Thursday, August 5, 2010

KEEN-wah Revisited: Fluffy Version

Last year, when I posted my recipe for creamy risotto-style quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) , I mentioned that it was one of two cooking methods that I normally use. Since I've received several compliments on the other method this summer, I thought it might be time to post about making the fluffy style of quinoa.

Quinoa salad with tomato, cucumber and baby arugula

The basic method for making "fluffy" quinoa is to first boil the grains for about 15 minutes in lots of salted water. Drain - make sure your strainer has small holes or line it with cheese cloth, otherwise you will lose a lot of your quinoa down the drain. Then steam the quinoa for another 15 minutes or so until it is light and fluffy. I usually strain mine into a cheesecloth-lined steamer basket and then get on with the steaming.

Since this cooking method is a bit of a hassle (boil then steam) , I am happy to say that you can make a big batch and freeze it for later use. Just toss it with a little olive or neutral oil before freezing, and then thaw in the microwave. Oh, keep in mind that one cup of uncooked quinoa will puff up to about 4 cups once it is cooked.

When you cook the quinoa this way it comes out almost like couscous or bulgur - light and fluffy, with an appealing nutty, yet not overpowering flavor. It is absolutely perfect as a substitute for couscous/bulgur/rice in any kind of pilaf, tabbouleh or other grain salad.

In the summer, my preferred variation is with diced tomato, cucumber and whatever other veggies I have on hand, tossed with a few "glugs" of olive oil, salt and pepper, and served room temperature. The above quinoa salad is the one that I made for our 4th of July family bbq. I really should have my sister-in-law do all of my photography, don't you think? Here are some of her other photos of that fabulous feast.

Center l to r: whole grilled snapper, jerk style ribs, sausages with lentils Background: grilled asparagus, veggie lo mein

Greenbean salad

Grilled steak


Reethi said...

Coincidentally, I ate a quinoa salad at lunch today, and was wondering how you cook it! This sounds yummy.

30 before 30 said...

Hmmm... I do my quinoa differently. I do 2:1 water to quinoa, boil for five minutes, then let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. No draining.

Then I mix in some sauteed shallots and veggies. Some tomato would be a welcomed addition, though!

Clio said...

30 - Hmm, does it come out light and fluffy? When I've done any other method but boil/steam it has come out too wet for a salad.

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Mary Ann said...

I love quinoa! I think I've made it similiarly to 30 b4 30. It was a really simple method. I haven't made it in while and want to because it is so good and good for you! BTW, looking at your blog is making me wicked hungry for lunch, and it is only 10am!!!