A quick cooking grain is a weeknight dinner essential and definitely a pantry staple.
Grains like rice and barley add bulk to your plate, which you can flavour a thousand different ways. It makes a good side dish, main dish, salad ingredient and you can add it into soups and stews.
One of my favorite grains is quinoa.
Rice was definitely the staple growing up, and while I still love a bowl of steamed white rice topped with butter and a fried egg – I find that quinoa has a lightness to it that leaves me feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
Looking to buy quinoa in Singapore or internationally? Check out these two great options:
What you might want to do is make one large batch on a Sunday, and feed yourself effortlessly throughout the week.
Let’s get to know a little more about this ancient staple ingredient.
A Well Stocked Pantry – Quinoa
What is Quinoa
Although it’s cooked the same way as rice and other grains, quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is botanically related to spinach and chard. What you’re eating is actually the edible seed of the plant, which has an impressive nutritional profile. It’s considered a complete protein with all eight amino-acids.
No wonder the Incas called quinoa the “mother of all grains”
What to look for in buying Quinoa
There are more than 100 types of quinoa, but the most popular commercially are white, black and red quinoa.
- White quinoa has a light flavour, it’s the least bitter and cooks up fluffier
- Red quinoa has a chewier texture, is good for salads and soups as it hold it shape better
- Black quinoa also has a chewier texture, with a deeper, earthier and sweeter flavour
You might even choose the quinoa for its color – black and red look beautiful and appetizing speckled in a bright veggie salad.
Don’t worry about spending money on organic, quinoa comes with it’s own built in pest control – a nasty-tasting outer coating that naturally keeps pests away.
If you plan on eating quinoa regularly, a good idea is to buy a colander that has small holes designed for small grains. Quinoa should be rinsed well, to remove the outer bitter saponin coating. Most producers remove it before packaging, but it’s still a good idea to give it another rinse.
When you cook quinoa, you’ll see a little tail – that’s the germ of the seed, the part that germinates and becomes a plant. It also tells you that your quinoa is cooked and ready.
For cooking time, follow the packages instructions. It’s similar to making rice, I always do 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.
A very good idea too, is to cook quinoa is a stock broth, it gives so much flavour and added nutrients.
How to Eat Quinoa
My favorite way, is to eat a bowl of quinoa topped with leftovers like last night’s chicken and veggies. I can happily eat that most days for lunch. Which is why I think it’s a very good idea to make a large batch of quinoa – not only for making a quick meal, but for incorporating into other dishes as well.
You can use quinoa as a stuffing for birds and bell peppers. You can add it to bulk up meatballs, into soups. It makes a good base for stir-fry recipes and even replaces oats in the morning for a protein rich bowl of quinoa porridge.
Here are a few recipes to check out
Where to buy quinoa in Singapore
Looking to buy quinoa in Singapore or internationally? Check out these three great options: