Quinoa (pronounced kin-wa).
Quinoa looks like little spaceships or some weird sort of twisted germ when cooked. But make no mistake, quinoa is one of the most complete proteins delivered from the plant world. It looks like a grain, but it’s not. It looks like rice, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a seed and more closely related to beets and amaranth. (It is a pseudo cereal–who knew!? Would Lucky Charms be in this same category?)
Grown in South America in the Andean regions, quinoa claims Peru and Boliva as the chief cultivating and exporting countries. It comes in at least two varieties as far as I can tell: regular and red.
When you buy it, the kernel is enclosed and rounded. When you cook it, the kernel explodes into this corkscrew like thing. Very cool, a tad bit crunchy, and really able to soak up the flavors of whatever you add to it.
I had only been able to find the regular quinoa in the store, so I went online and bought some red quinoa (and a bunch of other good stuff like cheesy sesame stick snacks).
For dinner, I boiled the quinoa much like rice (1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid—25 minutes) and served it with roasted tomatoes, sautéed zucchini, and quick flashed leftover sirloin roast (from Beef with Port Wine and Butter Pan Juices—a later post) with onions and garlic.
I pronounce it yumitricious.
Alternatative view: Mr. Artifact describes the quinoa as guinea fowl fodder. He absolutely does not like it. He says, “the Galloping Gourmet would not jump over a chair to get to it. The Galloping Gourmet would grab the chair and a whip to keep the quinoa at bay.”
All I can say is, “Kiss my quinoa!”