This post (mostly) originally posted in June, 2008.
Today's tip is something I recently found lurking in the back of my cabinet: quinoa.
I bought it awhile back. I saw it sitting on the store shelf, thought I remembered hearing some good things about it, threw it into my cart, and promptly forgot about it. Then a couple of nights ago I was having a foodie block and started digging in the back for something interesting and there it was!
Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is a grain. (The girl said it should be pronounced queen-wah. It starts with a "q"!) To quote quinoa.net it "comes from the Andes Mountains of South America... It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization. Quinoa was known then, and still is known, with respect, as the mother grain...
Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein.
Quinoa's protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal ... similar to milk!
Quinoa's protein is high in lysine, methionine, and cystine. This makes it an excellent food to combine with, and boost the protein value of, other grains (which are low in lysine), or soy (which is low in methionine and cystine). "
Wow! And may I add that it is quite tasty, too. I made it into a pilaf. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook the basic quinoa. I used chicken broth instead of water and it was really good. I cooked some green onions, garlic, peas, and carrots in a little olive oil and then tossed the whole mess together. I would love to show you a picture of the finished product, but the boy said he liked it even better than the bulgur I make. It didn't last long enough to be photographed.
A box is less than $3.00. I used about half a box for dinner. If you don't have a 14 year old boy in your house, that is a pretty good sized bowl of quinoa. Those little seeds plump up nicely. It is very light and fluffy. Oh, and it's gluten-free if you are watching out for that.
There are lots of other recipes on the web site. I predict it will become a regular at our table.