Thursday, May 10, 2012

Different Types Of Quinoa

Quinoa is a superfood that originated in South America. More recently it has been grown in parts of the United States of America. Regular readers will know of my sorrowful attempt last year to grow my own quinoa. Unabashed I am going to try again this year when the UK weather warms up.

One question that often crops up is about the different types of quinoa. Most people are familiar with the standard cream coloured seed type of quinoa. This is still the most common form of quinoa that is sold in supermarkets here in the UK. There are, however, other varieties available as red quinoa and black quinoa. The health food chain sometimes has the red quinoa variety on sale but very rarely. The red quinoa is slightly crunchier and has a bit more of a bitter flavour. I much prefer it to the cream variety but only have it when I can get hold of it.

The other type of quinoa is black quinoa which I have yet to try. I understand from an American supplier that this type is not grown as much because it is harder to grow commercially. I have also heard that the people who grow black quinoa only sell it locally because it is so good.

When cooking each of these types of quinoa there is no difference what ever. You still use 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water and bring to the boils. Then just simmer for 12 – 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed into the quinoa seeds. Of course the different colours add a dynamic look to your meals and the red variety of quinoa certainly looks very attractive on the plate.

By-Products Of Quinoa.

You can now get quinoa flour and quinoa flakes which allow you to bake with quinoa much easier. The flour is quite oily and cannot be used as a like for like replacement for wheat flour. I have produced a few recipes in the quinoa cookbook but I am still experimenting with it. Quinoa flakes can be eaten as a porridge or used in cookie recipes. It works very well in this form and my favourite tray bake tastes stunning – though I say so myself.

More recently I have heard of quinoa powder. I still haven't seen this in the UK. There are shops selling quinoa bread which is like rye bread. Quinoa is being used as an ingredient in breakfast cereals and snack bars which must mean that it is finally getting recognized as a great versatile food for all occasions.

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An American Democrat