Thursday, May 14, 2009


I tried quinoa (also see Wikipedia) for the first time this week - Mom got a vast bag at Costco and when I accidentally ran out of rice, I borrowed a little. (Thanks, Mom!) Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but is actually a seed, and it is a good vegetarian source of complete protein. According to the World's Healthiest Foods link above, it is good for migraine sufferers due to the high magnesium content, and has a host of other beneficial qualities.

I admit the reason I tried it was largely that the back of the package indicated it could be prepared in a regular rice cooker, and because I had Chinese leftovers and no rice. The results were good - once cooked, the grain has a couscous-like texture, and worked excellently as a sauce-medium, not infringing on the flavor of the rest of the food. I did rinse the seeds before cooking, as recommended on the package to reduce the bitter flavor, and the only bitterness I found was along the bottom of the cooker where some portion of the quinoa had become brown (my cooker goes straight from "cook" to "warm" and I did not retrieve it right away, which may be the cause). For the record, a friend has noted to me that he has skipped the rinsing step without finding a notable difference in flavor. (I suspect this is because packaged quinoa is rinsed or processed before selling.)

Today I finished the remainder on its own, with some olive oil and chili salt. By itself, I found it somewhat less enjoyable, if more healthy, than rice or couscous in the same preparation. I would and most likely will purchase some of my own in the future, but I will most likely reserve it for use as a healthier sauce-vehicle or perhaps cook it with something flavorful, such as curry.

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