Let us talk about quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). What is prepared and eaten as quinoa are the edible seeds of the grain crop and flowering plant in the amaranth family. The plant is grown as a crop annually, for these edible fiber rich and nutrient packed seeds that give many other grains a run for their money.
Most people refer to quinoa as a pseudo-cereal, because it is actually a seed prepared and eaten as a grain. This super food is essentially complete in all the nine amino acids, high in fiber, vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorous.
Although it is prepared and eaten just as rice is, quinoa is in fact the healthiest replacement for rice. It contains twice the fiber nutrient in rice, and impressively just as much vitamins and protein.
On closer observation, rice is essentially carbohydrate containing minimal amounts of protein, with white rice having little to no protein due to its refinery process. Quinoa, on the other hand is a protein and not a grain at all. It is gluten free, hence very suitable for people with celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
However, these are not the outstanding qualities of this golden food choice; quinoa is rich in both variety and versatility. This means there are over a hundred distinctive types of quinoa that you can make and buy in different forms.
There are endless quinoa recipes, from side dishes to salads that promise a flavorful and highly nutritious diet. However, it is quite regular to cook quinoa and get a bitter taste; this is not because of the quinoa itself. Quinoa seeds are coated with a compound called saponin, which gives it a bitter taste when boiled, hence the reason they should be washed properly before cooking.
Now, some people worry about their quinoa losing its texture from boiling or because of overcooking; it is advisable to toast quinoa before cooking or cook uncovered, with just the perfect amount of water. You may want to ask how do you toast quinoa, and can you microwave quinoa?
Yes, you can effectively microwave quinoa as an alternative method to boiling it on a cooker. All you need to do add water twice the amount of the quinoa, and microwave for 6-8 minutes.
Otherwise, you can toast quinoa in a saucepan over medium heat.
What to Know about Microwaving Quinoa
Cooking quinoa in a microwave might be the easiest and hassle free method to make the meal. The essential detail to remember in using this method (or even in the boiling method) is the ratio of water to quinoa, which should be 2:1. This measurement prevents a mushy textured quinoa.
You should also ensure the container is microwave friendly, and most importantly, have an available lid or plate to cover it. Microwaving quinoa should take nothing more than ten minutes, then it should be allowed to sit for another 8 minutes to absorb all the water, before fluffing with a fork.
How to Microwave Quinoa
We cannot overemphasize the ease that comes from quick microwave meals, they are quick and easy saving you stress of cooking from scratch. The best thing about microwaving quinoa is not only stress free, but you also get a quality, highly nutritious meal within minutes. Follow these simple steps to microwave your quinoa:
- Decide on you desired amount of quinoa and measure it out. Ensure you use a definite cup measurement, so that you can correctly measure the amount of water to add.
- Transfer the quinoa into a microwave safe container or bowl, with an appropriate lid and add twice the cup of water to one cup of quinoa. This means if you are cooking a cup of quinoa, you should add 1 cup of water and you may substitute water for stock or broth to create a delicacy, when microwaving.
- Cover the bowl with a lid, and set at 6 minutes. Give it a subtle stir and heat for an additional 4 minutes.
- Take out the bowl of quinoa from the microwave, and set it aside for another 5 to 6 minutes so the water is absorbed. After you have done this, open, fluff with a fork, and enjoy.
You can spruce this quinoa meal up with vegetables, herbs and choice spices to create something exotic or savory.
The following are a few of the frequently asked questions and relevant information concerning quinoa, its looks, taste, and health benefits.
What are those little strings in quinoa?
The strings in quinoa or the little white ‘tails’ that appear when you cook quinoa is absolutely normal. These strings are just the embryo of the seed known as the ‘germ’, separating from the kernel.
Can you eat quinoa raw?
Uncooked quinoa is very edible, and just as nutritious as when it is cooked but when it is soaked and sprouted. Although, it is unadvisable eat raw quinoa because of some toxins it contains. These toxins can be harmful to the gastrointestinal health, and cause irritation especially from eating too much quinoa. This may affect your body’s ability to retain nutrients.
How long does quinoa take to cook?
Quinoa is a quick and straightforward meal to prepare. A cup of quinoa cooked with two cups of water, should only take about 10-12 minutes to cook properly.
Why should I eat quinoa more often, despite being more expensive?
The Incans referred to quinoa as the ‘mother of all grains’ they believed it to be sacred and valuable. Today, quinoa is one of the world’s most popular super foods, and it is not a recent discovery. This means that the nutrients contained in this pseudo-cereal is no secret to human beings over years and generations.
Quinoa is the perfect substitute for starchy rice, bread and pasta; eating a bowl daily reduces the risk of developing a terminal illness.