You may have heard of quinoa and how it’s basically a healthier version of rice. It’s not a type of rice and it has much more different uses. However, it doesn’t necessarily cook like rice. So how do you cook quinoa?
Quinoa is also thought by many to be a grain, but it’s actually a seed. At least the part of the plant that we eat is the seed. So, even though we treat it like a grain, similar to rice, it’s not a grain at all.
There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa out there. You are more than likely going to consume white quinoa since it is the most cultivated type.
Having this information isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t know how to make quinoa though.
How to Cook Quinoa
Although quinoa can act as a substitute for rice, it doesn’t cook exactly like rice.
You need to know the proper way to cook quinoa or else you’re going to get an extremely crunchy, unsatisfying meal.
Quinoa should have a texture that is going to remind you of rice. Besides, how many people actually want nothing but crunch in every bite they take?
The amount of crunch or lack of crunch you have is going to be determined by how you cook the quinoa.
It’s not a hard process, but you need to pay attention to it during the entire cooking process.
If you want to get a normal taste that isn’t bitter or soapy, then you need to rinse your quinoa.
All you need to do is put the quinoa in a strainer and run water over it.
You need to do this because quinoa has a natural coating on it called saponin. The easiest way to get it off is to rinse it off. It’s just like rinsing dirt off your skin.
You may read some things that suggest soaking the quinoa for some amount of time, but this is a step that’s unnecessary. Thoroughly rinsing the quinoa should be enough to get the saponin off.
If you buy boxed quinoa then you may not have to rinse it since a lot of the time, boxed quinoa is already rinsed for you.
You’re going to be making your quinoa in a pot. It’s just the easiest way to do things. Like I said it’s similar in a lot of ways to rice.
For every cup of quinoa that you use, you’re going to want to add 2 cups of water to the pot. Quinoa is going to absorb liquid while you’re cooking it so it’s important to have enough water.
If you don’t have enough quinoa then it’s going to end up getting hard or burning. This is something we definitely don’t want to happen. You’ll have to start over with brand new quinoa.
If you don’t want to use water, you can use a broth of your choosing. This is going to add a bit more flavor to your quinoa which is going to add another dynamic to any recipe you may be making.
Once you have the quinoa and liquid ready, put them in the pot and bring the pot to a boil.
After you’ve brought the bought to a boil, you’re going to need to turn the heat down enough so that your quinoa can start simmering.
This can be difficult because some people may either keep the heat too hot or turn it down too low.
You need to try and find that right balance of heat. To see if you’ve got the right temperature for a simmer you should still see some heat bubbles.
The quinoa should still be hot to the point where it looks like parts of it are boiling.
Think of movies where you’ve seen a volcano and the lava was slightly bubbling. This is how the pot should look during it’s simmering stage.
Once you’ve got the right temperature, let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes.
It’s important to occasionally stir the quinoa to ensure that you don’t have any sticking to the pan.
Another point that should be mentioned is that you want to keep the quinoa covered during this step. If you don’t keep it covered too much heat is going to escape and this could cause you to have to keep the heat level higher than it should be.
When you cover the quinoa, the heat level doesn’t need to be nearly as high so you can get a much better cook of the quinoa.
Nothing is more discouraging than finishing the cooking process but realizing you can only eat half of what you made since the other half is stuck to the pan.
After the simmering process, you’re going to want to take the pot off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. This is going to complete the cooking process.
Make sure the quinoa stays covered. You don’t want any heat escaping the pot for those 5 minutes.
The quinoa isn’t quite done when you first take the pot off the heat. This is why we let the quinoa sit for about 5 minutes.
Doing this is also going to allow the quinoa to absorb the rest of the liquid. Quinoa should not be served as a soup type food.
It’s great when you add it to soup, but if you have an excess amount of liquid still in the pot, you should really consider cooking the quinoa a little longer.
You may also want to consider starting over with a new batch of quinoa because if you cook the quinoa longer, you could overcook it. This is going to leave an unsatisfying taste in your mouth when you start eating it.
After those steps, your quinoa should be ready to eat.
Take the lid off the pot and use a fork to stir around the quinoa.
Once you see that there is no liquid in the pot, you are ready to serve the quinoa. However, if you do see any excess liquid, you’re going to want to put the pot back on the stove as I mentioned earlier.
If you do have to cook the quinoa longer, make sure it’s only 5 minutes at a time. This almost ensures that you aren’t going to overcook the quinoa and restart.
Enjoy Your Quinoa
The steps above are the basic instructions on how to cook quinoa.
Quinoa is something that everyone should have if they are looking for a healthier alternative to rice.
Cooking quinoa is going to be a fun experience if you’ve never done it before. Making 1 cup of dry quinoa will give you about 3 cups when it’s fully cooked.
All you need is a 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and 20 minutes of free time and you can have a full helping of quinoa.
An added bonus is that if you only have a rice cooker, you can still cook the quinoa in it. The same liquid to quinoa ratio applies. All you need to do is make sure you follow the proper instructions for your specific rice cooker.
Quinoa really is simple to make. It doesn’t take a lot of skill to make something that is healthy and going to improve your life.