Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quinoa - Magic edible seed(Pseudocereal)

Quinoa!!! What is that..? Yeah.!! I also got the same question in mind when I saw a quinoa recipe on food network and wanted to give it a try. Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.

"Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair"
* Recipes using Quinoa at the end of post.

Quinoa, a species of goosefoot, is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal( e.g of pseudocereals are amaranth, Love-lies-bleeding, Prince-of-Wales-feather, quinoa, and buckwheat ) rather than a true cereal, or grain. Quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (18%). Like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous. Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food mixed with honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-free and gluten-free baking.


Most boxed/pre-packaged quinoa has already been pre-rinsed for convenience, and cooking instructions therefore suggest only a brief rinse before cooking, if at all. If quinoa has not been pre-rinsed, the first step is to remove the saponins, a process that requires thoroughly wash the seeds to remove any remaining saponin residue. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. To ensure that the saponins have been completely removed, taste a few seeds. If they still have a bitter taste, continue the rinsing process.

Cooking Quinoa:

1. One cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups (or less) of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 10–15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta).

2. As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts).

3.Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor. It is also suited to vegetable pilafs.

4. Quinoa may be germinated/sprouted in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination/sprouting activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content. In fact, Quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, e.g., 12 hours with wheat. This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the grains, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods.

Health Benefits:

1. Help for Migraine Headaches
2. Cardiovascular Health
3. Prevent Heart Failure with a Whole Grains Breakfast
4. Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
5. Antioxidant Protection
6. Tissue growth and repair
7. Less sugar spikes good for diabetic diet
8. Gluten free so easy to digest

Recipes Using Quinoa:

1. Quinoa Dosa - Quinoa Brown Rice and Lentil Crepes
2. Veggie Quinoa Pilaf

3. Quinoa Paratha

*Note: This post with change as I get new information related to Quinoa and as I make recipes using Qunioa.

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