What Is Quinoa?

Although it is often used in a similar way, quinoa is not a grain. The quinoa plant is a foxtail plant. Its seeds, which are about the size of a mustard seed, can be cooked like rice or cereal grains and also used in other forms. Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes for around 5000 years, which has given the pseudo-cereal the nickname “Inca grain”. Quinoa is considered healthy and gluten-free. This makes it a good alternative to grain for anyone who wants or needs to avoid gluten. The seeds are available in different varieties: In addition to white quinoa, quinoa is available in black, red, and as a mixed variety.

Purchasing and storage

Quinoa seeds, puffed quinoa, quinoa flakes, quinoa flour: the grain comes in many forms and the variety of quinoa recipes is correspondingly large. White quinoa for cooking is available in many supermarkets, and the other colored varieties in drugstores, health food stores, and health food stores. Here you will also find other forms of sale. Quinoa pops and flakes, for example, are sorted as popular muesli ingredients on the relevant shelves, while ground quinoa can usually be found among the gluten-free flour alternatives. Since all products are dry goods, you should always keep them dry, cool, and protected from light. This works best in tightly sealable jars and cans.

Kitchen tips for quinoa

The range of ways you can prepare quinoa ranges from a crispy patty to a delicious quinoa stew and sweet breakfast porridge. You should always rinse off the grains with hot water before using them further; a fine sieve will help. In this way, any remaining bitter substances can be removed and the quinoa develops its typical, slightly nutty taste. Quinoa does not need to be soaked beforehand: you can cook the “Inca rice” directly, the cooking time is about 10 minutes. Then take it off the hob and let it swell for a few minutes. Cooked, the pseudocereal is a wonderful side dish, for example with a quinoa ratatouille. It is also delicious as a salad or in a casserole. If you want to bake with quinoa flour, you should note that you have to mix it with another type of flour. Otherwise, the dough will not hold together due to the lack of gluten.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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