Saturday, October 11, 2008


I like to pretend that I know a little about food, and that I've tried a fair amount of things. I've had some 238932890 grain things that have had Quinoa (keenwah) in them but I've never just had a bowl-o-quinoa. So I made some up last night, and it is ridiculously delicious. Ridiculously.

And, of the organic grains, one of the cheapest. (It's even cheaper if you forget the organic mumbo-jumbo, but I like to buy it when I can.)

The big part of cooking quinoa is rinsing it. Rinse it for at least 2 full minutes under running tap water (i used a little metal coffee filter that I use for rinsing weird things like this) to get off the yucky bitter residue (called saponins). Then throw that bitch in a rice cooker (or sauce pan) with 1 part Quinoa and 2 parts water. It cooks almost exactly like rice but it's like nothing you've ever tasted before.

I tried it with both just butter and salt, and with soy sauce, and both were terrific. I liked trying it with just butter and salt to really get a feel for the grain, especially being my first time trying it.

It was a fabulous dish, go make it immediately. (and it's almost as cheap as rice, but mixes it up.)

(footnote: here is what wikipedia has to say on the subject of its nutrition:

Nutritional value
Quinoa, uncooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 370 kcal 1540 kJ
Carbohydrates 64 g
- Starch 52 g
- Dietary fibre 7 g
Fat 6 g
- polyunsaturated 3.3 g
Protein 14 g
Water 13
Thiamin (Vit. B1) 0.36 mg 28%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.32 mg 21%
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg 38%
Folate (Vit. B9) 184 μg 46%
Vitamin E 2.4 mg 16%
Iron 4.6 mg 37%
Magnesium 197 mg 53%
Phosphorus 457 mg 65%
Zinc 3.1 mg 31%
Percentages are relative to US
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
A few Quinoa grains close up.
A few Quinoa grains close up.

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered as a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.[5])

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