Perfectly Cooked Quinoa
Perfectly cooked quinoa can be used as a base for delicious salads, breakfast porridges, pilafs – even baked goods and egg dishes. If cooking with broth instead of water, you may omit the salt. I tend to stick with water when preparing salads where a dressing is added or when making a sweet or fruity recipe. A little oil or butter is a nice touch but may be omitted if you choose.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa (red, white, or a blend)
  • 1¾ cups (14oz) water (may substitute broth or stock of choice), plus water for rinsing
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, butter or oil of choice (optional but adds flavor when eating plain)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (omit if cooking with broth)

Instructions

  1. Measure 1 cup of quinoa and 1¾ cups of water. Set the water aside.
  2. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cold water. I swish the quinoa around with my hand and sometimes plunge it (carefully, so the grains don’t float out!) into a bowl of water. The water should not appear cloudy. Drain well.
  3. Add the liquid and oil (if using) to a medium-size pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and the salt (if using) and return to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes. Check after 12 mixtures to see if most of the liquid has been absorbed. If it hasn’t been, cover, and let simmer for a few more minutes.
  5. Once the liquid is almost completely absorbed and you see the germ (which look like tiny spirals) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered, and then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  6. Serve immediately, as is, or in a recipe of choice. You may also cool the quinoa, and then cover and store in the refrigerator for later use. Cooked quinoa will keep in the fridge for about one week.

Notes

One cup of dried quinoa yields about 3½ cups cooked.

If all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is still not tender, add an additional ¼ cup or so of water and continue cooking. This can happen if the lid seal is not tight or a slightly rounded cup of quinoa was used.

•To impart a toasted flavor, you may first sauté the rinsed and very well drained quinoa over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and you begin to smell a nutty aroma. When toasting, check the final cooking time several minutes early; in this method, the quinoa is already in the pot when the water is added and brought to a boil, so it cooks slightly faster. This method enhances the quinoa’s nutty flavor but, in the interest of time, I often skip this step and the quinoa still turns out beautifully.

•To quickly cool the cooked quinoa for use in salads, spread it on a baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, until cool. This also helps remove any excess moisture and separate the grains.


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