So first in what will hopefully become a series of Meatless Monday posts is my discussion of quinoa. After some Internet research and discovery of Forvo, the pronunciation dictionary, I learned that it is pronounced KEEN-wah.
I first heard about quinoa on a blog (I almost feel like that should be a given), and for whatever reason I wanted to try it. Again, I'm late to the party. Apparently, "it has been an important food for 6,000 years" in South America. At least someone on Wikipedia thinks so. It's a winner because it is high in protein (it's considered a "complete protein"), dietary fiber, phosphorus, lysine, methionine, cystine, magnesium, and iron. Did I mention that it is also gluten-free?
I picked up about 1 1/4 cup of quinoa in the Whole Foods dry goods section (not sure if that's what it's really called, but it was on the aisle with the self-serve grains/beans/dried soup mixes/etc.) for a couple bucks.
These are teensy tiny seeds you're dealing with here, so it was somewhat difficult to wash them per Whole Foods' instructions. I do not have a strainer with teensier tinier holes, so I attempted to rinse them in my 1/4 measuring cup. That turned out to be more trouble than it was worth, so I ended up just plopping them all down in my sauce pan. I only saw one black thing floating around in the water, and I was able to get it out. Conclusion: I think you can skip the washing step if you don't have a strainer with holes that are teensier tinier than quinoa.
Cooking the stuff couldn't have been more easy. You bring water to a boil, turn it down to medium heat, and let it bubble for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Draining the water, again, was hard. I did the best I could with my wooden spoon against the side of the pan. Next time I might try using my rice cooker or I might invest in a strainer with teensier tinier holes...but probably not. It turned okay the way I did it.
It had the fluffiness of rice, but with what people describe as a "nutty" flavor. I added a frozen vegetable mix to mine, and voila! Lunch was ready.
I will definitely be making some again because I have a lot of it left over, but I won't be adding this particular veggie mix...after one bite of cauliflower I remembered how much I detest it. But really, the possibilities are endless if you just think about using quinoa in place of rice. I'm thinking it'd be good with a yummy stir fry. Mmm.