Quinoa (pronounced quin-wah) is a grain that has been around for nearly 7000 years and many pre civilization Columbian cultures regarded it as the mother grain. The grain, roots, leaves and even the stem of quinoa plant can be used as food and many cultures even use it as green forage for animal feed. This versatile grain is rich in B vitamins, protein, fiber and tons of other nutrients. Let us study ways to cook quinoa perfectly.
1. In the microwave
One of the easiest ways to cook quinoa is in a microwave. Do not use this method if you have to cook a large batch of it; you can use it for cooking less than a cup or up to a cup of quinoa. Here are the steps:
- Place the grain in a strainer. Run cold water over it.
- In a microwave safe bowl, place the washed quinoa and add three times the water – so 1 cup of quinoa will need three cups of water.
- Microwave on high for five minutes and stir. Then cook again for 8 minutes at lower power. Cover and allow to stand for a fluffy quinoa rice.
2. On the stove top
In order to cook quinoa recipes, you can cook the quinoa on stovetop for larger batches. You will know when your white/red or black quinoa is done when it becomes translucent and spiral like germ is separated.
- In a saucepan, add the requisite amount of quinoa and three times the water.
- Bring to boil.
- Simmer and cover to complete cooking. Water will get completely absorbed in about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes to make fluffy quinoa recipes.
3. Energy saving method to cook quinoa on stove-top
This a energy efficient way of cooking quinoa on stovetop but it requires some ‘standing time’.
- In a saucepan, take 1 cup quinoa and add 3 cups water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Switch off the heat.
- Cover the pot and allow the grains to rest in the heat for 15 minutes.
4. In a rice cooker
Add 1 cup quinoa to the cooker and pour in 2 cups water. Stir and cover. Cook until the rice shuts off.
Remember: timing is everything when it comes to cooking quinoa. This can depend on your altitude and also the method you use. Cooking quinoa just right means perfect grains that are not too hard nor too soft. They should be fluffy, translucent and slightly enlarged as compared to their uncooked counterparts.
5. Simple quinoa starter with Tuna
- Wash and cook quinoa using one of the methods above.
- Placed cooked quinoa with canned tuna, parsley and mayonnaise.
- Season as per taste and mix well.
- Serve this starter with bread.
6. Quinoa salad
This is an easy and healthy way to use quinoa.
- Cook a cup of quinoa in three cups of water for nearly 20 minutes.
- When ready, let cool a bit then mix with 2 tbsp finely chopped chives.
- Add 1/3rd cup of diced or grated cheese to the mixture.
- Serve on lettuce leaves and top off with chopped tomatoes.
You can also make a black quinoa salad as follows:
- Simply cook black quinoa the same way as you do white quinoa. Once cooked, let it rest and allow it to cool a bit.
- Boil sweet potatoes and once cooked, peel and cube them.
- Chop up leafy green vegetables like spinach/ Chinese cabbage or water cress to yield 2 cups. Refrigerate to cool. Also chop cucumbers.
- Make a salad dressing by mixing rice vinegar and vegetable or olive oil.
- Add all salad ingredients in the bowl: quinoa, sweet potatoes, green veggies, cucumbers etc. To these, add 2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves and 2 tbsp basil leaves chopped.
- Add the salad dressing and toss to mix well.
- You can garnish the salad with grated carrots and fried, thin slices of plantain.
7. Quinoa soup with pork
- Boil quinoa in water for 20 minutes.
- Clean pork and cut into cubes. Add cubed pork to a heated pot with little olive oil and roast with some chopped garlic and onions. Cook for 30 minutes with some colored lard.
- Add cooked quinoa and peeled and cubed potatoes. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add a tablespoon of roasted and ground peanut powder, 1 cup milk and simmer for a few minutes. Garnish with cilantro.
8. Easy quinoa burger patties
Make delicious vegetarian burgers with this healthy recipe:
- Wash quinoa. In a pan, take 400 ml vegetable stock and simmer on low heat.
- In a pan, heat 2tbsp olive oil, add onions and leeks and cook for a few minutes.
- Stir in quinoa and hot stock. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Stir in grated pumpkin, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Add chopped parsley.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 2 hours. Remove and shape into burgers.
- Brown the burgers on both sides in a skillet, using some olive oil.
- Serve with a salad or over buns with tomatoes lettuce etc.
9. Easy quinoa breakfast recipe with scrambled eggs
This is a great breakfast recipe and will provide you with protein and other nutrients.
- Wash and boil quinoa. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Chop onions and dice a bell pepper.
- Cook them in a skillet until slightly browned.
- Add turmeric and 3 whisked eggs. Also add 250 grams grated goat cheese.
- Finally add the cooked, cooled quinoa.
- Serve with chives and toasted bread.
10. Quinoa with roasted walnuts and roasted tomatoes
- Wash and cook 1 cup quinoa with bay leaves, paprika, cumin and 2-3 cups of water or stock. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 205 C. On a foil-lined tray spread ½ cup chopped walnuts evenly and roast for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Apply little olive oil to the foil and place 450 grams of chopped or whole cherry tomatoes. Spread them evenly on the foil and roast for 30 minutes until they start to burst and char.
- Mix the roasted tomatoes and walnuts with cooked quinoa. Season to taste.
11. Sweet quinoa kispina
This is an award winning Bolivian dessert recipe. It makes use of quinoa flour.
- In a bowl, mix 2 cups quinoa flour with 3 tbsp fine sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.
- Add 2 tbsp oil and 1 ½ cups boiling water to the mixture.
- Mix the ingredients into sticky dough. Press a resin into each ball-shaped dough mixture.
- Steam the balls for an hour or more, making sure that the balls do not get wet.
12. Quinoa sponge cake
What a deliciously sweet way to enjoy quinoa! Naturally, we need to mix quinoa flour with other flours as well. But the result is still delicious:
- Beat together 3 tbsp melted butter, ½ cup sugar and 5 egg yolks until creamy.
- Also beat the egg whites in another bowl until stiff and set aside.
- In a third bowl, take 1 ½ cups white flour and 1 cup quinoa flour. Mix well and add 3 tsp baking powder. Grate the peel of one orange and mix with these dry ingredients.
- Mix the dry ingredients and add them to the yolk-butter-sugar mixture. Fold gently.
- Add 1 ¼ cup milk and the juice of one orange, beating and whisking simultaneously.
- Fold the egg white mixture in the wet ingredients.
- Pour into a prepared cake pan and bake at 250 C for 45 minutes.