Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Tips: How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly


 Happy Tuesday!  I know I have been slacking when it has come to my Tuesday tips since this is only the second one I have posted on the blog.  It's not that I don't have tips... I have several to share with you... but with Halloween and Thanksgiving dishes it was difficult to squeeze a tip post in for the last few Tuesdays.

I felt like I had to make this tip a priority to share with you today since making a good quinoa on the stove top is important to know how to do when it comes to the recipe I want to share with you tomorrow. 

I have to be truthful, I was not a big quinoa fan.  Why?  Well, I tried quinoa back when it was just making waves as a cool new high protein "grain/cereal/seed".  I went out and bought some and cooked it.  I didn't know how to cook it, but felt confident and just winged it.  It was a total failure because I remember thinking this feels like birdseed in my mouth.  Urgh!   

Then I over compensated for the dry "birdseed" quinoa and overcooked the darn thing to death my second time around.  Total Mush.. another failure!  Urgh!     So I kind of put quinoa out of my mind and said it's not for me.  I have seen hundreds of quinoa recipes in the past few years, but my confidence was shot and I steered clear of all things quinoa.

I finally decided to overcame my fear of these harmless little seeds when saw my friend Terri post a quinoa recipe and I really loved how it looked.  She recommended using a little less water than you think.  Then I read several places online that toasting the quinoa first was also key.  So I put my "big girl" pants on,  stopped being stubborn and gave it a try.  I was shocked at how beautiful, light and fluffy it turned out.  So of course I came running here to share it with you today.  This girl who was afraid of quinoa has now officially turned into a quinoa lover after all.  Now my beloved quinoa and I can ride off into the sunset.... 

Okay... so how do you cook Quinoa Perfectly?  Here's how...

2 cups dry quinoa
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (veggie stock or water can be substituted) 
3 Tbs canola oil
salt to taste (optional)


Step 1:   First you will need to use a pan with a tight fitting lid.  Then heat the oil in the pan and add quinoa.  Cook on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  You will hear a "popping sound" and smell a nutty aroma from the quinoa as it toasts.   

Step 2:  After the quinoa is toasted, add your cooking liquid (I used the low sodium chicken stock).  Stir well and place the lid on the pan.  Lower heat to medium and simmer the quinoa for 20 minutes (I timed it exactly). 

Note:  If you are eating quinoa as a simple side dish season with salt here.  I was using it in a recipe so I added no salt. 

Step 3:  Once 20 minutes are up, turn stove off.  Then fluff quinoa and keep lid on pan for another 5 minutes.  I like this additional step of steaming the quinoa for a few extra minutes to make it nice a fluffy. 

Step 4: Serve as you would a rice.  Enjoy. 

Important take away information:  

1.  Measure your dry and liquid ingredients.  "Estimating" and "eyeballing" ingredients was one of my biggest mistakes cooking this grain beforehand.   So use your measuring cups.

2.  Do not overlook the important toasting process.  It makes a big difference in the taste and texture of the quinoa. 

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