ratio of one cup dry quinoa to two cups water or stock. Many cooks have found this to result in mushy quinoa. To make fluffy quinoa that retains a bit of bite, cook it like you would rice: Use one or 1.5 cups of water to one cup of dry quinoa.
LET IT REST
When your quinoa is done – the grains almost quadruple in size and look translucent – leave it in the pot with the lid on and let it rest for five minutes. This dries it out further and will result in a lighter, fluffier product.