Friday, August 5, 2011
We love quinoa! It's healthy, delicious, quick to cook, high in protein, contains all the amino acids (so is great for vegetarians), contains no gluten, is low G.I., high in fibre, packed with nutrients, is grown organically... what's not to love?
Quinoa is not a grain - it's actually a kind of grass seed from a leafy, green plant that's related to spinach and chard! There's a bit of argument over whether you should eat it if you're on a grain-free diet - personally, I would. But that's up to you. You really should soak it first, overnight if possible, to get rid of the saponins on the outside of the grain (which taste bitter and are not so good for you) then rinse it... but if you don't have time to soak it, at least rinse it really, really well under running water, or dry roast it in a dry frypan for a few minutes. That will get rid of most of the saponins. Soaking is best though.
The quinoa in these photos is a mixture of three types - red, white and black. White is the most common, and you see red fairly often too, but this mix I bought recently through my co-op also contained the rarer black quinoa, which I thought was pretty cool! By the way, it's pronounced 'keen-wah', in case you were wondering. :)
Here's an easy, tasty way to cook quinoa in your Thermomix. Garlic quinoa is a great side dish. Serve with curries, chilli or stew; use it instead of mashed potatoes, rice, couscous or pasta. It's delicious in salads too. (For example, you know that delicious 'Warm Chicken, Pumpkin & Couscous Salad' from the Thermomix Varoma demo? Try it with garlic quinoa instead of couscous! Yum!)
I usually cook my quinoa in the rice basket in my Thermomix, just the same way I cook rice - same timing, same amounts - easy. As you can see in the photo below, the slits in the rice basket are small enough that it shouldn't fall through.
Garlic Quinoa in the Thermomix
Prepare ahead: Soak 350g quinoa overnight first; drain & rinse. Or at least rinse really well before preparing.
1. Chop garlic on speed 7 for 3 seconds:
- 3 cloves of garlic (more if you like)
2. Add oil or ghee and saute for 3 minutes, Varoma temp, speed 4:
- 50g olive oil or ghee
3. Add water & salt:
- 900g water
- 1 tsp sea salt
4. Take pre-soaked or rinsed quinoa and place in rice basket, put basket into bowl, then fit on the lid.
- 350g dry quinoa, soaked or rinsed
5. Cook on Varoma temp for 15 minutes, speed 4. Remove lid, stir quinoa with a fork, and taste to make sure it's salty enough. Season to taste and replace lid.
6. Cook another 5 minutes on Varoma temp, speed 4 - or until quinoa is soft, translucent, and the little 'tail' is visible. (Only the white quinoa will look translucent - see photo below.)
7. Empty basket into Thermoserver and fluff quinoa with a fork.
Serve as a side dish. Feeds at least 6, probably more!