Quinoa; Preparation and Cooking Instructions
The debate between whether quinoa is a seed or a grain is not as much important as knowing about all the different benefits that it could eventually deliver to your body. Quinoa is one of the healthy items which you could depend on when you want to prepare a fast meal and at the same time do something that is healthy and will enhance the level you have reached in the healthy lifestyle you are trying to adopt. As much as it could be easy to prepare quinoa, there are some instructions to follow when you are doing so in addition to the tips which you should keep in your mind while cooking it afterwards. Read the article to know why we are shedding much light on this type of food.
There are different questions that people ask about quinoa, such as is it paleo? Is it a seed? Is it a grain? Is it considered healthy? All these questions are important to get an answer for but the thing considered much more important is learning more about this seed itself in the first place before trying to get some information about what it could help you with.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is that gluten-free grain, although it is not much of a grain, that could be used as a healthy substitute for rice, couscous, or pasta; but that is not all what you will need to know about this type of food. Quinoa has been always known to be native to Bolivia and is believed to carry different nutrients and minerals that your body will be happy to gain, such as protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the most important of them all which is being a source for the nine essential amino acids.
It is believed that quinoa comes from the family of spinach and beets, and it comes in three different types or three different varieties; the white, the black, and the red, but they are all considered the same when it comes to the beneficial nutrients which they will deliver at the end.
The most important thing about quinoa is the nine essential amino acids which it carries and could give to the body because the body is not created to produce all these essential amino acids on its own and thus will be always trying to get them from a source of food. These amino acids are needed because they help the body in building muscles and in keeping them strong, and help in keeping the immune system as well as other parts of the body healthy; thus it should be the thing to focus the attention on and make you well aware of.
How to Prepare Quinoa?
A lot of people might start asking now about the difference between preparing the quinoa and cooking it; there is actually a difference because quinoa is not like all the other seeds which you cook or use directly, but you will have to go through a small process that include some steps related to its preparation phase to make sure that its taste is not unpleasant.
Nowadays most of the manufacturers tend to rinse the quinoa before they package it and send it out to be sold, but in order to make sure that you are keeping yourself on the safe side, you should do this rinsing part once again before you start cooking and this all goes back to the fact that quinoa is usually coated with saponin layer which is used to prevent the seeds from insects and which gives it a nutty flavor that you are not going to like. To remove this nutty thing from the seeds, you will need to place the amount you are going to use in a fine mesh strainer and place it under the water for a couple of seconds while washing them with your hands. When you are done with washing the seeds, it is preferred to taste one of them first in order to know whether you will need to wash them one more time or not.
This is mainly all what you will need to go through when it comes to preparing quinoa for cooking; it needs to be washed in order for the saponin layer to disappear with its nutty taste.
How Do You Cook Quinoa?
The cooking process of quinoa takes no time, a good reason why you should never come up with any excuses for not trying it; you might just need 15 or 20 minutes to have a good meal that will benefit you and your whole body. It is not about the amount you are going to cook or the ratio you will need to use and pay attention to, but it is more about the steps during the process and how you should do it in the right way.
Quinoa cooking instructions start with toasting the quinoa a little bit for a better flavor; to do this, you have to add the quinoa to oil before putting it into the boiling water, this will happen by heating some oil over medium-low heat – which you will need to use the natural type of and add one tablespoon for every ½ cup of quinoa you are using – and then add your quinoa to it. To make sure that your seeds do not burn, you have to keep stirring it constantly for about six or eight minutes until it starts to turn golden brown.
After toasting the seeds and getting that golden brown color, you have to start cooking the seeds. First of all, you have to choose the liquid which you want to cook the seeds in and then add the quinoa and stir it then cover and simmer over low heat until it is done; the ratio which you should use to make the cooking process perfectly done is two cups of the liquid you are using to every one cup of quinoa you are going to cook. There are different types or options of liquid which you could use and which you will easily find in the supermarket, but water is considered the easiest and the healthiest option to go for.
Usually the package and the product that you are using will carry some cooking instructions to guide you and some of them will tell you to turn off the heat once the liquid starts to boil. According to eatingwell.com, it is believed that boiling the liquid, adding the quinoa to it and stirring it there, and then turning the heat down to low, covering and simmering, is considered the best technique to follow. It is important to watch the time; usually quinoa will take no more than 15 or 20 minutes to be ready for you.
Cooking quinoa is easy but you will always need to go through the right steps in order to bring the good version of it at the end. The last and the final step you are supposed to do while cooking your quinoa is to use a fork and fluff the seeds in order to separate them from one another, because at the end of the cooking process you might get a bulk of quinoa that is all attached together.
Different Quinoa Benefits
The reason why we want you to add this quinoa to your diet plan is that it brings a lot of benefits to your body and these benefits are definitely needed and you might not be able to get them from other sources in the same way you could from quinoa. From the most important benefits that we need to mention about quinoa include:
- First of all, the most important thing is the essential amino acids which bring different benefits to the body as we have already mentioned at the beginning of the article.
- Fiber is another nutrient found in quinoa and carries different benefits, such as relieving constipation, preventing heart disease through reducing high blood pressure and diabetes, lowering the level of cholesterol and glucose, lowering the risk of hemorrhoids, and might also help in the weight loss process.
- Another beneficial nutrient to get from quinoa is the Riboflavin (B2) which is responsible for improving the energy metabolism in the brain and muscle cells and help in creating energy in the cells.
- There are different minerals that quinoa could provide you with, such as iron, magnesium, and manganese. Iron is responsible for keeping the red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation and it is also the one responsible to take the oxygen from one cell to another and this reflects on the function of the brain since it takes about 20% of the oxygen. Magnesium is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels which will in turn help in alleviating the migraines and it also controls the level of blood sugar which in turn may reduce type-2 diabetes. The last mineral which is the manganese is also responsible for several things such as preventing the damage of mitochondria during the formation of energy and protect the red blood cells from injury by free radicals.
Quinoa food is important because it provides your body with all these different benefits which your body will be always waiting for and that is why it is important to know what is quinoa, how it should be prepared and be ready, and how it should afterwards be cooked to bring the best outcome and the best flavor for the meal. The most important thing is to know what quinoa is before going deeper into the information related to the health benefits, the cooking instructions, or the preparation tips.