If you’ve been watching this season’s The Bachelorette, there was one episode where one of the guys gravely mispronounced “quinoa.”
See the funny video here. GASP!!! What was he thinking?! Clearly he was not. Obviously, he ended up not getting a rose from sweet Emily.
On that note, I thought I would write about quinoa on today’s post to make sure you don’t make the same faux paus in any social situation!
(The recipe for the delicious salad in the photo above from The New York Times can be found here. )
Here are facts about quinoa that you should know :
1) The correct way to pronounce quinoa is “KEEN-WAH”
2) You must RINSE or SOAK quinoa in water prior to cooking. The reason for this is that quinoa is a smart grain… it has a bitter coating on it called saponin, to keep away birds and other seed eaters. Saponin is a naturally-occurring plant chemical that can be toxic so it must be washed away. Soak your quinoa. If you don’t have time, rinse your quinoa a few times with a strainer. Rinsing your quinoa will help with digestion, otherwise it can backfire and act as a laxative, no pun intended =). In some countries, the saponin in quinoa is used as washing detergent or even as an antiseptic. Most commercially sold quinoa should have the saponin already removed. But just in case, I always soak my quinoa.
3) Soaking quinoa for 2 to 3 hours in clean water can multiply its vitamin and mineral content.
If you have the time to soak your quinoa, doing so helps the quinoa to germinate while in its raw form. This activates its natural enzymes and boosts its nutritional value. It also makes the quinoa even softer and fluffier.
4) Two cups of water to one cup of quinoa. If you are cooking dinner for your next hot date, you don’t want end up with a soggy mess. Make sure to use just 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa.
5) Quinoa cooks in only about 12 to 15 minutes.
You will see a ring or shell around each quinoa come off – that means it’s done. No need to removed the little rings. It just signifies that your quinoa is cooked and ready to eat. Again, do not cook too long or you will end up with mushy meal. I filed this under “5 minute meal” because it cooks quicker than other grains, which can take 40 minutes.
5) Quinoa is GLUTEN-FREE.
Many folks are adopting the gluten-free diet, even without the presence of Celiac disease. And those who have gone gluten-free tell me they feel more energetic and lighter. Having quinoa as an option is great!
6) Quinoa is high in protein.
Great news for athletes and vegans! Not only is it is easy and quick to cook, but it is a great protein option other than red meat. It can provide about 18% or your daily protein and give you the energy and muscle-building properties that protein provides.
Quinoa has been eaten for the past 6000 years and was made significant by the Incas. To give you an idea of how important quinoa has become, The United Nations has declared 2013 the Year of Quinoa. And NASA is considering using quinoa for it’s long duration human spaceflights!
Additional nutritional benefits of quinoa are that it is high in fiber, iron, calcium, and manganese. Finally, the great thing about quinoa is that you can make SO many different dishes with it. You can cook a whole bunch of quinoa and store it in your fridge. You can eat it for breakfast with some honey, make a salad and eat quinoa cold, or eat it the traditional way as a hot, steaming carbohydrate replacement of your rice. A very popular way of eating quinoa is as a pilaf. Check out the recipes here at Green Terra Firma. It’s a low-key website but the quinoa recipes are great. Another great recipe to cook with quinoa is from Mushroom Info. I love mushrooms and what a great way to incorporate my two favorite items in a mushroom quinoa pattie!So go ahead and get creative and see how you like to eat quinoa! (Remember it’s “keen- wah”) Just making sure… =)