Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keen on quinoa

Quinoa's first mystery is how to pronounce it. It looks like it should be "quin-o-a," but it comes from the South American Indian word "kinwa," so that's pretty much the acceptable pronunciation, if not the spelling.

Second, it may look like a grain, but it's not, since it's not from the grass family. Its relatives include beets, spinach and kale, and you can eat its leaves like spinach, if you can find them for sale anywhere. It's very high in protein and is a good source of magnesium, too.

Third mystery: How do you cook it? I've had my best luck with a recipe from the New York Times, using 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1 cup quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the broth to a boil, add the quinoa and salt, stir, bring it back to a boil, then cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pan. Cover with a clean towel, and replace cover and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Fluff and serve. Makes about 4 cups, 6-8 servings.

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