We recently had a query from Caz, asking about our favourite recipes for quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).
As I am wheat-free, I eat a bit of quinoa as an alternative to other grains. However, quinoa actually isn’t a grain, rather it is a seed originally from the Andes in South America. Quinoa is one of those ‘super-foods’ that can apparently do everything – gluten-free, easy to digest, low GI, high protein, full of essential amino acids and fibre. I like it because it tastes good, is filling and can be used in lots of recipes.
There are many varieties of quinoa available, including black, red and white. I have sampled both the black quinoa and white quinoa and my preference is the white as I think the black is a little more difficult to digest. Here they are side by side:
My favourite use for quinoa is to make porridge, although I have also used it in savoury dishes (ie. in salads or as a substitute for couscous).
The first step in preparing quinoa is to wash it – the purpose of this is to remove the coating of bitter-tasting saponins. Apparently some quinoa is pre-washed before being sold although it has never said so on the packaging of the quinoa I have purchased. Washing the quinoa is a bit of a pain given the seeds are so small, but I wash it in a sieve with a cloth in it:
Initially the water has a cloudy, soapy appearance so I wash the quinoa a few times until the water runs clear.
Making quinoa porridge is simple, just heat it in a saucepan with milk until the grains have absorbed the liquid and puffed up (about 10-15 minutes). The quinoa will retain a bit of bite to it.
The key to a delicious porridge is to add some yoghurt in at the end (which helps give a creamy consistency) and to add some honey and other flavourings to it as it is a bit bland on its own. In summertime I enjoy fresh fruit or berries and in winter, dried fruits with nuts and cinnamon. Below is some quinoa porridge I enjoyed the other day, made with dried fruits and almonds as there was no fresh fruit in the house!
Quinoa porridge is a delicious alternative to other cereals and you should definitely give it a try!
Quinoa porridge (serves 1)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup milk
1 tsp honey
1 tbs plain yogurt
Flavourings of your choice: 1/2 cup fresh berries or 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp slivered almonds and 2 tbsp mixed dried fruits
- Wash the quinoa.
- Add quinoa and milk in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Stir in the honey, yoghurt and other flavourings.
- Serve drizzled with some extra honey and some more fruit on the top.