Quinoa is a wonder grain that originated from the Andean civilization. A storehouse of essential amino acids, iron and vitamins, quinoa is the seed of a leafy plant. In fact quinoa has been hailed as probably the best protein source from the plant kingdom. The light delicate nutty taste of quinoa makes it ideal for use in pilafs and gravies.
In recent times, there is increasing awareness of the beneficial properties of quinoa and it is making it's way into many a modern recipe. You can use it in pilafs or eat it as a breakfast food. Look up our quinoa recipes to add the nutritional power to your meals. Benefit from quinoa nutrition.
Quinoa is a pointed oval and flat seed. It is found in pale yellow, red or even brown colors. Quinoa is unpalatable in its natural taste. It imparts a bitter taste on account of saponins. This helps the crop remain relatively safe from birds. You can remove the saponins by soaking the quinoa seeds in water and rinsing it out a few times. Quinoa has been rated by the WHO as possessing protein of a quality similar to milk. It has been classified as a supercrop by the United Nations on account of its nutritional value and high protein content.
In early times, quinoa was cooked and ground to a paste and applied on bruises. It's medicinal uses ranged from treating motion sickness and appendicitis to bone problems and nursing mothers. In fact a poultice of quinoa flour was applied on broken bones. It is a good source of dietary fiber. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, quinoa offers benefits to the heart and is easy to digest too. Quinoa is ideal for those suffering from allergies to the grass family since it is a leafy grain and is gluten-free.
- Source of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese
- Vitamins B6, Niacin and Thiamin
- High levels of lysine - an essential amino acid for creating protein
- Low in fat and excellent source of complex carbohydrates
Toasting the quinoa grains before cooking imparts a wonderful flavor. It is quick to cook. Quinoa is lower in carbohydrates than most other grains and cooks in about half the time of regular rice. When quinoa is cooked, the external germ comes out in a curved band much like a sprout. It is soft and creamy. The sprout lends a crunchy texture. Quinoa can be cooked in about twice its quantity of water on a low simmer for about 15 minutes.
Once the water is absorbed, the quinoa grains will be soft and ready to eat with seasonings. Quinoa flour can be used to thicken soups and gravies and can be used instead of rice flour. Cooked quinoa can be used to make risotto or pilaf. You can use cooked corn, cayenne pepper, black beans, scallions and other vegetables of your choice. Add shredded cheese or fresh herbs. Whip up a healthy breakfast with quinoa and oatmeal.
Cook quinoa in boiling water until tender. Drain and keep aside. Heat milk, sugar and cream in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the cooked quinioa. Add cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Cook on slow heat for about 10 minutes, taking care to keep stirring often. Whisk egg yolks and add to mixture. Cook till the mixture is thick. Cool and refrigerate.
Quinoa Salad recipe
Cook a cup of quinoa in about 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. Drain and keep aside. You can toss it with vegetables and seasoning of your choice to come up with a healthy grain salad. Whisk a healthy quinoa salad with chopped cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes and avocado. Add lemon juice for a tangy twist.
Quinoa Soup recipe
You can make a thick and wholesome broth with quinoa. Saute chopped onions and garlic till brown. Add bell peppers, soup cubes and quinoa. Add water and cook for about 30 minutes on a low flame.