Monday, June 25, 2012

What the heck is quinoa?

Quinoa...what a weird grain. First - how do you say it? Quinn-o-uh? Keen-wa? Depends on who you ask.. My husband likes to be contrary and pronounces it Quinn-o-uh.... But the correct pronunciation is Keen-wa. Second - what the heck is it? It cooks like rice, looks like cous cous, and smells like neither of those items. It is a grain from South America that was vitally important to the Inca Civilization (according to the information on my box of quinoa). My first experience with quinoa was in pasta when I was trying out various gluten-free options.The company that makes my pasta also sells quinoa alone, so I decided to buy a box to try...

And there it sat on my shelf in my pantry... for several months...

Last week (or was it the week before? my days are running together), I originally planned to make mahi-mahi with quinoa on the side. I looked up recipes to make it tasty and set out to buy the ingredients. But, I had to take Aaron with me to the store that day (what was I thinking?) and he decided that he wanted the frozen potatoes and beans instead of quinoa and I caved... What can I say, it was easier to just toss a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave (but not by much).

Today, I decided that we would have fish again and that I would try it with quinoa. It is pretty easy to make, it cooks pretty much just like rice. Use a 2-to-1 ratio (2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa) and you are pretty much set. I cooked my quinoa in 2 cups of chicken stock. I added the same seasoning blend that I used on the fish to add more flavor to the quinoa. I will be honest, it didn't smell too good while it was cooking... It kind of smells stale and dusty, but I think that is just how it smells. It tastes really good, especially with the fish. I did have to add a little extra salt and pepper to the finished quinoa, but I have to do that to rice or potatoes as well.

I didn't have the foresight to take a picture of my plate before I started eating, so here is a picture of everything almost gone... it is just that good.

So, don't let the hippy-dippy-trippy vibe associated with this grain keep you from trying it. My store only carries it in the health food section, but I think it is good enough to be on the shelf with the rest of the grains like rice and cous cous... It is definitely worth trying :)


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