Last update: 06-Dec-2013 3:55 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Super grain quinoa
Pronounced kee-no-ah or keen-wah, this superfood is very much in demand today. Grown 12,000 feet up in the Andes in Bolivia, quinoa is touted by health experts to be a powerful super grain. Technically it is really a pseudo-grain, because it is the seed of a beet relative. It’s nutritional profile is very powerful because it contains the perfect balance of all nine amino acids needed for human nutrition, and this type of profile is rarely found in plant foods. It is also a good source of iron and fibre; it is gluten free and quick cooking. Quinoa comes in many colours, the most popular being red, black and white. The taste and nutritional profile of all three colours are the same but they vary in texture. When cooked the white tends to be fluffy where as the red and black tend to have a crunchier texture.
It is very easy to cook, you will need to rinse the quinoa in some cool pipe water before cooking, because the seeds are covered in a naturally occurring, bitter tasting, predator-protective substance called saponin. Rinsing removes the bitterness. To cook one cup of quinoa, you will need to add two cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. When cooked the seeds seem translucent and the white string, which is part of the hull, becomes visible. Quinoa is very versatile, it can be used in much the same way as a rice pilaf or in salads. It’s also a great protein booster for a pot of vegetarian chili. It’s delicious in quinoa and potato cakes. You can also add it to your baking for extra protein and texture. The Bolivian supergrain is available at some supermarkets and health shops around the country.
SPICED QUINOA PILAF
1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
2 tbsps olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsps raisins or currants
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Heat olive oil in a medium sized saucepan.
Add onion, and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
Add turmeric, cinnamon and coriander, gently sauté until spices are fragrant.
Add raisins or currants, stir.
Now add the washed quinoa to pot, stir, pour in broth.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.
Fluff, add almonds and parsley.
Serves four to six
CUMIN SCENTED QUINOA AND POTATO CAKES
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, boiled and crushed
1 teaspoon, roasted ground geera/cumin
1 tsp pepper sauce
Oil to fry cakes
Wash quinoa and drain.
Combine quinoa and two cups water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.
Warm olive oil in a frying pan, and sauté onion and garlic until translucent.
Add to quinoa and stir, now add mashed potato, combine well.
Add geera and pepper sauce, season with salt.
Combine, form the mixture into 12 rounds, and press gently to form cakes.
Heat oil and fry for a few minutes per side, remove and drain on paper towels.
Serve with steamed vegetables for a vegetarian meal, or al an accompaniment to any entrée.
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