Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How To Make Fluffy Quinoa!

I had heard a lot about quinoa and wanted to try it. Quinoa is a complete protein packed with iron, fiber, and essential amino acids. It is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. I bought a bag of Goya quinoa one day at the grocery store and after putting it in the pantry I forgot about it for a while.  One night when I was making chicken I thought it would be a perfect time to try the quinoa as a side.  To my surprise there were no directions on the bag.  There were two recipes, but nothing explaining how to simply prepare it.  I took to the internet and started reading tons of pages, recipes, and blogs about quinoa.  Taking everything I had learned I developed a simple easy way to prepare delicious, fluffy quinoa.

If you want to try making quinoa you need to know right away that it takes time to prepare and involves a few steps.  I went to make it the first time thinking it would take 10-15 minutes like cooking rice or couscous, and that is not the case!

The first thing you want to do is rinse your quinoa!  Put your quinoa in a large bowl (I used two cups) cover with cold water, and mix it around to rinse it thoroughly.

After rinsing the quinoa you want to drain it using a fine mesh strainer.

This is where the time factors in.  After you strain the quinoa you want to allow it to dry for 20 minutes to remove the water. This is an important step because skipping it will lead to mushy grains.

Once it has dried, you want to toast the quinoa.  Using a dry pan you want to stir it around for about five minutes.  You will begin to smell the nutty flavor that this brings out in your quinoa.  This will also ensure you remove any left over water.

When you are done toasting the quinoa, remove it from the pan and set it aside

 If you cook quinoa like you would rice with the same liquid to grain ratio (2 cup grain, 4 cups water) you will prevent your quinoa from being fluffy and it will end up mushy.

What I learned is to cook it with a 1 part grain to 1.5 parts liquid ratio. (2 cups quinoa to 3 cups liquid)

When it comes to liquid you can use water, any type of broth, or a combination of both.  I tend to use chicken broth which gives it a delicious flavor.
Bring 3 cups of liquid to a rapid boil in sauce pan.

Once the liquid is boiling add your quinoa.  You want to cover the pan but also leave the lid with a slight vent so the steam can escape.

 Reduce the heat to medium-low so it can maintain a strong simmer.

Allow the quinoa to cook for 15 minutes or until all of the water is gone.

Once done, remove from heat and remove lid.  You want to allow the quinoa to cool and rest for ten minutes.  After you can fluff using a fork and enjoy.

It seems like a lot of work for a small little grain, but it's really just a few steps.  The time is what sticks out for me, so when I make quinoa I usually make some to store as leftovers for the week.

Have you tried quinoa?


2012 brought both highs and lows for me.  I started the year out mending a broken heart, grieving a lost loved one, had recently moved, changed jobs and had begun to find my independent self again.  I also had a great friendship turn into something wonderfully romantic.  For the first time I was truly happy.  It felt meant to be and I was truly captivated with life.  Things began to fall into place and my life, which not too long ago, seemed to be disheveled, now felt picture perfect. I soon after moved again and was now able to easily peruse my ambitions.  I was also introduced to wonderful new group of friends.

Fast forward to December, and I found myself basking in the sun on the exotic beaches of Mexico.  It felt like life couldn't get better.  We celebrated Christmas in Mexico and spent each day exploring a new adventure.  A few days before we headed home we decided to take a day and just lounge on the beach.  That relaxing day turned out to be one of the happiest days of my life.  Somewhere between a cat nap on the beach and a swim in the clear blue water I was presented with a diamond ring. 

It was both shocking and exciting all at once.  I couldn't believe what was happening and did not see it coming.  I don't think the smile has left my face yet.  Though I never expected to start the year reading wedding magazines and touring venues, I couldn't be happier.  I truly feel I have found my soul mate and best friend.