Quinoa – morning, noon and night

By : | Comments Off on Quinoa – morning, noon and night | On : January 10, 2015 | Category : Uncategorized

quinoa

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Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’, is often treated as a grain, but it is actually a seed from a plant in the same family as spinach, chard and beetroot. It originates from the mountainous areas of the Andes in South America where it is believed to have been used in cooking for thousands of years. When cooked, it has a slightly nutty taste and a little bite to it in texture, as long as it is not overcooked. Quinoa is very versatile and can be used in place of rice or other grains, in savoury or sweet dishes, salads and can also be added to bread recipes. It works well in breakfast dishes such as a porridge, as a lunchtime salad or added to a soup, or in a stew as a supper.

The health bit Quinoa is a complete protein filled ingredient as it has the full set of amino acids and contains twice as much protein as rice and barley.  It also contains important minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and manganese, and has good levels of B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre. It is high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which are important in combating disease and small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.  No wonder it has become more popular in many parts of the world as a health food. It is revered by dieticians as it is higher in amylase, a slower-releasing sugar than amylopectin, which is fast-releasing and present in wheat and corn. This means that blood sugar levels can be maintained at steadier levels, fluctuations in which can lead to poor health and weight gain.

I’ve had a packet of quinoa seeds in the cupboard for a while, wondering what to do with them as my first culinary experience a few years ago resulted in a soggy, tasteless mess  As the packet was due to run out of date  and as Becky, my husband’s daughter, cooked us a lovely Middle Eastern style salad dish with quinoa last summer, I decided I should do some research.  I thought it would be great to find information about recipes using quinoa from Chile, Peru and Bolivia, where it originated and here are three recipes, one each for a breakfast, a lunch and a supper –

Quinoa and Currant Porridge from Bolivia

Prawn and Quinoa Salad from Chile

Vegetarian Quinoa Stew from Peru

Tips

  • Wash well with cold water before cooking to remove the compound saponin, which coats the seed and has a bitter taste.
  • Use a fine mesh sieve to wash the seeds as they are very small.
  • Drain well if cooking quinoa in place of rice as the seeds can hold a lot of water giving it a soggy texture.
  • After cooking, leave the seeds to stand for about ten minutes to dry to a light, fluffy consistency.

 

quinoa stew

quinoa stew

Quinoa and Prawn Salad

quinoa and prawn salad

quinoa and Currant Porridge

quinoa and currant porridge

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