Quinoa - pronounced KEEN-wah
A South American grain, very nutritious.
From Whole Health MD.com:
quoteWhy Eat It
Nutritionally, quinoa might be considered a supergrain--although it
is not really a grain, but the seed of a leafy plant that's
distantly related to spinach. Quinoa has excellent reserves of
protein, and unlike other grains, is not missing the amino aicd
lysine, so the protein is more complete (a trait it shares with
other "non-true" grains such as buckwheat and amaranth). The World
Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa at
least equivalent to that in milk. Quinoa offers more iron than other
grains and contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin, as well
as other B vitamins: B6, niacin, and thiamin. It is also a good
source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, and has some
folate (folic acid).
An ancient grainlike product that has recently been "rediscovered"
in this country, quinoa has a light, delicate taste, and can be
substituted for almost any other grain.
Though quinoa is a recent addition to the North American larder,
this crop, native to the Andes, sustained the ancient Incas, and has
been cultivated continuously for more than 5,000 years. Quinoa
thrives in poor soil, arid climates, and mountainous altitudes.
Today, most quinoa is imported from South America, although it is
being cultivated on the high slopes of the Colorado Rockies.
Quinoa grains are about the same size as millet, but flattened, with
a pointed, oval shape. The color ranges from pale yellow through red
and brown to black. Quinoa cooks quickly to a light, fluffy texture.
As it cooks, the external germ, which forms a band around each
grain, spirals out, forming a tiny crescent-shaped "tail," similar
to a bean sprout. Although the grain itself is soft and creamy, the
tail is crunchy, providing a unique texture to complement quinoa's
Since this grain is still a relatively new one, at least to the
American market, you're most likely to find it in health-food and
specialty stores. Large supermarkets often stock quinoa, too.
Quinoa is more expensive than most grains. However, during cooking,
it increases about three to four times in volume, so you get
reasonable value for your money.
Store quinoa like other grains, in a tightly closed container in a
cool, dry place.
Quinoa's survival through the millennia may be attributed to the
resinous, bitter coating that protects its seeds from birds and
insects--and also shields them from the intense high-altitude
sunlight. This coating, called saponin, is soapy and must be removed
in a strong alkaline solution to make the grain palatable. Most
quinoa sold in this country has already been cleansed of its
saponin. But quinoa should be rinsed thoroughly before cooking to
remove any powdery residue of saponin. Place the grain in a fine
strainer and hold it under cold running water until the water runs
clear; drain well.
Toast the grain in a dry skillet for five minutes before cooking to
give it a delicious roasted flavor. To cook, use two parts liquid to
one part quinoa. Combine the liquid and toasted quinoa in a medium
saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until
the grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each
grain, about 15 minutes.
To make a quinoa pilaf, begin by sauteing chopped onion and garlic
in a little oil. Add toasted quinoa and liquid (two parts water to
one part quinoa) and simmer as described above. After the pilaf is
cooked, you can stir in other ingredients such as toasted nuts,
dried fruit, shredded greens or fresh herbs, or cheese.
Quinoa/1/2 cup dry
Total fat (g) 4.9
Saturated fat (g) 0.5
Monounsaturated fat (g) 1.3
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 2
Dietary fiber (g) 5
Protein (g) 11
Carbohydrate (g) 59
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 18
Riboflavin (mg) 0.3
Vitamin E (mg) 4.1
Copper (mg) 0.7
Iron (mg) 7.9
Magnesium (mg) 179
Manganese (mg) 1.9
Phosphorus (mg) 349
Potassium (mg) 629
Zinc (mg) 2.8
Quinoa, a Protein Powerhouse from the Andes
Originally grown in the high plains of the Andes Mountains in South
America, quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa") was considered the "mother
grain" that kept the Incan armies strong and robust. The grain was
rediscovered and brought to the U.S. in the Eighties and test grown
in Colorado. Today, quinoa is sold in many markets.
Although no single food can supply all of life's essential
nutrients, quinoa comes close. One of the more
popular "supergrains," it is extraordinarily rich in nutrients,
containing up to 50% more protein than most other grains. One of the
best sources of vegetable protein in the vegetable kingdom, quinoa
has a subtle, smoky flavor. It is a vegetarian source of calcium (26
mg per 1 cup serving), iron (4 mg per serving), and the B vitamins.
Quinoa also contains high levels of lysine, an amino acid the body
needs to make protein.
A good rinse
Quinoa is coated with a natural repellent, a bitter substance that
protects the grain from insects and birds. To avoid a raw or bitter
taste, place the grain in a fine strainer and rinse thoroughly with
cold water. Drain.
A tiny spiral
During cooking, a fine, white spiral appears around the grain.
Expect to see it, and enjoy./quote
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