How to Cook Quinoa two different ways!
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has become super popular within the past few years. Containing protein, carbohydrates, and fiber, and rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s no wonder that this seed is considered a super-crop by the United Nations and a superfood by nutritionists in the U.S.
I cook with a considerable amount of quinoa on The PKP Way with plans to add more in the future, so I thought it would be a good idea to dedicate a post just on how to cook quinoa. Did you know that there are actually two ways to cook quinoa? Read on to learn about both methods.
Prepping Quinoa for Cooking
First thing’s first, before cooking quinoa, I recommend that you rinse it. Quinoa is naturally coated with saponin, a bitter substance that provides protection from birds and insects. If the quinoa is not rinsed, the bitterness can carry over into your dish! With that being said, most quinoa that’s available in your grocery store has already been rinsed prior to processing, but it’s not a bad idea to give it another rinse, just in case. You don’t want bitterness to ruin your dish! I do know some people who don’t rinse their quinoa, but personally I always rinse my quinoa before use. So, feel free to try it both ways and see if you can tell a difference.
To rinse quinoa, you’re going to need a colander with very fine drain holes because quinoa seeds are very small. Alternatively, you could use a fine mesh sieve. Just make sure the sieve is large enough for you to be able to move the quinoa around without any spillage. Once in the colander or sieve, just hold it under cold running water for about 30 seconds, moving the quinoa back and forth with your hands so that every seed gets rinsed.
Method 1: Cooking Quinoa by Simmering
Cooking quinoa by simmering is similar to cooking rice. The recipe below will yield 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
Yields 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 2/3 cups water
Place quinoa and water in a media pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the water has been absorbed.
Off the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. If you prefer a softer quinoa that's suitable for desserts, let sit for longer, about 8 minutes.
Fluff with a fork before using.
Method 2: Cooking Quinoa by Boiling
Cooking quinoa by boiling is similar to cooking pasta. What’s nice about this method is that the rinsing step can be skipped. The bitter saponin ends up in the boiling water, rather than absorbed like in the simmering method above. I personally prefer this method more than the simmering method because it doesn’t involve measuring water! The recipe below will yield 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
Yields 3 cups
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
Bring a large pot filled halfway with water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 13 minutes, until the desired consistency is reached.
Drain and fluff with a fork. If using in a salad, rinse under cold water after draining to cool.
Now that you’re a pro at cooking quinoa, give these recipes a try, featuring quinoa!
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