Quinoa is grown in South American and was a staple food for the Incas. It is thought to stimulate the milk production of nursing mothers. While we normally prepare quinoa much like rice or millet, it is not a grain but the seed of the Goosefoot plant. Quinoa is nutritionally rich with a 12-18% protein and 6-7% fat content . Unlike wheat or rice which are low in lysine, quinoa has a balance of all eight essential amino acids . Quinoa is also a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium and is even gluten free.
Quinoa needs to be soaked and rinsed before cooking. It has a coating of saponin which gives it a bitter taste. While the need to rinse and remove the saponin coating adds an extra step in preparing quinoa, the bitter taste protects the seeds from hungry birds when it’s growing. In South America the saponin that is removed when washing quinoa is used for laundry detergent and sometimes as an antiseptic for wounds.
In our family we usually eat quinoa much like rice, served with butter and salt. It can be used in many recipes and makes a great addition to soups, hot cereals and even cold salads. Here is how I cook basic plain quinoa
Rinse one cup quinoa thoroughly and drain.
Place quinoa and two cups water in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn temperature down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until grains turn translucent.
Quinoa can also be sprouted and used in salads and wraps. For more information on quinoa, instructions on how to sprout and recipes visit quinoatips.com.