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Scrumptious Quinoa

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Has your quinoa experience been bland? Anindra Siqueira tells you how you can make quinoa taste better with a few simple tricks

Quinoa is a plant that originated in the Andes regions of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, but you don’t care about that, do you? It    probably also doesn’t matter that it’s supposed to be pronounced “keen-wah”, albeit pretentiously. As an ingredient, quinoa can be bland and sometimes, it has a muddy or bitter taste. So, how can you get the healthy nutrients that it has to offer and also make it delicious at the same time? Read on to find out.

Rinsing is important
Quinoa can have a slightly bitter, muddy or soapy taste, depending on the variety and your cooking technique. The taste may also change if it has been commercially processed. Apparently, the bitterness comes from a chemical called saponin, which is present on the surface of the quinoa; this can be reduced or eliminated if you rinse the quinoa properly before you cook it.

Broth to the rescue
If you’re new to cooking quinoa, you are more likely to end up with a bland meal, because quinoa can be that way. Instead of plain water, try cooking it with vegetable or chicken broth. Or, if you’re sceptical, use broth and water mixed in equal parts.

You can’t go wrong with spices
Spices add the right flavour to a dish. Bay leaves, cloves, crushed garlic, salt and ground black pepper all go great with quinoa.

Stir fry greens
One of the easiest ways to make a dish taste better is to stir fry it; and the same applies to quinoa. Chop up carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, spring onions, baby corn and any other vegetables that you like. Add parboiled (or completely boiled) quinoa to complete the dish.

A quick and easy afterthought
If cooking quinoa with exotic ingredients is burning a hole in your pocket, here’s a simple solution: Add a mix of herbs and spices to cooked quinoa to give it a dash of flavour. Best options include thyme, oregano, crushed black pepper and coriander.

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