Demystifying the Ancient Super Food: Quinoa

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Whether it is a quinoa salad, quinoa cereal bar or quinoa cookies, the ancient “super food” seems to be popping up everywhere.  And it’s no wonder - Quinoa does have everything that you could want from grains, and so much more.  Quinoa and the obsession with its health benefits go way back. In the ancient Incan empire, from where quinoa scored its nickname ‘mother of all grains’, warriors thrived on the stamina and strength that they obtained from quinoa. They religiously followed the super–food diet. It was so vital to them that a Spanish explorer actually destroyed their quinoa fields in an attempt to undermine the Incan culture!

Quinoa excels so high in its health benefits that it’s even got NASA recommending it as the ideal food for long space flights. A reason for quinoa gaining popularity among the rest of us people on earth is that it supplies significant quantities of essential minerals including magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and copper. A cup of cooked quinoa also contains 18 grams of complete protein and 5 grams of fiber.

It’s got high levels iron, lysine (essential amino acid for tissue growth and repair) protein and double the fiber content of other grains. It’s rich in unsaturated fat (that’s the good kind of fat). It is also gluten free, which makes it extremely useful to the celiac community and to others who may be sensitive to more common grains such as wheat – or even to all grains in the grass family.

Quinoa is super versatile in its application. It can be used in cold salads, breakfast cereals, patties, energy bars, in stews, instead of rice, as burgers, as main course and the list just goes on! It works well with almost any ingredient because it has a subtle nutty taste and absorbs the flavor of anything that it is cooked with. 

Chefs love Quinoa because it cooks in just 15 minutes! A quick fluff with a fork just before serving is all it needs.

Here are three simple steps to cook up your quinoa perfectly:

Step 1: Rinse out the quinoa

Place the quinoa in a bowl and cover it with cool water. Let it soak for five minutes, then use a fine mesh to rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear.  Since most quinoa sold in India is pre-washed, you can skip this step if you are really short on time!

Step 2: Cook it like pasta

Boil the washed quinoa in water in the ratio 1:2. Always use twice the amount of water for the quinoa that you are boiling. Let it boil till all the water gets absorbed. Some people toast the quinoa in a little bit of oil before boiling it. This is done to intensify its nutty flavor 

Step 3: Finishing touches!

Give it a fluff with a fork and add it to the dish that you’re making! If you are using it in a salad, let it cool down in the fridge for a while. It makes a great cold salad! 

Try out the different colors! There is red quinoa, then there is black quinoa and there’s the good ‘ol white/ golden quinoa. They’re all equally healthy! The red and black quinoa do add a lively look to your dishes! Black quinoa is said to take a little longer to cook and retains a bit of the crunchy texture. White quinoa cooks the quickest and red quinoa is somewhere in between.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by GourmetCo and I appreciate the value of good products if it helps the food community to become aware. I hope you learn about Quinoa and its benefits too.