How to Cook Quinoa. I have quite a few quinoa recipes yet to publish but I thought first it would be interesting to learn, how to cook quinoa at home.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah or ke-NO-ah) is a seed that has similarities with cereals, and is classified as a pseudocereal, and although the way it is cooked is very alike to the way we cook rice you have to bear in mind some precautions when we come to cook it.
The first thing we have to know is that quinoa is coated in saponin that gives it a bitter flavour and if consumed in large amounts, can even be toxic and irritating for the stomach (saponin is used for making soap). Although most packaged quinoas have the saponin already removed and come pre-rinsed, it never hurts to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.
Although there are different ways of cooking quinoa, the most common is where it is cooked in just enough water so it’s well cooked but at the same time not too humid. Once finished cooking, when the quinoa is al dente (like when cooking pasta), it’s convenient that the quinoa has absorbed all the water however this will also depend on the strength of your cooking appliances. Keep in mind that the most frequent way to cook quinoa is on minimum heat but it’s not the same to have a ceramic hob on number 1, an induction hob or gas hob. This is the reason why cooking times in quinoa recipes are illustrative.
The best thing you can do is to try to always buy the same brand of quinoa, so once you have it under control you will always know the exact cooking time needed when you come to cook your quinoa.
One more thing, the normal measurements when cooking quinoa is one part quinoa, two parts water, bear this in mind for when you want to prepare different quantities from the ones given in this quinoa recipe 😉
By the way, at the end of the recipe you will find some tips and curiosities about this superfood, so ….. give it a try and get cooking!!!
Ingredients to make quinoa (aprox. 300 grams of cooked quinoa):
- 160 g of quinoa (white or yellow)
- 250 mL of water
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Receta to make quinoa (aprox. 300 grams of cooked quinoa):
- The first step is to remove the bitterness on the outside of the quinoa, caused by naturally occurring saponins (read the end of the recipe). Place the quinoa in a bowl and cover with water. Rub the quinoa between your fingers and see how the water starts to turn all misty (this is the saponin that has been loosened). Rinse well using a fine-holed or mesh colander. Return the quinoa back to the bowl and repeat the process until the water stays clear, 3 or 4 rinses should be enough. Finally rinse in the colander under the tap. Drain well.
- In a broad saucepan or small pan combine the quinoa and water. If you´re not going to use the quinoa for a sweet dish (for example breakfast) you can add salt. Heat the saucepan using medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook slowly during 20 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the lid and check cooking. At this point, two things could happen:
- Option A: If you discover that the quinoa needs a little more cooking then cover again, remove the pot from heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes, this should be enough.
- Option B: If the quinoa is well cooked but still has a little water (the quinoa hasn´t fully absorbed it all) leave on low heat and remove the lid until the remaining water has evaporated.
- Once the quinoa is well cooked and with no remains of water leave to rest without stirring so that the grains don´t break.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and it´s done!…. serve immediately or leave to cool and store in the fridge to make, for example, a delicious quinoa salad.
Time to eat::
There´s a lot to tell about quinoa and it´s different cooking methods, so let’s get started with the questions and answers:
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is a seed, originated in the Andes, where it has been cultivated for over 6000 years. It´s considered a superfood and is treasured because of its nutritive value. Over the last few years, the popularity of quinoa has grown becoming a popular ingredient in salads and a substitute for rice, couscus…..
Does quinoa contain gluten?
Quinoa is gluten free and therefore can be consumed by celiacs as well as people allergic to this protein. Also, you can grind the seeds to make quinoa flour and use it to make cookies, crepes, pancakes and other gluten free products.
What nutrition values does quinoa have?
The main nutrients found in quinoa are:
It provides between 13 and 23 grams of protein per 100 grams of quinoa. These proteins have a high biological value as they contain a large amount of amino acids including 8 of the essential acids (the ones that our body doesn´t produce on its own)
Half of its fat is linoleum acid, which is an essential fatty acid that should be consumed in a balanced diet.
One of the largest benefits is that quinoa is gluten free.
It has a low glycemic index so it won’t cause high spikes in your blood sugar.
Quinoa has a high fiber content, of both soluble and insoluble fibers.
How long does it take to cook quinoa?
Quinoa is normally cooked, covered, for about 15 minutes on low heat and then left to stans for 5 minutes. I have tried this way several times and the grains never seem to be cooked well enough. Maybe due to the strength of my hob being too low or it could also be due to the type of quinoa I use (there are lots of different types and sizes). Anyway, cooking quinoa like detailed above in the recipe will result in a perfectly fluffy quinoa (just like the one you can see in the photo). As I previously said you will have to modify and adapt the recipe times depending on your kitchen appliances, and your chosen quinoa.
What amount of Quinoa per person?
The amount of quinoa per person depends on how hungry you are, hahaha. For a salad you should have enough with about 150 grams of quinoa per person, but you should bear in mind that in this case you will be adding more ingredients. In other dishes, the amount of quinoa will vary depending on the use given to this ingredient.
How do you cook quinoa?
Quinoa can be cooked in many ways, you can cook it in the oven, or how we have seen it today or even steam it. You can also toast the quinoa before cooking to give it a more intense flavour.
Is quinoa fattening?
This is the typical question someone asks when they are on a diet. Is this product fattening? But the correct question isn´t if the product is fattening or not, as this depends on lots of other different factors. The correct question should be if the food is adequate or not. For example, sugar isn’t very adequate, it just gives you calories, and sends an important insulin encouraging resistance to insulin. Can you eat sugar? yes, but the least amount of sugar you ingest the better, and if you don´t eat it then you’re not missing anything nutritionally speaking. What about quinoa? Is quinoa fattening? Well as I have just explained, that will depend on your diet. The correct question is, if quinoa is an adequate type of food? Yes it is. It´s a very nutritive ingredient and highly recommended as part of your diet.
Is quinoa a good type of food for dinner?
You can eat quinoa for dinner, lunch, breakfast or even in bars, as a snack. It’s a very nutritious ingredient and therefore perfect for any time of day. Since it is not recommended to abuse a high carbohydrated food at night if you do decide to have quinoa for dinner, make it part of a light salad.
What kind of recipes can I make with quinoa?
Quinoa can be cooked in lots of different ways and used in hundreds of recipes. The most common are quinoa salads, these can be made with tuna, chicken or avocado….You can also add it in soups or use it as a substitute for rice, and prepare it with chicken and broccoli or any other type of vegetable.
Once cooked, you can also make breakfast dishes or porridge, add it into yoghurt or make quinoa bars.
If you grind quinoa you can make quinoa flour for cookies, crepes, pancakes and other different desserts.
This is where I leave you, and if you have any questions you know what to do…..leave a comment!!
Kind regards from the kitchen!!!
P.S Original photos taken by Javi Recetas, if you wish to use the images then please read beforehand the license conditions.