To cook quinoa: rinse quinoa under cold running water. Place rinsed quinoa in pot and pour over double the volume of water (so 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water). Stir the quinoa then cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until all water is absorbed. This will take about 12-15 minutes. Drain in a sieve.
Ihave long enjoyed the ‘‘superfood’’ quinoa. It’s a good source of protein as well as being a complex carbohydrate. When I think of all the processed food out there, it’s good to have something this versatile and guilt-free in the pantry.
Quinoa comes in a variety of colours – black, white, red or mixed – and it is gluten free.
One of my local brunch haunts makes a mean quinoa rosti, supplementing the usual grated potato with a similar quantity of quinoa. It adds a lot to the texture while cutting down on the carbs.
I’ve noticed that the quinoa I have been buying has already been rinsed to remove the bitter soap coating of saponin. This has an unmistakable odour and you should be able to tell if your quinoa requires rinsing but if in doubt, rinse. It takes only a couple of minutes in a sieve under running water.
To cook quinoa, you will need two cups of salted water (or stock) for each cup of seeds. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes – or until the seed germ starts to uncoil. Red, and black quinoa may take about five minutes longer. Turn off the heat and set aside, covered, for five minutes. Fluff it up with a fork and your quinoa is ready to use. A cup of raw seeds yields three cups when cooked.
Quinoa salads are good starting points for those new to quinoa. The first is similar to tabouleh and the other is inspired by the waldorf salad and is more substantial. Diced ham can be substituted for the smoked chicken.
QUINOA AND EGG SALAD
2 hard-boiled eggs 2 cups of cooked white quinoa 2 medium tomatoes, diced and drained in a sieve 1⁄ Lebanese cucumber, peeled and
2 diced 1⁄ green pepper, finely chopped
2 Handful of parsley, finely chopped 2 Tbsp fruity olive oil 2 Tbsp lemon juice Snipped chives to garnish Shell and quarter the hard-boiled eggs. Mix together remaining ingredients, except for the chives. Place in a bowl, decorate with the eggs and garnish with the chives.
SMOKED CHICKEN WITH QUINOA
2 smoked chicken breasts, sliced 4 cups cooked red quinoa – cooked in chicken stock if you have it 2 red-skinned apples 1 medium red onion 2 sticks celery 1 small fennel bulb 3 Tbsp white vinegar 3 Tbsp olive oil Salt 1 handful basil leaves 1 handful fresh mint 1⁄ cup chopped walnuts or toasted
2 pine nuts (optional) Wash the apples and quarter them, removing the cores, but leaving the skin on. Finely slice them, along with the washed celery, the onion and the fennel. Place together in a bowl. Sprinkle over a tablespoon each of the oil and vinegar then add about half a teaspoon salt. Mix well together and set aside to soften. When ready to serve, add the cooked quinoa, the sliced chicken and herbs and the nuts if you’re using them. Pour over the remaining dressing. Turn several times to mix then place in a serving bowl. cookingdownunder.com
Tasty: Smoked chicken with quinoa.