Organic Black Quinoa

Organic Black Quinoa

 

I first became acquainted with quinoa in the late 80’s while teaching at The Santa Fe School of Cooking. Rebecca Wood, author of Quinoa, The Supergrain: Ancient food for Today, was invited to conduct several classes as a guest chef at the cooking school. We had a wonderful time cooking and learning about quinoa. From that moment on it became a staple in my kitchen larder.

Ouinoa’s cultivation began some 4000 years ago in the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. It is a hearty plant that thrives at higher elevations, is drought resistant, and tolerates temperatures ranging from near frosting to the low 30C.

Quinoa’s nutritive values have unequivocally earned the title of a “supergrain”. Technically Quinoa is a seed, but eaten like a grain. It is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids required for the body. It also delivers B vitamins, vitamin E, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, manganese copper and folate, as well as omega 3 and fatty acids.

There are three varieties of quinoa; white, red, and black. The white is actually a neutral buff color and the quinoa that is most familiar to most of us. The red, and black varieties have a slightly sweet nutty earthy flavor and retain more of crunchy texture when cooked.

Organic quinoa cultivation was introduced in the US in the highlands of the San Luis Valley in Colorado in 1982. Since then Quinoa has become a popular larder staple in the US, Europe, and Japan, and beyond. Readily available in supermarkets and whole foods shops.

Black quinoa has got to be the caviar of grains! It is a newer variety, the result of an accidental cross breeding of South American quinoa and lamb’s quarters in Colorado. A gorgeous deep purple black color with an earthy sweet nutty flavor and crunchy bite. It is sure to win over even the most skeptical of finicky eaters.

How to Cook Quinoa:

There are two options to consider. Quinoa can be pre-soaked before cooking, which will produce a softer fluffier finish, or simply rinsed before cooking. The later is my preference as it produces a slightly crunchier texture, but it is entirely up to you.

White Quinoa:

  • 1 cup organic white quinoa; well rinsed (or pre-soaked for several hours)
  • 2 cups spring water or stock (reducing the quantity to 1 cup if pre-soaked)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Using a fine mesh strainer rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. This will ensure that the bitter taste of the outer casing is completely removed. Follow the same procedure if pre-soaked; discarding the soaking water, and rinsing before cooking.

Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan or rice steamer. Add the appropriate amount of water or stock and the salt. If you are using a rice steamer, simply put on the lid and the steamer will do the rest.

If you are using a saucepan, bring the contents to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 6-8 minutes. Lower the heat, cover, and continue to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once or twice to insure that the quinoa is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Fluff the quinoa just before serving.

Red and Black Quinoa: A little more water and a slightly longer cooking time is required to soften the outer casing of red and black quinoa.

  • 1 cup organic red or black quinoa; well rinsed (or pre-soaked for several hours)
  • 2 ¼ cups spring water or stock (reducing the quantity of liquid to 1 ¼ cups if pre-soaked)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Using a fine mesh strainer rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. Again, this will ensure that the bitter taste of the outer casing is completely removed. Follow the same procedure if pre-soaked; discarding the soaking water and rinsing before cooking.

Place the rinsed quinoa in a saucepan or rice steamer. Add the appropriate amount of water or stock, and the salt. If you are using a rice steamer, simply put on the lid and the steamer will do the rest.

If you are using a saucepan, bring the contents to a simmer over medium heat and cook
for 8-10 minutes. Lower the heat, cover, and continue to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once or twice to insure the quinoa is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa just before serving.

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