Quinoa is starting to gain in popularity in Australia as its outstanding characteristics as a food source become better known and supplies become more readily available. A cousin of Amaranth and pronounced keen wa, Quinoa was one of the most important of the ancient staple foods of the Incas and was known to them as 'the mother grain'. Botanically Quinoa is not a true grain but, like Buckwheat, can be used as one. It has been grown in the South American Andes for thousands of years and thrives in high, cold altitudes. In the early 1980s Quinoa was introduced as a food crop into the United States and has been cultivated there with varying degrees of success ever since. The grain we have in stock at the moment is grown in Tasmania and is certified by TOP. Please note that it needs to be rinsed a couple of times before cooking to remove the saponins.
Compared with all other grains Quinoa has the highest protein content, it has more calcium than milk and is higher in fat content than any other grain. It is also a very good source of iron, phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin E. It has the added advantages of being an alkaline grain like Millet and is also gluten free.
Quinoa is best prepared using the absorption method but first needs to be rinsed well until the rinse water is clear. Do not soak the quinoa. Use 1 cup of Quinoa to 2 cups of water plus 1 tspn sea salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat then simmer gently for 20 minutes with the lid on. Turn off hotplate and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork. Once cooked it can be added to salads, burgers, vegetable loaves etc. or used as a bed for stews and casseroles.
The uncooked grain can also be ground into flour and used in combination with other flours for making bread and cakes.
If using in combination with rolled oats to make a hearty breakfast porridge, combine 1/2 cup Quinoa soaked, plus 1/2 cup rolled oats, 2 cups water and 1/4 - 1/2 tspn sea salt. Simmer gently for 20 minutes with the lid on then turn off heat and let stand for 5 extra minutes. Serve with stewed or soaked fruit if desired.