Quinoa is an amazing “grain” with so much value and potential, but what is it really? And more importantly… What do you do with it? This simple how to approach will cover one of the many techniques you can use to transform this nutritional grainy mystery into your next best favorite meal.
Quinoa, pronounced (keen-wa), is actually not a grain but the seed of the fruiting body of the Chenopodium quinua plant. It's highly delicious and nutritious the way we're going to lay it out today in this recipe. It has a few tricks to it that can make or break your overall experience. Let's prep it for the former. Here's a technique you can use that is a surefire way to fall in love with your quinoa and all it has to offer you.
Start out by getting your list of ingredients together as mentioned below and prepping them, but first... when purchasing your quinoa get these questions answered for yourself:
Does it look clean with an earthy aroma to it?
Is it organic?
Is it a fresh delivery to your store? [i.e. How long has it been on the shelf?]
Next, make sure that your quinoa is free from dirt and debris by washing it 1st in a deep enough container with cold water, then in a mesh strainer under cold running water. Then taste a few seeds after washing to see if there are any bitter notes.
[note* Sometimes quinoa can have a bitter flavor (usually an indicator that the saponins, a substance/by-product of the coating on the seed, need to be washed off more thoroughly prior to cooking).]
Now you can begin your dish:
Celebrity of the Day: Quinoa
Festive Quinoa Recipe
2 cups quinoa washed
3 1/2 cups seasoned water/broth [appr.]
1/8 cup mixed sliced peppers (bell)
Sea salt [to taste]
1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup peas; carrots; edamame; any veggie that adds color/texture (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp curry powder seasoning
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh herbs (basil; mint; cilantro; parsley; etc.)
Place quinoa, broth, peppers and sea salt in your pot. Bring contents to a boil, cover and immediately reduce to a low simmer. In 15 – 20 minutes check it… It should be ready. You’ll know by the look of your quinoa. It’ll be translucent with the germ [the beige band around the seed] being slightly detached.
Although it's ready to eat now, we're going to really take it to the next level: Gourmet.
In a skillet, heat the oil, add the onions and sea salt and sauté until onions become translucent and add seasoning. Stir in the peas. Cook to a bright green and immediately toss in your raisins and incorporate them into the mixture, sauté 2 – 3 minutes until raisins begin to plump, pick up and transfer flavor. Fold in cooked quinoa evenly distributing in the onion, pea & raisin mixture. Toss in some fresh herbs and plate.
You may have noticed that I didn’t include how many this will serve.
Let me explain why…
If you are using the quinoa dish as the main course, you will end up putting more on your plate. If you are using it as a side you would use between 1/2 to 1/4 the amount on your plate. Given that range you are looking at a serving capacity from 4 – 16.
Done this way will consistently deliver remarkable results that will remind you to always consider quinoa for your quality, gourmet meals.
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Until next time...