A Closer Look on Quinoa
As much as it is considered healthy to eat quinoa, sometimes side effects might find their way and appear and that is the main reason behind doing your research about this type of food before indulging in its different recipes and adding it to your different meals. There are different things to know about quinoa; what is this type of seed or grain? How it should be prepared? And what are the different preparation tips that should be always kept in mind? Knowing these pieces of information will always give you the chance to know how to add this seed to your meals and manage to gain its different benefits.
Quinoa could be easily found nowadays in different supermarkets because it managed to become a lot more famous throughout the past years after people knew more about the different benefits it carries and managed to gain them as well. This article will help you to know more about quinoa and most importantly know about the way it should be prepared and cooked correctly.
What is Quinoa?
A lot of people consider quinoa a grain, something that is like rice, brown rice, as well as other grains, but it is actually a seed and that is one of the first things that people are supposed to know about quinoa. The similarity between quinoa and the other grains and the reason behind considering it one of them is that it could be prepared in the same way; it could be prepared and cooked like rice or barley.
Quinoa is believed to be a staple food for thousands of years in the Andes region of South America; one of the different crops that the Incas used to cultivate at high altitudes. There are several reasons behind considering quinoa one type of seed that is preferred by a lot of people, and that is apart from the different benefits that it could deliver, such as the easy and fast way it could be cooked, the good taste that it carries, it carries the nine essential amino acids and thus is considered one of the grains with high protein content, as well as being gluten and cholesterol free.
How to Cook Quinoa?
Since it is always taken and considered as one type of grain that looks like rice, quinoa could be used as a side dish instead of rice and this means that it could be added to different meals which you are preparing out there. There are different quinoa recipes that could be tried and prepared, but before you go deeper into those different recipes, it is important to know first the different tips which you are supposed to follow in order to prepare quinoa in the correct way and thus get it cooked correctly as well.
In order to cook quinoa through following the right steps, it is important to know that there are some preparation techniques that you need to go through; not something hard that could not be handled, but something important that might affect the whole taste of the meal at the end. Here are some of these different tips related to cooking quinoa:
- Rinse Your Quinoa Thoroughly
The packages sold nowadays at the supermarket usually carry quinoa that is rinsed beforehand, but sometimes quinoa will need to be rinsed before being cooked. The reason behind the need to rinse quinoa is the saponin coating that usually covers it and which helps in preventing those seeds from being attacked by insects, but this coat could be easily rinsed off with water and that is considered important because this coat makes the seeds taste bitter.
If you are going to rinse the seeds, you will start by placing them in a fine mesh strainer and then put them under cold water for a couple of seconds and then start using your hands to make the process more successful, and when you are done you have to shake it well and then be ready for the next step. Even if the package says that this quinoa is already rinsed, you should better go through the same process and wash those seeds quickly.
- Toast the Quinoa before Cooking it
Usually the step coming after rinsing quinoa is the cooking one but one of the tips which you should try yourself is toasting the quinoa a little bit in oil over the heat in order to give those seeds a better crunchy flavor. To toast quinoa seeds, you will need to heat some oil – the measurement of the oil will depend on the amount of quinoa you are using; put one tablespoon of neutral oil for every one and a half cups of quinoa – over medium heat and then add your quinoa.
Once the oil is ready to accept the quinoa, you will need to add those seeds but at the same time make sure that you stand there and keep stirring them regularly in order for them not to get burned; this will usually take six or eight minutes and you will even realize that from the golden brown color that the seeds starts to turn to.
- Cook Quinoa in Something Else besides Water
Most of those who already cook quinoa tend to do that by putting them in water but in order to get a better taste, it is considered a good idea to add the seeds in another liquid other than water. The ratio that is used with liquids is two cups of that liquid for every one cup of quinoa and this liquid will always be your choice; there is nothing specific that you are supposed to use.
Even though water is considered the most common and ordinary liquid choice and since it is sometimes good to choose another liquid, we have to say that water is considered the healthiest choice, the cheapest, and at the same time the one that is considered the easiest when it comes to preparing it. It is always beneficial to choose the choices that are considered the healthiest and since quinoa is low in sodium, it is important to make it your first choice.
- Fluff Your Quinoa before Eating it
Quinoa is cooked quickly and that is one of the reasons why a lot of people tend to substitute it with the other types of grains, gaining some of the benefits along the way. When it comes to the amount of time it takes for quinoa to be cooked, we have to mention that it is done in about 15 or 20 minutes only and that is considered important for those cooking it to keep an eye on the dish.
The steps of cooking the quinoa start with bringing the cooking liquid to a boil, stirring in the quinoa, turning down the heat to low, covering it and then letting it simmer; you will most probably know when quinoa is cooked and done because its shape will change and you will see those small seeds popped open and ready for you to eat them. Before you serve the quinoa to yourself or to those eating it with you, you have to fluff it by using a fork in order to separate the seeds from one another.
Preparing Quinoa Dishes
There are different mistakes which you are supposed to know about when it comes to cooking quinoa in order to avoid them and get the chance to gain the different benefits of quinoa eventually. As much as it is important to follow the tips related to cooking quinoa, there are some mistakes which you are supposed to avoid, such as:
- Never Cook Quinoa Straight out of the Package
As we have already mentioned above, it is important to rinse quinoa seeds before cooking them and that is one important mistake which a lot of people tend to fall into when they are preparing their quinoa dish. This is considered a mistake because the saponin coat that comes covering the quinoa seeds manage to make their taste bitter and that in turn affects the whole taste of the dish which quinoa is considered part of. Rinsing those seeds should happen by using a fine mesh strainer and not a normal dish because you will then lose all those seeds and see them running down the drain.
- Overcooking those Seeds
It is important to follow the right steps when it comes to cooking quinoa because overcooking them will lead to having mashed quinoa which is not liked by all the types of people out there. The right tips include adding two cups of water, or any other liquid, to every one cup of quinoa used, bringing the water to boil, adding the quinoa, reducing the heat to low, letting it simmer, and then removing it; the most important thing in the whole process is paying attention to the time taken, it should never exceed 15 or 20 minutes.
- Forgetting about Fluffing the Seeds
The final step mentioned in the cooking process and preparation of quinoa was about fluffing the seeds when they are ready to be eaten and consumed and not just indulge in the dish after it is removed from the heat. It is important to fluff the quinoa in order to separate the seeds but it is important to drain the seeds and after the draining process, you will need to cover it and let it sit for about 15 minutes in the pan; letting the quinoa sit in the hot saucepan for 15 minutes after the cooking dries out, will give you the chance to avoid having the wet quinoa which does not just taste bad, but it always delivers the wrong feeling to the person about the whole dish.
Quinoa benefits are usually the ones that attract a lot of people to this type of seed but people never think about it differently; they never consider it the healthy food type that could be used as a grain substitute, could deliver several benefits, and most importantly could be easily prepared in no time, which will manage to save them a lot of time. There are different important tips to follow when it comes to preparing and cooking quinoa and there are also different mistakes which you are supposed to avoid as much as you can in order to have that delicious quinoa dish at the end.