Quinoa Grains and Saponins
Quinoa grains have a natural coating of bitter tasting saponins that must be processed and removed before being consumed. They are pale yellow, brown, red or black in colour and about the same size as millet but flattened with a pointed oval shape.
Cooked quinoa has a delicate taste and a light flavour, with a crunchy texture. It’s gluten free and considered easy to digest.
How to Cook Quinoa
- Rinse the quinoa in cold water until the water runs clear to remove any powdery residue of saponins. Quinoa is generally cooked like rice. Use 1 cup liquid for 1/2 cup grain. This gives 2 cups, cooked quinoa.
- Place the quinoa in a pan and add double the amount of water or stock. Add salt to taste and bring to the boil and simmer 10-15 minutes or until tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- Alternatively, brown the grain for 5 minutes in oil before simmering or baking to give a delicious roasted flavour.
- Quinoa grains increase 3-4 times in volume during cooking and cook to a light fluffy and creamy texture. The external germ which forms a band round each grain, spirals out, forming a tiny crescent-shaped “tail” similar to a bean sprout. This “tail” is crunchy unlike the soft and creamy grain and this provides quinoa its unique texture.