Super nutritious, delicious, versatile, fast to cook and easy to prepare – these are oft repeated remarks by consumers who have relished Kaniwa grain. Comparatively a new product to the United States, Kaniwa is a seed that is used as a grain. Touted to be the next super food, Kaniwa is similar to Quinoa but differs in size. For all those who are looking to include a variety in the list of whole grain, it has to be Kaniwa.
Food for thought – Kaniwa
Kaniwa is pronounced as ka-nyi-wa. Here are salient features that explain why Kaniwa as a grain is unique.
Kaniwa vs. Quinoa
There is so much of comparison between Kaniwa and Quinoa. This is mainly due to the similarity in appearance. Rightly, Kaniwa is considered as mini-quinoa or baby quinoa as Kaniwa is 1/3 rd the size of Quinoa. However, there are differences that make Kaniwa stand-out as compared to Quinoa.
The seeds are roughly 1 mm in diameter and are dark brown to black in color. Though a seed, kaniwa is treated like a grain. The specialty of Kaniwa grain is that it becomes rich in color as it gets cooked. Gluten-free Kaniwa is extensively sought after as it is delicious as well as nutritious. Savory or sweet dishes, the grain blends well and each bite tastes delightful.
How to cook Kaniwa
Kaniwa is available in health food stores, whole food store or can be ordered online. All recipes with quinoa can be substituted with Kaniwa. Be it in salads, pilaf or porridge, the absence of saponins allows you to skip the process of rinsing before actually using kaniwa. Being versatile, kaniwa blends well. The crunchy texture and delicious taste makes it one of the healthiest vegan foods.
Making a simple side dish with kaniwa hardly requires any special preparation. Add to a handful of kaniwa some chickpeas, sautéed red pepper, chives, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and ground pepper.
Kaniwa cooks quickly. But cooking Kaniwa requires special attention with regard to ratio of water and the cooking time as well. A cup of dry Kaniwa after cooking yields 2 cups.
Cooked kaniwa works as a great substitute to rice and boiled potatoes. Cooked kaniwa can be added to soups, stews, salads and stir fries. Cooked kaniwa served with a plate-full of boiled vegetables seasoned with herbs or spicy powder or even a grilled fish makes for a nutritious meal.
To prepare easy breakfast kaniwa porridge, the grain can be boiled in milk and mixed with sugar. Alternatively, use almond milk, ground cinnamon, chopped almonds and raisins. Porridge prepared with toasted kaniwa seeds prior to boiling in milk tastes delicious.
Make pancakes with kaniwa for breakfast and kick-start a day with vital nutrients. Replace half the flour in any of multigrain pancake recipes with Kaniwa flour. Alternatively, substitute Kaniwa flour with a scoop of cooked Kaniwa and mix with the pancake batter. The result is a pancake with a deep nutty texture.
Kaniwa flour is best for gluten free baking, the breads, muffins, pancakes and waffles. To make kaniwa flour, slightly toast Kaniwa. Let it cool and then ground to make brown flour called kanihuaco. The flour is used to prepare breads, cakes, puddings, muffins, noodles or snacks. The flour can be boiled in milk to prepare instant porridge. For an instant beverage, while making hot chocolate, add a scoop of kaniwa flour, the result is an extra delicious chocolate bubbling with vital nutrients.
Puffed kaniwa is a delicious snack. When kaniwa is popped or puffed it produces a slightly crunchy light brown product comparable to nutty popcorn. Add taste by adding powdered pepper, salt and butter.
A delicious and nutritious salad with kaniwa is easy to make. Sprinkle kaniwa to raw vegetable salad. Combine onions, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, a teaspoon of lemon juice and just before serving add two spoons of Kaniwa and basil leaves. Cooked Kaniwa can also be used to prepare salads. Just cool the cooked Kaniwa and combine with veggies, a spoon of extra virgin oil, salt and pepper. Recipes with Kaniwa are unlimited and guided only by personal taste, preference and culinary expertise.