We have more or less replaced rice with quinoa. There are several reasons why we’ve done this. One reason is due to the fact that brown rice has a high acid kidney load, whereas quinoa is almost neutral. Another reason, is that quinoa has a higher protein quality.
It has been our experience that quinoa is basically cooked the same way you cook rice with a ratio of 2 cups water to one cup of rinsed quinoa. Quinoa often is packaged as being already rinsed. If this is the case, you will not need to rinse it. (The reason to rinse the quinoa lies in the fact that it has saponins on the outside of the seed. Saponins are bitter, and we don’t want that.) We have found that toasting the raw seeds in a moderately hot dry skillet adds a nice flavor and the finished product is fluffier. For a more exotic dish, you can add ingredients such as vegetables, nuts, and dried fruit. We will go there later.
1 Cup raw, rinsed Quinoa
2 Cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
Toast the quinoa over medium heat in a sauce pan until it has browned. Stir frequently to prevent the quinoa from burning.
Slowly add 2 cups hot water and the salt to the quinoa. This gives off a lot of steam, so wearing a rubber glove will prevent scalding. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed to the level of the quinoa. This takes around 10 minutes. Cover the quinoa and turn down the heat to low and let it cook, undisturbed, for another 5 to 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
Test for water absorption by tipping the pot.
Turn off the heat, and let it rest for another 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork or tongs.
At this point, you can serve it as it is, or add more flavors such as is done for fried rice.
Brown 1 chopped onion in 1 tablespoon oil (or without out oil) with 1 – 2 chopped chili peppers (Serrano or jalapeño). Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root, and 2 cloves of chopped garlic.
Cook 5 minutes and add seasonings: 1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, 1/2 tsp. cumin. Adjust spices. (Add more cayenne and black pepper to make it more spicy).
Add some or all of the following ingredients (optional).
Stir in 1 cup frozen peas, the juice and zest of one lime, and 1/2 cup dry, shredded unsweetened coconut, sunflower seeds or sliced almonds.