Pronounced (KEEN-wah) or (kee-NO-ah). The Incas considered quinoa a sacred grain and in ancient South American civilization, quinoa was a staple food, along with corn and potatoes. Although quinoa has been dormant for hundreds of years, it is now being reintroduced.
Quinoa is a complete protein; the only other grains containing all eight amino acids are amaranth and spelt. It is known now as the "super grain" because it comes closer than any other vegetable or animal food in supplying all life sustaining nutrients. Not a true grain, quinoa is technically a fruit. It is known for building strength and endurance with its high source of protein, B vitamins, iron and fiber, calcium and phosphorus. Like amaranth and buckwheat, it can usually be tolerated by those who are allergic to various cereal grains. Each grain of quinoa is wrapped with saponins, a naturally occurring compound that repels harmful insects and birds. It is also gluten free.
Consumers can choose from a variety of quinoa, including: red, ivory or black. Each seed is coated with bitter tasting saponins which must be thoroughly rinsed off before cooking, although pre-rinsed varieties are commercially available. This versatile seed lends itself well to many dishes both as an accompaniment or a stand-alone side dish. It is often paired with vegetables, but can also be served as a sweet cereal.
HOW TO PREPARE:
A basic recipe for quinoa is to mix 1 cup of grain with 2 cups of water. Rinse the quinoa. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Simmer covered on medium heat for 15 minutes Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.