Quinoa – An alternative grain from South America

There are many grains available in health food stores or specialty stores that are very good and not well known.  My favorite is Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), which is from South America.  I use it like rice in my kitchen for variety; it is important to get variety in your diet to get different nutrients. 

Cooking it is easy and it is faster than brown rice.  Because some of the bitter saponin covering on the grain can still be present even though most quinoa is washed before being sold, you should thoroughly rinse the dry grain until the water runs clear.  I put it in a strainer and the strainer in a bowl to rinse it.  To cook: combine 1/2-cup quinoa with 1-cup water and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.  For a nuttier taste, toast the quinoa in a hot dry pan for about 5 minutes before cooking.