There is more than one way to cook an egg and in the same way there is more than one way to cook quinoa. Many quinoa recipes have instructions on how to prepare your quinoa before cooking it in a recipe. This preparation of the quinoa before including it in a recipe is very common. Not all quinoa recipes demand it however.
Pre – Cooking Quinoa
To pre cook quinoa before putting into a recipe you must first rinse it for a minute under running water. This removes the saponin coating. You may not actually need to do this step as many suppliers are doing this pre rinsing before they pack it for sale. I tend to rinse it out of habit just to be sure. Some saponins taste stronger than others depending on the variety of quinoa. They can be quite bitter if you do not rinse it properly.
The next step is to cook the quinoa in water. 1 cup of quinoa needs about 2 cups of water. You bring it to the boil and then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. The quinoa absorbs all the water. If you Cook it for the shorter time it will be crunchy. If you cook it for 15 minutes it will be very soft. I prefer it crunchy but you can try out cooking times to find out what you prefer. The cooked quinoa is now ready to include into your recipe. This will include stir fry quinoa dishes, quinoa pilaf, quinoa desserts and quinoa burgers. you can find the full recipes for these in the quinoa cookbook.
Quinoa Recipes that do not need pre – cooking
There are many recipes that do not require this preparation routine. You can simply add it in to the recipe and add some extra water or sauce to allow for the absorbtion in the quinoa. An example of this would be a vegatable curry where you are including quinoa in the mix. If you are preparing this type of meal you can add the quinoa when there is about 10 minutes cooking time left and it will cook very well. It will also take up the excess moisture content. Quinoa soup can have all the ingredints including the quinoa added from the outset. You want it all to blend and become very soft in a soup – especially if you are pureeing it before serving. Quinoa risotto can be cooked in a similar way to cooking a rice risotto. To my taste buds it has a much better flavour than the standard version.
Experimenting with quinoa recipes
As you become accustomed to cooking quinoa you learn to judge the amount of liquid content needed to get the desired consistency in the sauce. I have found that red quinoa doesn’t absorb quite as much liquid as standard cream quinoa. As you try out the different recipes you quickly get the idea.