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Quinoa “the cereal” that is not cereal

25 mayo, 2021

Quinoa, quinoa or kinwa Chenopodium quinoa it has crossed the borders of South America where its cultivation originated. When reading books, blogs, web pages I have found that they define it as a cereal and it is not like that, quinoa is a pseudocereal that belongs to the chenopodioideae subfamily of amaranths, that is, a close relative of beets and spinach.

Quinoa is called a pseudocereal because does not belong to the grass family in which are the “traditional” cereals such as: wheat, rice, corn and oats. But because of its high starch content and similar use, it resembles a cereal.

Probably we confuse her because it is cooked like rice, it is added to soups, popcorn is made and it is ground to make flour with which different preparations are made. Its leaves when they are tender are eaten in salad and the seeds are mixed with honey to achieve an energy bar and it is even covered with chocolate to prepare sweets.

Evolution and preparation of quinoa

Quinoa seeds

The quinoa It was domesticated in the vicinity of Lake Titicaca in the Andes about 5,000 years ago. It was one of the main foods of the Andean peoples, especially for the Incas who considered it a sacred food. Its grains are small spheres of 1 to 3 mm in diameter and can be of different colors: yellow, white, brown, gray, pink, red and black.

Some studies argue that, due to its content of phytoestrogens, quinoa can prevent breast cancer, osteoporosis and other chronic female diseases caused by a lack of estrogens during menopause.

It is important wash the quinoa well and rub it with your hands before use because in the husk of the mature grain there are saponins, toxins that cause the characteristic bitter taste of this seed. The steps to prepare the quinoa are:

  • Wash the quinoa a few seconds under running water before using it to remove the saponins it contains (a bitter-tasting toxin used to make soap). It is not advisable to leave it to soak since these toxins would be deposited in the grain.
  • To give nutty flavor, we must toast it for a few seconds in a pot or pan before adding the water, the broth or the liquid.
  • For 1 cup of quinoa we will use 1 2/3 cup of hot water, broth or liquid.
  • The quinoa is cooked to low temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Quinoa is a food versatile with it we can prepare cookies, muffins, desserts, entrees, salads, soups, etc.

And so that you start to prepare quinoa at home you have some recipes that will surely come in handy for you:

Photos | Matt Biddulp | 4nitsirk