1. Where do I find it?
At most major supermarkets. Although it’s a seed, you can find it in the rice area at most grocery stores. If it’s not there you can try the latin products section, where you would find it with Peruvian or Bolivian products. If they happen not to have it ask the manager to order it for you, they will, now a days quinoa is a trend worldwide.
2. Its more expensive, why should I consume it more often?
Its one of the healthiest ingredients worldwide, that’s not new, it’s ancestral. Its an artesanal product off of which many families live, specially in Bolivia and Peru. Its rich in protein, free of gluten and full of fiber, vitamins, amino acids and minerals. Its the perfect substitute for rice, pasta, tortillas and bread, since it’s much more nutritious.
3. How many servings does it make?
1 cup of quinoa when cooked serves 2-3 cups. So when cooking it for two people, 1/2 cup should be enough. With an entire cup when cooked you could feed 3-4 people, depending on your serving size.
4. Do I have to wash it?
Yes. It has a clear substance that covers it and makes it sour. Before cooking it place it in a colander and wash it under running water on a sink for a minute or so to remove all that substance. You will see it come off as a light bubbles.
5. What would be the quinoa/water ratio when cooking it?
For 1 cup of quinoa you need 2 cups of water, or better yet chicken or vegetable broth. If you choose the broth try to use the most natural possible. If it’s organic and free of MSG better.
6. How long does it take to cook?
1 cup of quinoa takes about 12 minutes to cook when covered.
7. How do I cook it?
Add the water, chicken or vegetable broth with a pinch of salt to a pot. When it starts to boil add the quinoa and stir. Lower the heat, cover it and let it cook. Stir just once. When ready you will notice a translucent color and a ring on each grain which are good signs that is ready or almost ready.
8. How should I eat it?
You can eat it as you would eat rice, plain as a side dish, plain or adding some herbs, spices or vegetables. You could mix it in a cold salad with pumpkin or vegetables and some type of protein. Another option is to add it in a soup or stew or even in desserts. I like to make it like I would make Peruvian fried rice, with vegetables and chicken or beef among other ingredients. I also enjoy it by itself in a stew or with some ground beef over it. You could also mix itin with baked beans or refried beans and make it onto a burger or even cook it in green cilantro or broccoli water. The options are endless.
9. Can I cook it in a rice maker?
Yes, same way.
10. There are many types of quinoa out there, are they all the same?
No. There exist more than 20 types of quinoa. The most common ones are the white and pearled. The black and red quinoa are crunchier and they tend to have a stronger taste, equally delicious and it’s said they are even more nutritious. Then there’s also the real quinoa thats cultivated in Bolivia. It’s harvested at an altitude that makes it much more yummier and nutritious than all the other types. Real quinoa looks more or less like pearled or white quinoa, your only buying a superior product if the packaging says “real” on it, because of that its also a bit more expensive than the other types. There are many more types of quinoa, among those the Q’oito which is used to make flour to make breads or pizzas and it’s “gluten free” among other things.
Quinoa doesn’t bite! Buen provecho!