May 22, 2013

COOKING WITH... #1. QUINOA.


This is a brand new series of posts that we have started to write, showing some of our favourite foods and recipes. We love to know what we are eating and with Jess' being a personal trainer, it is vital that she eats well and healthy. We have both decided on sharing a few of our favourite ingredients and give you an insight into their benefits as being part of a healthy diet. Our first post is dedicated to our new favourite Supergrain...Quinoa.



What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is the ultimate super grain! But it isn't just your regular grain, as it is actually the seed of plant belonging to the same family as other super foods such as spinach and beets. With high levels of protein, calcium, all nine essential amino acids, iron and magnesium, it is also cholesterol free! And it doesn't stop there quinoa, is also gluten and wheat-free. All in this tiny little grain. Originally grown in the Andes in South America, it has now become a versatile ingredient used all over the world.

What do you cook with it?

For Becki, it has become a vegetarian must have, as it fills you up and tastes amazing in almost everything. It's texture is a delicate and soft, slightly similar to rice but half the size. We have tried it in soups, curries and stir fry's. Jess also adds it to cold or hot salads along with meat and vegetables. It is easy to digest and is a tasty healthy staple in your diet.

To cook, make sure you give the grain a good wash, just like you would with pulses and boil until slightly soft and translucent. Usually its best to boil in only a few cups of water, as the quinoa soaks up all the water and triples in size. Quinoa roughly takes about 15 minutes to cook depending on how much you are using. Just like rice, quinoa is always bigger than you think, so only use as much as you need- 1cup full should feed at least 3 to 4 people depending on your recipe.


Try our favourite Quinoa Vegetarian recipe from Cooking With Quinoa: The Supergrain cookbook by Rena Patten... Mango, Sweet Potato & Tomato Curry. We have only used this recipe as a reference point, as we like to tweak the recipe to our own taste. We have taken out few of the ingredients and as we have no time for measuring jugs or scales, we have provided rough measurements for you to follow. If you would rather work to the exact recipe, it can be found online or in Rene's book.


Ingredients:

1or 2 sliced mangoes, 1 cubed sweet potato, 1 cup of quinoa, 1 chopped onion, 1 lime for serving, 1 tbsp of black mustard seeds, 2 tbsp of curry paste or powder, 1 tbsp ground turmeric, 5 cardamon pods, chopped coriander, 1 tin of cherry tomatoes, 1 tin of coconut milk, 1 tbsp of garlic & 1 tbsp of ginger (we used the Very Lazy Garlic & Ginger for convenience). Add the chili as per your taste.

How to cook:

  • Heat some oil in a large saucepan and add the mustard seed until you can hear them pop. 
  • Add the onion and cook until soft and browned. 
  • Stir in the turmeric, curry powder and cardamom pods (slightly crush the cardamom pods for flavour).
  • Add garlic, ginger and chili (to your liking) and add seasoning.
  • Pour in the whole tin of tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir.
  • Add the sweet potato, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and leave to cook for 10 mins.
  • Then add in the quinoa and some water, then leave to simmer for 15-20 mins.
  • Once cooked, add the mango and cook through.Then to serve add the coriander and lime juice for garnish.

Hope you will have a go at this recipe or try your own with this little super grain!

Enjoy!


Hugs & Kisses
Becki & Jess
xox
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