How to Cook Quinoa

Video: How To Cook Quinoa. Source:

From Wikipedia:

Quinoa preparation

Cooked quinoa has a fluffy texture and nutty flavor making it an alternative to rice or couscous.

The first step in preparing quinoa is to remove the saponins, a process that requires soaking the grain in water for a few hours, then changing the water and resoaking, or rinsing it in ample running water either in a fine strainer or in cheesecloth. Most boxed quinoa has been pre-rinsed for convenience.

A common cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 14–18 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed.

Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor.

Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food mixed with honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-based and gluten-free baking.

A spoonful of milled quinoa. Source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

Chenopodium is a genus of about 150 species of flowering plants known as the goosefoots, which occur almost anywhere in the world.

Quinoa (pronounced: keen-WAH), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. Its name is the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name. Quinoa is generally undemanding and altitude-hardy, so it can be easily cultivated in the Andes up to about 4,000 meters. When grown in heavily fertilized fields, it can accumulate high concentrations of nitrates.

History and culture

The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as "chisaya mama" or "mother of all grains", and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season. During the European conquest of South America, quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as food for Indians, and even actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous non-Christian ceremonies.

Nutritional value

Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize.

In contemporary times, quinoa has become 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. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free.

Saponin content

Quinoa in its natural state has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins, making it unpalatable. Most quinoa sold commercially in North America has been processed to remove this coating.

This bitterness has beneficial effects during cultivation as the plant is unpopular with birds and thus requires minimal protection. There have been attempts to lower the saponin content of quinoa through selective breeding to produce sweeter, more palatable varieties. When new varieties were introduced by agronomists to native growers in the high plateau, however, the native growers rejected the new varieties despite their high yields; because the seeds no longer had a bitter coating, birds had consumed the entire crop after just one season.


This crop is known as quinoa in English and is pronounced with the stress on either the first syllable (/ˈkiːnoʊ.ə/ KEE-noe-ə) or on the second (/kwɨˈnoʊ.ə/ kwi-NOE-ə). In Spanish, the spelling and pronunciation vary by region.

Quinoa, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Related reading:
Quinoa, the SuperGrain… but how do you eat it? Taste The Difference – Gluten Free Cooking.
5 news ways to cook with quinoa.

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